An absolutely sweltering Wednesday afternoon and a stroll through buzzy Soho to newly launched Dirty Bones, the fourth site from the New York comfort food and cocktail experts in London. Upon entering, we gaze up at the strikingly bare ceiling dotted with industrial lighting and exposed pipes. This is pared-back Brooklyn chic with a little bit of Studio 54 whipped in. The vibe is cool, fun and calm. Contemporary pop art hangs elegantly next to neon light fixtures. Old school hip-hop, funk and soul classics (their words) hum in the background. A group of local businessmen order a round of milkshakes. If you’re looking for a dose of naughty excitement, this might be a good place to start. A straightforward menu is introduced methodically by a charming waitress and offers just three starters; padrón peppers sprinkled with salt, free range chicken wings smothered in Louisiana hot sauce and, our absolute favourite, the delectable cheeseburger dumplings – homemade gyoza dumplings stuffed with burger mince and melted cheese. Creatively lovely, scrumptious. Next up, my companion and I share a brisket-and-dry-aged steak burger which arrives promptly, oozing with black treacle bacon, creamy gorgonzola sauce, pickled jalapenos, baby spinach and chipotle aioli. A piece of art, this is for serious burger fiends. The house special is chicken and waffles – a sort of upmarket KFC on steroids. A generous baked waffle is covered with nuggets of crispy fried chicken and smeared in dark maple syrup. Divine. Other items on the ‘Bones’ section include slow-cooked pork belly ribs marinated in Dr. Pepper and burnt onion and BBQ sauce (love it), and charcoal-grilled cuts of British rib-eye steak.
Lighter options include gluten-free tacos, which come in two varieties: burnt onion and ale BBQ beef short, and grilled stone bass. It pleases me to see a menu that knows what it wants to say and doesn’t wander. Everything is simple, unfussy and pleasant. The mac & cheese from the ‘salads and sides’ section of the menu is something else. A ginormous portion of macaroni smothered in taleggio and smoked cheddar topped with crunchy parmesan breadcrumbs. Insanely tasty. Other delights include a raw kale and chilli salad, roasted chilli-mint squash and crispy lamb fries. It is not only the food menu where creativity and excitement is brewing. A brilliant cocktail menu includes beautiful sounding suggestions like Littlest Hobo, Top Dog and Honeysuckle Sidekick. Dirty Bones’ motto is ‘good times’ and that is exactly what you’ll have here, you just might need to detox a little once you leave.
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