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Hammer & Tongs

Restaurants, South African Clerkenwell
3 out of 5 stars
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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