Don’t listen to Netflix – pork is definitely the new black. People are obsessed! While London hasn’t quite reached the level of the annual Eugene Bacon Fest over in Oregon (bacon bandages to heal any cuts!), we have just seen the launch of Pork Life over in Dalston; a foodie festival devoted to oinking wonders. What I’ve not tried, until Blackfoot came along, was a sit-down restaurant experience based around pork. Luckily the folks at Bookatable sent me along to give it a shot.
We started with some whipped lardo on sourdough toast. Oozy, buttery whipped lard was smothered generously over some crisp, fresh toast. It was exactly the way you wished toast would taste when you wake up every morning, except probably slightly less healthy.
We also tried some coppa, which consisted of sliced pork collar from a Monmouthshire farm. Presented very simply on a camping-style plate, the slices were thin, but certainly not lacking in punch.
You may have noticed a theme right from the start of the meal. The menu at Blackfoot is incredible. I think the number of porkless dishes could be counted on one hand (while the other reaches for bacon, naturally). The venue isn’t half bad either, with it’s patterned walls and vintage paintings, creating a warm, friendly atmosphere in which to enjoy your meal.
Love me tender
Time for some serious pork. Love me tender ribs, served with pecan coleslaw, are southern BBQ-style ribs, advertised as being just the way Elvis would have wanted. The meat took up some serious tablespace, and was layered in delicious BBQ sauce.
The most amazing thing about the dish, though, is that it was so tender we could literally pull the bones out of the ensemble without yanking off the meat around. Surely this is the sign of quality ribs? The taste that followed was, as expected, incredible, and the coleslaw worked to mix up the palate a bit when feasting upon the moreish rib meat.
Braised smoked pork belly with boulangere and romesca
Alongside that, we sampled the braised, smoked pork belly with boulangere and romesca.The dish looked wonderful, with the pork belly majestically sitting atop it’s throne: king of all food below. It tasted something special too, with the tender pork being balanced out by the lovely sauce and veg mix.
Like a key lime pie
We finished off with a few non-pork delights from the (entirely separate) dessert menu. I had ‘like a key lime pie’, which is the name of the dish rather than what it was aspiring to be. The sharp lime flavour seeped under the light sugar coating and through the moist base and really pleased.
Buttermilk panna cotta with spiced oranges
The buttermilk panna cotta with spiced oranges was also a great end to the meal. The milky smooth texture of the panna cotta was seared through by the fruit, adding a nice twist. Served in a large glass, it sat well in the stomach after the hearty main course.
With so many market stalls in London excelling at promoting pork, it’s really worth giving Blackfoot a shot for something a little different. The menu is creative, and the dishes are well executed. These guys know how to handle their bacon, and are something to be excited about.
46 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QE