What: The long-delayed fourth London restaurant from chop specialist Blacklock. BigHospitality first revealed back in late 2019 that Blacklock, which already has sites in Soho, Shoreditch and the City, was intending to open in Covent Garden, but the plans were held up as a result of the pandemic. The underground site on Bedford Street is part of a building that used to house the King’s Coachmakers.
Who: Blacklock is owned by founder Gordon Ker, who launched the group's first site on Great Windmill Street in Soho in 2015. Ker studied law at UCL, and previously worked for London-based international law firm Olswang for more than half a decade before choosing to pursue a career in hospitality. Early experience in the industry included a stint as a waiter for Hawksmoor, and Ker has previously credited Hawksmoor founders Will Beckett and Huw Gott with offering him guidance and support when he left to set up Blacklock. Following on from Soho, Blacklock opened a second site in the City of London in 2017, and a third on Rivington Street in Shoreditch in 2018.
The food: Blacklock is known for its hearty portions and good value chops and meat dishes (all sourced from long-term partner, farmer and butcher, Philip Warren), and the menu at Covent Garden maintains that offer. Much of the menu is identical to that served in Blacklock's other locations, with a range of skinny chops and larger steaks available to order individually, with prices starting at £4.50; alongside a selection of big chops that are primarily priced by weight. There are new additions, though, including lesser-known cuts of meat such as Denver and tri-tip steaks; and a suet crust pie that's exclusive to the Covent Garden restaurant and is filled with steak and stilton. As ever, diners can choose to order their own selection of meats or decide to go 'all in' for £22 each, which sees a sharing plate piled high with of beef, pork and lamb skinny chops, served with sides and charcoal-grilled flatbreads. Blacklock's famous Sunday roast is also served every week, with guests able to choose between beef, lamb or pork, or a mix of all three.
The vibe: At 110-covers, this is Blacklock's biggest site to date. The look is noticeably similar to that found at the group's other restaurants, with textured shades of wood juxtaposed with bare brick walls and dim lighting.
And another thing: The opening of Blacklock Covent Garden coincides with the launch of the group's ambition to achieve B Corp status, which Ker hopes to accomplish within the next year. Certified B Corporations are for-profit companies that use the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. Assessment criteria includes the measure of a company’s performance in five categories: governance, workers, customers, community and the environment. In line with the brand’s sustainability ethos, Blacklock launched a ‘Planet Promise’ during the 2020 lockdown that sees a tree planted for every customer that dines with them. So far seen more than 125,000 trees have been planted.
16a Bedford St, London WC2E 9HE