The Head of Steam has opened today in Hockley, on the site of the old Missoula Bar.
Centering around craft beer, the three storey building has been completely transformed into a funky, contemporary, chilled bar. My favourite part was the artwork dedicated to Nottingham. The booths at the back of the downstairs area are apparently a nod to old style train carriages. They also allow dogs! Two beautiful dogs were visiting while I was there, and I instantly fell in love with both of them.
Having visited Head of Steam Quayside (read my review HERE) I had a certain expectation of what it may look like, and it hugely surpassed my expectations.
The alcohol bible is something to admire. With over 130 bottled, canned and draught beers, 34 brands of gin and a small cocktail menu, it definitely has something for everyone! The also support local breweries with Castle Rock and others on the menu.
The menu is totally different to what I was expecting. The chefs are employed in house (previously they have been outsourced apparently) and the menu has been carefully crafted. I would call it upmarket pub food. Everything from starters of chorizo and yuzu, ginger and shiso smoked salmon, to mains of traditional fish & chips and sauteed mussels. It was hard to pick what we wanted to eat! What I especially loved about the menu is that most of the dishes come with a drinks recommendation. As someone who’s standard drinks order is a Peroni, I need a little help where craft beer is concerned.
For starter we ordered; chorizo, red pepper hummus and flatbread, Korean-inspired squid and the charcuterie board.
The chorizo were fat little pieces of paprika sausage with a honey glaze. The honey turned gorgeously sticky and I would order these again and again. Perfect even just for a nibble with a drink.
The squid were so large I genuinely thought we had ordered onion rings. Soft and thickly coated in breadcrumbs and with a delicious lime and kimchi dipping sauce, they were again a great dish.
The red pepper hummus with rosemary and olive oil flatbread was again great. The hummus was a little oily on top however a quick mix and all was perfect. I will say that the flatbread was humongous and way too large for us to finish but the hummus was seasoned well.
The chacuterie board included artichoke, red pepper and salami with bread and salad. Again a lovely dish but by then we realised that we have over ordered and slowed down a little to ensure we ate our mains.
For main I ordered the own recipe 12” hot dog, topped with BBQ pulled pork & crispy onions and served with fries. Now I will be honest, I completely missed the fact that these were footlong! It was huge! The sausage was delicious, I was rather expecting a pale tinned hot dog type sausage but this looked like something you would buy from Johnny Pusztai. It was delicious. The pulled pork was soft and had been seemingly cooked for hours. The BBQ taste was sweet and the onions certainly were crunchy. It was encased in a brioche bun which was amazing, I absolutely love brioche. The only downside were the fries. Super thin and a little too oily for me. I would have preferred sweet potato fries. They do these, I just forgot to add them to the order, entirely my fault.
Katie ordered the fish & chips. Described as Sustainable Brooklyn beer battered cod with fries & wasabi pea purée, Katie said it was enjoyable. I didn’t ask her for a detailed analysis as to be honest by then we were shattered and full. I also forgot to take a photo! However, there is always time for pudding…
Now, the menu at Head of Steam is small, but seemingly perfectly formed. They offer a trio of desserts (£9.95) from the menu, and I naively assumed that these three would be smaller versions of the main ones. I was totally wrong. We ordered the profiteroles with butterscotch syrup, strawberry & raspberry cheesecake and the salted caramel & chocolate torte. Each was incredible. The profiteroles were golf ball sides, filled with cream and drizzled in the sticky butterscotch sauce. The cheesecake reminded me of those sweets you used to get as a kid, and was incredibly sweet without being heavy. The torte though, stole the show for me. It was light, fluffy and so unbelievably decadent. I want to go back just for more of it. They unfortunately wouldn’t give me the recipe though which was a little mean haha.
I had a scapegrace gin and Fentiman’s tonic, a small batch artisan gin from New Zealand. Served with a wedge of lime it complimented the already citrus flavoured gin. A proper winner for me.
I also had a half a mango cider, taking me back to summer days and sitting in the sunshine. Again delicious.
Lastly I had a cocktail. With flames so high they nearly removed my eyebrows, this flaming zombie made with Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Captain Morgan Dark Rum, Triple Sec, Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum, Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice & Grenadine, it was potent. I had three sips and passed it to Katie so I could get home without falling over!
I absolutely loved Head of Steam. The staff are incredibly friendly, the food is lovely and very good value for money and the drinks menu would take me 10 years to work my way through. The fact that they are in a great location and allow dogs is a bonus. I can see this being very popular. I suggest you head down and try that chorizo ASAP!
*I was invited for dinner and drinks in return for my honest feedback. I can’t wait to return. I genuinely really enjoyed my experience.