The Big Easy
Veteran Chelsea crabshack, The Big Easy, opened up its second venue in Covent Garden this week. Channelling All-American steakhouses, this place is built for volume. The alcoholic slushies are to die for (go for the two-in-one Miami Vice if you're feeling flush) and the bottled-to-the-brim bar is friendly and attentive. The staff here are smiley and knowledgeable but we didn't get our drinks til after our mains arrived which was a little disappointing. There's a lot to offer - from steak to ribs, shrimp to lobster - but the night we went, they didn't have everything available - not so good for an opening night. We went for the Lobster Festival (£20 for a whole lobster, chunky chips, salad and a slushie) which was very reasonably priced but smaller (and drier) than its Burger & Lobster counterpart. The mac & cheese had a decent crumb but stick some proper cheese in there, please! Good for a tourist-land stop but I don't think I'll be going back.
The newest resident at Dalston's Birthdays, Psychic Burger has got the burger thing going on. Spoilt for choice, we gave the eponymous offering (beef, Psychic sauce, pickles, American cheese on a brioche bun) and the Lamb Franko (toasted almond & spiced lamb patty, smoked pomegranate yoghurt, aji, coriander on a brioche bun) a go. We'd toyed with the horse burger (yes, really) but our morals got the best of us so stacked up with croquettes and stilton chipotle dip, and chilli cheese fries for that all American dream. A little bit messy but totally moreish, we devoured everything, as well as several of the Bagheeras (Vanilla Stoli, ginger, Gomme, basil, lemon and ginger ale). We didn't stay for the afterparty but we'll definitely be back.
Tucked off Greek Street and sitting pretty over Soho, Soho House is a members-only with a difference. No stuffiness here (the Shoreditch contingent has a rooftop swimming pool), everything's quite casual as you wind your way up the stairs and settle in the devilishly comfortable leather sofas. We were here for drinks more than anything else - the Grey Goose Fizz was my total favourite - but couldn't help ordering some of the small plates to share. Spicy chicken wings? Not bad. Padron peppers? Gone in a flash. Chipolatas with honey and mustard? Yes please. And the smoked cod roe with toasts? Keep it coming! After our meeting was over, we wandered upstairs to the top floor where the conservatory gives out onto a little roof terrace where, just for a second, you both forget and remember that you don't actually live here. A girl can dream though, right?