What: The previously Brighton-based Flank is bringing its steak and modernised nose-to-tail cooking to Nuno Mendes’ new project The Kitchens. Also home to the likes of Breddos Tacos, Berber & Q and Barbarian, the food court-like space is set to become a new flag on Shoreditch’s foodie map and has allowed Flank to make its London debut.
Who: Flank founder Tom Griffiths, who has run popular residencies at two Brighton pubs (prior to that he was head chef at The New Club, also in Brighton). He is working with an all-new, five-strong team that includes Drew Snaith, whose CV includes Le Manoir and Kitty Fisher’s.
The vibe: In common with The Kitchens 10 other traders, Flank has counter seating for 12 that looks onto an open kitchen. Customers have the option of a full-service experience at the counter or they can order and pick up their food from the counter and take it to the 50-cover middle space, which is shared by all the traders. It’s a cross between a restaurant and a food court, and will be a lot cosier once the heaters are installed.
The menu: Flank’s concept is ‘modernised nose-to-tail cooking kept super simple’. Almost everything is cooked over fire or smoked on either a large charcoal grill or a trio of Big Green Eggs. Griffiths describes his style as “food that everybody would want to eat”, avoiding “obscure wording, mad foraged ingredients, or throwing in the word ‘ferment’ every five seconds.” The concise menu consists of three starters, four mains, and a selection of sides (mashed potato with pan jus; bone marrow gnocchi; cauliflower cheese) and sauces. Starters take in cold ox tongue with piccalilli; burnt ends bun with onions and spice; and toast brushed with bone marrow (all below £6). Served with a side, mains include aged duck, hung over flames and glazed; and beef braised in offal (both £9). The most expensive main is seared, prime-aged beef brushed with bone marrow (£11).
And another thing: Griffiths says that he will measure success by the amount of beef he gets through rather than the amount of money in the till. He currently sources much of his beef from Philip Warren Butchers in Cornwall but will soon start serving txuleta, AKA Spanish old cow beef. A speciality of Galicia, the beef comes from older animals which – Griffiths says – fits in with his ethical sourcing philosophies.