I adore Marylebone. I spent nearly 5 years working in an office there before launching my freelance business and to say I love the area is an understatement. So, when I was invited to try the First Table services, I had to choose the new Boxcar Butcher & Grill – any excuse to visit my favourite area in London.
Disclaimer: We were invited guests of First Table, but my thoughts and terrible puns are all very much my own.
Boxcar is tucked away just behind Marble Arch Underground station, within a clutch of boutique businesses on New Quebec Street. It’s an area where quality is king, full of discerning local foodies – and we were excited to try out their hearty menu.
But, let me introduce First Table. Mr Kiwi and I are usually the first people in restaurants of evenings when we are left to our own devices – it means we can get dinner done after a long day, the restaurants are quieter and the light is much better (such a blogger.) So it means that something like First Table is perfect for us – the premise is if you pay a fiver to book the first table of an evening sitting, you’ll get 50% off the food bill. Simple and perfect.
There are a couple of rules you need to be aware of – First Table very much frown upon people being late (and reserve the right to cancel your table if you are over a certain threshold of punctuality), there may be menu choice restrictions – we couldn’t order off the mouthwatering Butcher’s board of steak selections from what we understood – and the bookings are for 2 – 4 people max. All are fairly reasonable requirements – I abhor people who are continuously, ridiculously late, it shows a total lack of respect.
Boxcar are a local independent butcher & grill in Marylebone, using a premium selection of ethically reared produce from British farms who share their ethos of proper animal welfare. The on-site butcher store drives their daily food offering featuring marbled cuts of steak, signature burgers & homemade pies. They source all the produce themselves and meet every farmer and producer to ensure quality, provenance and a fair price for their British producers. (Nb: there are great vegetarian options on the menu – and good ones, not just mushroom risotto.)
Enjoy ourselves we certainly did. Mr Kiwi began his feast with a haddock Scotch egg, served with a light curried sauce and oozing with perfectly cooked yolk, as golden orange as Aslan’s mane. I nibbled on a piquant salmon tartare laced with capers, served with an amazing and surprising chocolate bread that me slapping away Mr Kiwi’s hand.
For mains, there are no prizes guessing what we both chose – especially with the displays of steak that behind glass that makes me want to press my nose against it like a small, hungry child. We both went for the ‘Boxcar steak’, a 28-day aged Hereford Sirloin steak – cooked medium-rare for me, and medium to well for the husband. Our sides were show-stealers; a hunk of confit potato was mouthwateringly buttery (his words, not mine), the rosemary fries were perfect examples of chips, the sweetcorn and courgette (our paeon to being healthy) was ridiculously moreish and the Bernaise was glorious.
But, the best course was yet to come.
The Mr chose as simply as possible – a brownie, but was surprised with a devilish white chocolate mousse and refreshing sorbet which cut beautifully through the brownie’s cake-y goodness.
I chose the ‘British Strawberries’ dessert, a glorious vanilla set cream set off with basil, honeycomb and shortbread biscuit. I almost licked the pot, and I’m not even embarrassed to admit that. I didn’t though – we were in Marylebone after all!
Boxcar is a casual dining restaurant, with a small area of outdoor seating, main dining area, rear dining area under a full-opening skylight and a lower-ground seating area for 20 covers overlooking the kitchen and charcoal grill.
We were seated in the rear dining area, very happily ensconced.
Thanks First Table – we’ll definitely be back to Boxcar for a nice early table. In fact, I’ve already noticed that the online menu has already been updated with a bevy of delicious dishes that have caught my fancy…
Are you an early bird who catches a steak dinner, or a late owl who eyes up the cocktail bar?
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