If you’ve heard of ETM, you’ve undoubtedly heard of their reputation for eclectically designed venues that serve high quality and seriously delicious food. From swanky bars such as The Botanist, through to little City pub The Jugged Hare, the group have a knack for creating one of a kind venues, demonstrated again with their opening in The Montcalm Royal London House Hotel. Burdock is both a bar and a restaurant, located on the edge of Finsbury Square and serving sharing plates and cocktails to City workers.
Sandwiched between the slick City with its streets of suits, and the creative Shoreditch area, Burdock is a sum of both parts. The venue is clearly split in two, divided by the entrance to the Montcalm Royal London House. On the right, the casual bar is lined with great metal drums, has two shuffle boards and specialises in unusual brands of beer. The restaurant is to the left and a mix of exposed brick, copper piping and little tables that look over Finsbury Square.
Food and Drink
I seem to spend the majority of my time either eating or talking about eating - rattling on about the last incredible, mind-blowing thing I ate; most of the time my praise is overblown but Burdock’s food is worth all the superlatives I’m about to throw at it. The menu has been designed to be shared - if you can bear to split food this good - with the emphasis on trying several plates.
We started with bite-size tacos (£6), stuffed with succulent short rib and crunchy pickles or sweet lobster and crayfish. Split between large and small plates, the menu included a glorious double burger (£9) of two meaty patties dripping in cheese and squished between an air-light bun. Pork Belly and Lobster (£9.50) came with a sweet carrot puree sauce, the meat melting at the touch of my fork; stilton-smothered venison meatballs (£7) were gobbled down before we had a chance for breath and the pheasant, mushroom and chestnut pasty (£9.50) was indulgently rich.
Pudding was just as glutton-inducing and decadent as the rest of the menu with a choice between freakshakes and sundaes. Topped with whipped cream and a tiny doughnut, Jam Custard Doughnut Freakshake (£5) was a creamy concoction of strawberry jam and custard shake which we slurped down in seconds.
The cocktail list is short and sweet; White House Tea (£10.50) was a potent mix of Bulleit Rye, Creme de Peches, Lemon, Assam & Earl Grey Tea while tequila-based Queen of Jalisco (£10.50), served with grapefruit, raspberries and passion fruit, was juicily sweet with a sharp citrus aftertaste.
Burdock has two personalities; after-work boozing and sit-down restaurant. We were there on a Thursday evening, coinciding with the weekly DJ set, a chilled mix of house music. In the bar area Christmas parties were getting merry, playing on the shuffleboard and congregating around the high tables. Things were a little more subdued in the restaurant as large groups worked their way through the menu or couples sat near the fairy-light strewn bar.
ETM has served up another winner with Burdock, using British produce in simple but delicious ways, I could eat the restaurant's food every day. Go for cocktails after work and stay to stuff yourself with as many sharing plates as possible.