Hot dogs. Chicken wings. Popcorn. When on earth did these items make the leap from fairground food to respectable restaurant offerings?
Well, here in 2013, we are plum in the middle (or possibly nearing the end) of the trend for Southern USA-style fried, broiled and easy food. At the high end of this trend you have your pulled pork and designer chilli. Whilst the aforementioned menu items have been given gastro makeovers, they can now be found spiced, marinated and even naked if you look hard enough.
The latest, and possibly late, entrant to this ‘fry fest’ is Lazybones in Farringdon. Lazybones has clearly set its sights on the area’s resident creative set of designers and architects. The walls run riot with crazy graphics, witty scrawls, collected and up-cycled design elements, fly-posted images, stencils and hand-painted pop-culture references, matched with reincarnated furnishings and old silent movie screenings. To add to its hip factor, Lazybones even has a jukebox that the punters control via an app (of course) to make sure that the tunes match your dining or drinking experience. So long as it's loud. The waiting staff are young hipsters, who belie their age by being both incredibly efficient and friendly (not a surly student scowl in sight).
The food has four flavours of chicken wings, four types of hot dogs, and four types of pulled, torn or fried meats, pork with slaw, brisket chilli, guacamole, falafel wraps, and a three bean salad.
We decided to try pretty much everything, including spicy popcorn, two types of chicken wings, and the pulled pork and chilli. The food is served quickly and in random order; no sense of starters and mains here. The pulled pork and slaw came in a brioche bun, and according to the Northerner, was pretty damned delicious. The brisket chilli was flavoursome rather than hot, and all the better for it. The sweet and spicy, and hot chicken wings were deliciously messy and moreish. We couldn’t expand our exploding tummies any further, so the dogs will see another day.
The wine and beer menu, from which we tried a Spanish tempranillo, was extensive and of decent quality. Overall everything was good … but not great. In part because its hard to tell if Lazybones wants to be a hip bar, or a hip diner. It feels more like the former – there isn’t much in the way of seating, the music is deafeningly loud, and you order from the bar – but I think it wants to be more of the latter. If that is the case, then Lazybones needs a few tweaks to compete with the likes of The Diner and Byron chains. Table service and a more extensive menu would be a good place to start. The other sticking point is that it does feel likes it chasing, rather then setting, a trend on the food front. The pulled-pork-and-dogs-based menu seems a little 2012. I would hate for Lazybones to be caught short when the dogs, wings and popcorn head back to the fun fair.