Tramshed opened in summer 2012 but despite my office being only a couple of streets away I only visited for the first time recently. On Rivington Street in Shoreditch, Mark Hix's new restaurant is housed in a huge Grade II listed building which used to be an electricity generator for the tramway system.
The menu focuses on simple, seasonal starters followed by either chicken or steak (the restaurant website is even at chickenandsteak.co.uk); I like restaurants so confident about the quality of their ingredients and cooking they stick to a short menu of a few signature dishes (like the wonderful Le Relais de Venise), so I wanted to see if it was worth the obligatory Hix hype. Plus, it was voted the Best Meat Restaurant at last year's Time Out Eating And Drinking Awards.
The focal point of the mezzanine restaurant is Damien Hirst's new Cock and Bull sculpture commissioned especially, featuring a cow and cockerel preserved in a steel and glass tank of formaldehyde, placed in the middle of the restaurant. It's certainly a magnetic piece of art and you can't help but stare at it throughout. The rest of the art is not too my taste; childish, brightly-coloured cartoons of cows and brash street art styles. But the Hirst piece is certainly a dramatic statement.
So, the food. We started with a simple chicken salad served in a little glass bowl, with the leaves, radishes, peas, edamame beans and warm chicken chopped into bitesize pieces and lightly seasoned. A little on the small side but good nonetheless.
For mains we had a big chunk of steak which was delicious (although they didn't ask how we wanted it cooked so it came medium to well done) and the fries were spot on. I should have asked for it rare as I rarely (ha!) choose medium or well done for fear of toughness, but this was tender and tasted great.
We finished with a warm blueberry pie drizzled with cold cream and and a bottle of the cheap and cheerful French white, Fontarèche Blanc. The prices are pleasingly low, the food is unfussy and of a high standard, served in cool surroundings. You've done it again, Mr Hix.
32 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3LX