Foxlow: Ribs All Round
One way to take the bleakness out of January is to round up some mates, try new cocktails, and chow down on comfort food. Enter Foxlow. This shiny new neighbourhood joint from the boys behind Hawksmoor is another reason to visit Clerkenwell now. Masters at keeping the main thing the main thing, Will and Huw have made a first class move here; branching out from the comfort of Hawksmoor to whip up a completely different offering. Foxlow has a much more homey vibe than its big sister; a coziness that the other sites just wouldn’t achieve due to their vastness in size for one. It defines a neighbourhood restaurant. Regardless of where you live, Foxlow feels like your local.
The plan is to meet for a sharpener in the Zetter Town House. I am drawn to the Zetter’s glow from across St John’s Square, and with each step, the weather takes a turn for the worse. A hazy wave of pure happiness hits me as I walk in. And, relax.
So, people do this thing in January called ‘not drinking’. Pffffft, I hear you. I’d never heard of it either. Anyway, the objective of this movement is to raise much needed funds for Cancer Research UK, so fair deuce to anyone on the dry. This evening, the two friends joining Darty and I are doing just this; so, brace yourselves, non-alcoholic cocktails might make a debut appearance on VeryKerri.com. Stop. Press.
Feeling sharp, we leg it down freezing St John’s Street towards Foxlow. The first thing to catch my gaze is the small buzzy bar on the left. Then it’s the Salad Bar on the right; big bowls of colourful gorgeousness, talk about bringing salad back. Someone manages to distract me and take us to our table; both spaces are intimate in their own way; I’d give downstairs a whirl another time, but the mezzanine level is grand for now. Thomas, the lovely chap looking after us, gives a nod towards a cheap and cheerful Bordeaux, and never in need of encouragement, Darty and I get involved.
We’re an interesting mix; gluten-free, veggie, rib-lover, and Darty, so menu choice is going to be apt. Brixham crab with deviled mayo is a class act and the crispy pepper squid looks the business. Pork ribs are as juicy as they are sticky. A retro Salad Bar means you take your pick from the five strong list and it gets plated prettily for you. Portion-wise, the starter we order is the mother ship of salad, almost too big. That said, we don't leave any of the lemon roasted carrots & fennel or roasted acorn squash with Moroccan spices, which says it all.
Other than a beautifully cooked sizable monkfish tail with zippy chermoula; it’s ribs all round. I am not going to beat around the bush for one second; hands down this is the thing to go for at Foxlow. We have a rib-off between the eight-hour bacon rib with maple & chilli and the ten-hour beef rib with kimchi. I am a firm believer that bacon could solve a lot of problems, and this is the case with the bacon rib. There’s no bone to faff with, just one big hunk of greatness, and the maple & chilli kicker delivers sweetness and spice in equally welcome measures, making it all the more moreish. The beef rib looks more like a dinosaur rib when it rocks up. Despite it's significant size, it's packed with flavour and the meat falls willingly off the bone, no knife necessary.
A unanimous decision is made to give the sides a run for their money, so we order one of everything. Crunchy tenderstem broccoli with chili & anchovy and chunky roasted veg complement all our mains beautifully. The sausage-stuffed onion is filling enough to be a meal in itself. And I could go on all day about the beef dripping spuds with melted Gubeen and capers, but you’ll have to just see for yourself. To my surprise, the whole punchy-cheese-and-caper thing is a winning combination.
Nostalgic-sounding puds like peanutella & sweet toast and banoffee slpit hark back to some of my favourite flavours growing up. There is also a handful of soft serve sundaes available, which the non-drinking half of our party enjoys. Darty and I opt for liquid desserts; cognac and port-laced Bridge-it Bordeaux and vodka-based Chasing Tail with coffee beans & orange vermouth. Digestifs, nailed. There is a lot more worth shouting about on the concise list of tails, which I might just have to save for my return.
Five Very Kerri things about Foxlow
- The price point
- Cheerful peeps like Thomas
- Neighbourhood vibez
- Bringing salad back
- The refined list of 'tails