I was fortunate to be invited along to the press opening of the new smokehouse restaurant on Quayside, Hop and Cleaver (one of the few perks of working in business journalism). A part of the Ladhar Leisure group, this place is the newest in a long line of high quality, affordable bars and restaurants serving local produce and craft beers. Lady Grey’s, Redhouse and Pleased to Meet You are amongst its sister bars – no wonder there was a queue as far as Big Mussel just 30 minutes after opening to the public.
The interior of Hop and Cleaver is incredibly impressive. The Jacobean, grade-two listed building has been restored to its former beauty with a modern twist. There are several little quirks including a shelf-like bar revealing the scruffy trainers of the young and enthusiastic staff, knife sharpeners for door handles and the perfect little beer garden. No stone was left unturned during the renovation of this building.
Enough about the beauty of the building – let’s talk about the grub. We were treated to a selection of tasty smoked meat dishes off the menu, including ribs, pulled pork sliders, chicken wings and more. I was glad to have worn all black despite the scorching weather – things got messy; the chicken wings were juicy and smothered in some ungodly sauce; the ribs held the smokiness perfectly, with the meat falling off the bone. I can’t wait to get back there and tackle half a rack.
In terms of drinks, the bar is vast. There is a wide selection of continental lagers, and they even have my favourite Camden Hells. The cocktails look divine (from the Instagram videos they’ve posted!), but what did we expect from PTMY’s sister bar?
I wandered off along the Quayside, full to the brim with ribs, chicken and all sorts of other delicious barbecued meats, only to return an hour later to see a queue worthy of Digital on a Monday night circa 2011. Let the hype calm down, starve yourself for a few days and book yourself a table to enjoy this feast – I promise you won’t be disappointed.