Just as you think that you have pretty much tried all the cocktails there are at One Sixty City and you’re just going to stick to an old favourite from now on, along comes a new one which makes you vow to never think such a ridiculous thing in future.
The one which caused me to think this was the One Sixty Beer cocktail, made up of Sailor Jerry rum, Cointreau, lime and pimento and topped off with Chimay Gold Belgian beer.
It sounded pretty awful, to be honest, but I was in a new restaurant – One Sixty Smokehouse and Bar, which is between the Gherkin and Liverpool Street station – and so I felt it would be a waste not to try the signature cocktail. Needless to say, I was very glad I did as it was utterly delicious and completely worked in spite of the odd combination of ingredients.
I was having lunch with owner David Moore, who also runs Michelin-starred Pied a Terre as well as L’Autre Pied and various other foodie ventures. One Sixty City – 160 degrees is the temperature at which the meat is cooked at and means the meat fibres break down to become smooth and flavourful – is the second in the One Sixty series (the first opened in West Hampstead last year) and focuses on ‘hearty American classics with a distinctive English flair.’
The restaurant itself is in a former Slug and Lettuce and still hasn’t shaken off the feel of the pub chain, with wooden floors, a long, narrow dining area and a massive space in front of the bar for the high-volume, vertical drinking market. It probably perfectly suited the food but with cocktails this good I’d want a classier-looking place to enjoy them in. Having been so happy with my One Sixty Beer cocktail it seemed wrong to try something else… but then a food/drinks writer should really try as many new things as possible. In the midst of my dithering I realised I’d ordered a Jalapeno and Cucumber martini with tequilo and agave syrup, and found that to be almost as good as the One Sixty Beer. The restaurant does pride itself on its drinks almost as much as its food, with 50 different craft beers behind the bar plus real ales on tap.
Things were going swimmingly by now so it was a good idea to get some food in, so we started with some hot wings with blue cheese sauce – nice and sticky – and some pigs cheek scrumpets, which were kind of fish cakes made with pigs cheeks and very moreish. The menu is short and meaty, with pork, ox cheeks and brisket from the smoker, and burger and ribeye from the grill. Vegetarians probably wouldn’t come here but if they do, there’s a three-bean chilli with tortillas, or a Caesar salad for pescatarians, which can also come with chicken.
We shared a smoked half rack of pork ribs which had been cooked for eight hours and then the smoked ox cheek. I don’t usually go for ribs but these were very tasty, but the ox cheek was the star of the show for me and was exactly as billed on the menu – ‘rich, melt in the mouth beef’. I was glad we were sharing as just one of those portions would have been too much for me, but I suppose they are catering to hearty City appetites – if the office drones are allowed out for lunch that is.
Even if they are, they have to be quick – the restaurant was packed at one but empty at 2.05pm. However we took that as a sign to move onto the third cocktail of the lunch – an Espresso martini, but with rum rather than vodka. With that, we reeled off happily into the afternoon sun and off to an art exhibition at Mark Hix’s restaurant Tramshead… but that is another story.
One Sixty City Smokehouse and Bar, 9 Stoney Lane, London. E1 7BH
+44 (0) 207 283 8367