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Hammer & Tongs

Restaurants, South African Clerkenwell
3 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
Hammer & Tongs
Paul Winch-Furness

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

An upmarket South African barbecue restaurant.

In South Africa, they call a ‘barbecue’ a ‘braai’, which is pronounced much less like the noise of a sheep than it looks (it sounds like ‘bry’). Farringdon’s Hammer & Tongs is an entire restaurant dedicated to it – the food’s all cooked on a four-metre-long braai, fuelled by wood that they’ve flown up especially from South Africa.

The menu’s heavily meat based, with dishes such as smoky lamb ribs, slow-cooked for six hours, enjoyably greasy king prawn sosaties (aka skewers) served with burnt lemon, and an oxtail stew called ‘potjie’ (pronounced poi-kee) that’s cooked in a pan over the grill.

It’s much more polite and genteel than you might expect – this isn’t a down-and-dirty barbecue joint, it’s a sophisticated destination for a grown-up date night, full of smart wooden tables, mirrors and food that’s often curiously lacking in the punchy smokiness you’d expect from a meaty grill joint. We’d have liked it to be a bit more fun, but as a concept it’s an interesting one – although you might have to ask the staff how the hell you pronounce some of the dishes.


Address: 171 Farringdon Road
Transport: Tube: Farringdon
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £135.
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Users say (2)

5 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

I must admit I am a South African ex-pat so I am naturally biased towards this kind of food, but I’ve not been to a restaurant in the UK that does the food such justice.

I could not fault it. It was like I’d just hopped on a 12 hour flight and gone back to my original home.

There’s a distinct smell of wood braai when you walk in (our version of a bbq), and everything was authentically cooked. I was amazed to see some things on the menu that you’d hardly ever see being featured on a menu outside of South Africa, let alone being cooked in the right way, like braaibroojies (like a toasted sandwich that’s been bbq’d, but much better than it sounds), boerewors (south African sausage), Cape Malay curry and sosaties (kebabs).

We had a lovely waitress who although wasn’t a Saffa herself, knew the menu backwards and was great at making recommendations when we just couldn’t decide what to have.

The food was beautifully presented and delicious, it’s just shame we’d stuffed ourselves so much there wasn’t any room left for dessert.

I’ll definitely be back.

Incredible place! The smell of the braai was beautiful and all the food was cooked to perfection and seasoned well. YUM. Drinks and wine list also deserve a shout out as there's a really wide range and the bartenders seem to really know their stuff :)

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