Dirty Bones, Shoreditch

The new Dirty Bones in Shoreditch is a grown-up, more glamorous alternative to the other branches in Kensington and Soho, though there is still a hit of grunge in the dark decor and DJ set up. The all-American restaurant has taken over a gorgeous Grade-II listed building in central Shoreditch and has smart leather seating and a glitzy bar to lure you in. Known for their strong cocktails and indulgent menu of US classics, the offering here has all the same recipes with a few extra dishes (like Cheeseburger Dumplings) added.

Dirty Bones Shoreditch

I visited on a Monday lunchtime, bringing along my brother to help with the inevitable feasting. Totally overwhelmed by the large menu we let the waiter pick his favourites for our meal. His choices were flawless, a nice mix of meat and veggie dishes which complemented eachother well. Our favourites included the Beef Short Rib with salted caramel & burnt onion sauce, crispy shallots and spring onions. The tender meat fell easily off the bone coated in a sticky sweet-smoky sauce and topped with tangy spring onions. The blissfully simple but wonderfully tasty Crispy Lamb Fries were also a hit, flavoured with a spicy sauce and a hint of miso with a scattering of crunchy lamb bites.

Dirty Bones Shoreditch

I was beginning to tire of burgers, until I ate ‘The Mac Daddy’ an extravagant bun filled with a 6oz patty, pulled beef short rib, mac & cheese and homemade BBQ sauce. Juicy and moist with a rich cheesy sauce, it was as good as it looks.

For dessert I recommend ordering the Milk & Cookies, a simple pudding with a chewy chocolate cookie and refreshing creamy milk ice-cream. We loved all the cocktails that were put in front of us, but the winner had to be ‘Mutt’s Nuts’, a perfectly balanced short drink with Woodford Reserve bourbon, cinnamon & vanilla infused maple syrup, Angostura bitters, lemon and apple.

Visit Dirty Bones for a quiet weekday lunch to really relish the food, or head there at the weekend when the music adds a fun atmosphere to the venue.

More information and book a table here.

Dirty Bones, Kensington

A hidden den serving hot dogs and cocktails sounds very much like an East London venture, Dirty Bones however brings the grime and groove to West London’s elite.

With a few notable characters in the Dirty Bones team including Ross Clarke, of Fat Duck fame, there has been much hype about this Kensington opening. The name has perhaps been detrimental to its initial reputation, liable to be confused with similarly titled outlets – Dirty Burger, Bones in Dalston, Bone Daddies, and Fishbone.

From the American diner style exterior, you are led to believe this is just a retro takeaway joint, indeed during the day that is exactly what it is… but at night the camouflaged door leads down to a bright neon lit, vintage-styled drinks and dogs den. An old pinball machine is the welcoming desk and a scruffy drinks dispenser is a secret door through to a dining area. Cocktails are served in the bar, there is a selection of creative long and short drinks. I particularly enjoyed the Mutt’s Nuts: a smoky warming combination of Woodford Reserve and vanilla infused maple syrup, lemon and apple juice. For a pre-dinner tipple, the sugary sweet Big Apple is a caramelised treat.

There is a limited selection of fast food: dogs, bones, sides and salads. Dogs are available in different meats with the choice of pork, beef or veggie sausage. We tried the Mexican with a pork sausage, it comes with pulled pork, cactus salsa, lime sour cream and guacamole. It was a nice balance of soft brioche style bun and meaty, spicy filling. The crispy, spiced fried chicken is a must-try, tender chicken thighs and wings coated in an addictive crunchy coating and spritzed with charred lemon. Fries were a massive disappointment however – a tiny portion of limp supermarket-type chips, but glazed sweetcorn is a tasty alternative.

You’ll want to steal the playlist from the sound system, it comes from miracle music man Rob Wood of Music Concierge. It is a carefully curated soundtrack which adds to the character of the place and will make you want to dance whether you’re sitting or standing.

In the first weeks of service a few discrepancies can be forgiven, though Dirty Bones did try my patience. We waited for over an hour for a table, and nearly another for the food and then got asked to move to a neighbouring table. The embarrassed waiter apologised profusely and offered complimentary cocktails, but the hanging around was a tad tiresome.

Big groups can book at Dirty Bones, which I would definitely recommend. The venue is thoughtfully designed and the vibe is painfully trendy; better still, the food and drinks are tasty and reasonably priced. The grungy retro look definitely encourages a cool crowd and I feel blessed that my side of town finally has a desirable dive.

More information here: dirty-bones.com