I’ve always been a fan of Dirty Bones. From birthdays spent bottomless brunching to weeknights devouring mac n cheese-topped burgers, it’s always a good time here. There’s nothing that this cheat day hotspot loves more than a classic, and their Kensington outpost is the real OG. From old school mashups that blend Big Poppa with Candy through to hip hop classics from Wu-Tang Clan, even the soundtrack is a certified hit.
With musical notes filtering through to the New York-inspired menus, cocktails come in the form of Gangsta’s Paradise and The Rick Ross, while dishes lean towards stacked burgers, pimped out hot dogs and the naughtiest junk food sides that you could imagine. And I was ready to spend my Saturday working through the edible offerings at the low-lit subterranean spot.
Easing into the hefty spread that was set to arrive, we started off date night with a Brooklyn IPA (£6) for him and a tangy Call Me Clementine (£10.50) for me. A citrusy blend of gin, kumquat liqueur, passionfruit orange, rosemary syrup and lime shaken with egg white, this was exactly the kinda heady mix to get the evening started.
Modern riffs on the age-old cheeseburger have been cropping up on a fair few menus over the years (temper’s cheeseburger taco; Black Axe Mangal’s Big Mac flatbread - we’re looking at you) but the cheeseburger dumplings (£8.50) here are all the only bun-based bite that you need on your radar. Packed with juicy mince, bursting with flavour and served with a side of the tangiest big mac sauce, these were an instant winner.
With dish after dish rolling out swiftly, we devoured sweet chilli-topped mac balls (£6.50), 24-hour brined crispy fried chicken (£9.50) so perfectly tender within yet crisp on the outside and an indulgent beef short rib (£18) that justified its price tag with an indulgent espresso-spiked BBQ sauce glaze and melt-in-the-mouth meat that fell so easily off the bone.
As Krept and Konan blended into Drake, we attempted to fight the meat sweats with a couple of cocktails. Short, fizzy and laced with passionfruit, his Littlest Hobo (£9) was a luxe take on the pornstar. My Deputy Dog (£9) was a taller tipple, remixing the classic paloma with a refreshing mix of tequila, peach liqueur, grapefruit, mint and lime... just what I needed to wash down the moreish sticky toffee pudding (£6) that paired a buttery rum sauce with sea salt for a little umami injection.
Just as we thought the party was over, we were led into the adjoining bar where a DJ was mixing CDs (yep) atop a pinball machine and bartenders were shaking up curious concoctions. A glass of flat fizz (£7) – if you can call it that – and the overly citrusy Fig The Power (£9) didn’t quite live up to its boozy predecessors. But at least the DJ was here to bring things back to higher ground.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Not only does Dirty Bones deliver in the food department, but this Kensington venue has got the cocktails, music and all-around vibes to match. Whether you’re a lover of old-school hip hop anthems or just can’t resist a deliciously filthy burger, you’ve got all bases covered. Some drinks could definitely do with a little finesse, but as far as fuss-free restaurants go, Dirty Bones will always be up there.