One Sixty is the new American style smokehouse venture from restaurateur David Moore and Sean Martin. Found nearby Aldgate tube station, you'll find the quirky eatery on the corner of Stoney Lane. With edgy branding and a youthful feel, the interior is a mix of black chalkboard and monochrome prints with bright yellow accents. You'll find this continue along the bar, lit up with yellow neon lights, and through the yellow tiles and Belfast sinks in the bathrooms. A graffiti artist has made their mark with bold illustrations which run onto the menus and utterly cool marketing.
We went along on a Monday evening and the restaurant was around a third full; not bad for 6.30 midweek. The waitress was laid back and friendly, offering us a clip top bottle of cold water whilst we made our menu choices. Dubbed "hearty American BBQ classics with a distinctive English flair" we couldn't wait to tuck in. The backing track to our beef bonanza came in the form of Blondie, The Offspring, Ash, Wheatus and The Strokes; so basically my iPod nano on shuffle in circa 2004. And I was cool with that.
I'd brought along Sophie, burger expert and fellow food blogger at Sophie Loves Food- when it comes to burgers she knows her stuff. We began the evening with a couple of their cocktails - a Gin Fizz and a French Martini (£8 each). Both took a little while to arrive but were worth the wait. Boozy, easy-drinking and refreshing without any overpowering alcohol twangs. Rather dangerous really!
As you may have guessed, the One Sixty City menu is that of a US smokehouse; think 18-24 hr slow cooked offerings, burgers, mac & cheese and cheaper meat cuts transformed into flavoursome, tender dishes after hours of delicate smoking.
With Sophie the burger queen, it made sense for her to sample their Dry Aged Burger - a One Sixty Chuck Beef Patty which came with chips (£12). I ordered the 8hr Smoked Ox Cheek (£17) whilst we shared a couple of Mac & Cheese Bites from the nibbles menu (£5.50).
Luckily for the unknowing One Sixty crew, Sophie was rather impressed by the burger patty, which was very thick and served rare. As good quality burgers should, in our opinion. For her, she felt it could have done with more burger sauce to make it that extra bit indulgent and juicy. Sometimes you just fancy a burger where everything spills out the sides and you end up with sauce all over your chops.
My ox cheek was just incredible. For want of a better phrase, it was the perfect melt-in-the-mouth cliche. So tender and with a deliciously subtle smokey taste. The carrot and cabbage slaw it came with was well seasoned with real peppercorns and a distinctly floral aroma of coriander seeds. It actually worked really well that I might throw a few in my next salad.
The mac & cheese bites were a fun addition of super stringy cheese pasta we know and love, encased in a naughty crispy batter. The cheese string was so hard to control it was laughable, albeit a good characteristic of a good mac and che. I'd definitely order them again, along with trying the pork scrumpits. Although I'm still baffled as to why the bites came arranged as a smiley face.
In all it was a great restaurant ticking all the boxes of quirkiness, cool and of course the smokey menu you'd expect. With this as the only smokehouse style restaurant I've been to in London, I wouldn't know how it fared with the competition. However it was definitely on a par with The Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch, a restaurant with inspiration from South American and Cajun cuisine. I would definitely recommend it to someone looking for somewhere a bit different - and I wouldn't hesitate to order the ox cheek again.
Have you ever been to One Sixty City? What is your favourite American smokehouse restaurant in London?
9 stoney lane
We dined as guests of One Sixty. All opinions are honest and my own.