Last Updated on September 30, 2021
Black Cow – new Camden restaurant – American grill with Middle Eastern flavours
Camden has always been rocking, famous for both its music scene and labyrinth of street markets ..but the buzz doesn’t stop there… Hawley Wharf is an exciting new development, London’s first since lockdown, which has just opened in the heart of Camden Town, opposite the market, and right by the canal side. An area full of cool independent shops and restaurants, creating a fresh new look for Camden.
I went along to the Black Cow restaurant on its opening night, in fact, I think we may have been their very first guests which was a real privilege!
The Black Cow is the new venture of owners and chef team Shiri Kraus (Palomar, The Barbary) and Amir Batito (The Machneyuda Group) who during lockdown ran a successful private catering business. It is set on the first floor of a contemporary building at the entrance of the complex. Open and airy with wooden tables and a large marble-topped seated bar area around the smart open kitchen, where we were warmly welcomed by Amir to sit and dine.
The Black Cow is named after Shiri and Amir’s ‘black sheep’ attitude to hospitality, based on the concept of the Hebrew phrase ’לפתוח שולחן’ or ‘opening a table’ to their guests. Here they have created an open, inviting, attitude to hospitality where you can watch your food being prepared as the chefs work the Josper charcoal grill.
Owner Shiri Kraus says – “Amir and I are so excited to bring our vision to life. Over the years we’ve worked together, we’ve bonded over our shared belief that a restaurant should be an extension of our personal table, and all guests should be welcomed with open arms as if old friends. Together, we want to bring brand-new flavours to steak house staples at an accessible price for all, and centre the quality of the meat and the experience of dining at The Black Cow above all else.”
Amir told us how he was brought up in Israel, however, his travels and connections have taken him around the world where he has seeped up different cultures and global cuisines all of which have gone on to inspire his cooking and, in this instance, allowed him to create something rather special here at the Black Cow.
The Black Cow mixes an American steakhouse-style grill with Middle Eastern flavours and spices, exploring familiar concepts with unfamiliar flavours. They are sourcing the best quality meat from one of my favourite butchers, HG Walters where all their beef is grass-fed and high welfare.
The menu offers three different purposely picked steaks at affordable prices – The Katan is a 6Oz Onglet steak – £13, Benoni, a 10Oz Denver cut – £21 and 30oz Sirloin Steak on the bone for 2 at £69. Each steak is prepared with wonderful Middle Eastern-inspired flavours and burnt herb oil and flaming herbs. On the side, there’s a selection of tempting vegetable and fish dishes including Nomnoms (whitebait with chilli, oregano, and cured lemon) Shrimpim (prawn cocktail with tzatziki and pickled onions) or harissa coated home fries.
First things first…from the bespoke Cocktail menu I chose a Yona which was made with pink mescal, grapefruit, lime and Elite Arak, an alcoholic drink that originates from Israel and has a distinct aniseed flavour to it. Definitely a very funky cocktail with a real kick to it! My friend had a Moabet with Victory London Gin, Hibiscus tea, elderflower and raspberries – a very pretty long drink, light, floral and nicely balanced.
To start we ordered a selection of dishes…I love cornbread and their homemade breaking bread was particularly delicious and remarkably light, soaked in a lamb butter …very moreish indeed! Amir recommended we try the Casbah – a cheeringly good pie made of light and flaky brick pastry, which when cut open oozed with gooey American melted cheese, tasty spiced pulled steak, harissa, truffle oil and soft running egg.
On the side we had Cheesy cauliflower which was seasoned with was dukkha – light, creamy and full of lovely nutty and earthy flavours.
The Kharchouf was a standout dish…beautifully presented artichoke dripping in chermoula, which was brimming with fragrant herbs and garlic, topped with a pecorino crumble adding crunch and texture, it was set upon a creamy remoulade.
And the steak…… we shared a Benoni 10oz Denver steak, which looked glorious as the dried herbs which topped it were set alight at our table, creating wonderful smoky aromas from the flaming herbs, spices and harissa oil. The meat was thicky sliced, tender and moist and full of Middle Eastern promise– a carnivorous dream!
We accompanied our meal with a glass of Chateau Ksara, a Blanc de Blanc from Lebanon, an elegant wine with notes of grapefruit, a hint of smoke and good acidity, that matched the strong spicy flavours of the dishes.
With room for very little more, we still couldn’t resist a pudding. We chose to share Quincy Jones – scrumptious warmly spiced roasted quince topped with a sweet honeyed crunchy almond crumble served with lightly perfumed orange blossom ice cream. And finally, Turkish coffee with added cardamom drops served with Turkish Delight, the perfect end to our very delicious meal.
The Black Cow in the brand-new Hawley Wharf looks sure to be a huge success and I would highly recommend taking a seat at Amir and Shiri’s table, I’m sure as I did you will be made to feel very welcome.
The Black Cow
3 Camden Lock PLC
2nd floor Hawley Wharf
For more about the area check out our feature and Camden guide