great places to visit off the beaten path.
There are three reasons to visit here – dining at a Mark Hix restaurant (the Tramshed), viewing a minimalist art gallery (the Cock ‘n Bull) and a seeing a significant Damien Hirst art installation from his ‘Natural History’ series.
The Tramshed: This is a Grade II listed building built in 1905 that once housed the electricity generating station for the local Tramway. Electric trams in London began in earnest in 1903, but were generally gone by the 1940s. Today the building has been preserved but renovated and converted into a carnivore’s delight – a restaurant that focuses fairly exclusively on chicken and beef. This theme carries over into the art gallery’s name and the Damien Hirst installation (both are discussed below).
Restaurant: This is a meat lovers restaurant – though a few vegetarian plates exist. Whether you want a whole chicken to share or a generous steak portion (sizes up to 1kg – clearly to share!), the meat lover will be satisfied. A variety of sides and dessert choices are available as is a ‘calves’ (children’s) menu. The Mini-Mark bar serves drinks and bar food all day. The main restaurant is open Mon-Tues 11:30 – 11pm, Wed – Sat 11:30 – 12:30am, and Sun 11:30 – 10pm. Reservations available via their website.
Cock ‘n Bull Art Gallery: Located in the basement, this minimalist gallery displays a wide range of artists, from the established to the undiscovered, are given the opportunity to showcase their work with exhibitions changing frequently. Its purpose is driven by Mark Hix’s love for art, innovation and creativity, which is a vision shared by Rebecca Lidert, the Gallery Manager. The gallery aims to challenge conventions and give a fresh take on what a gallery should be. The artists that exhibit in the gallery are invited to take control of the space and use every surface available. Cock ‘n’ Bull also holds talks, discussions, dinners, poetry nights, workshops and more. See their website http://www.cocknbullgallery.com for more details. Open daily from 11am – 6:30pm.
Damien Hirst’s Installation & other ‘street’ art: To celebrate the opening of Tramshed, Damien Hirst was commissioned to create a new sculpture (picture at top of post). His installation features a Hereford cow and cockerel preserved in a steel and glass tank of formaldehyde. Titled ‘Cock and Bull’ (2012) it is suspended 4 metres above diners and forms part of his ‘Natural History’ series, Hirst’s seminal collection of preserved animals, which includes the well known piece ‘The physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living’ (aka ‘Shark in formaldehyde’). Given that the ‘Shark’ piece sold for £8 million a few years ago, this is a great opportunity to see a piece from the same series in person. In addition to this piece, on the mezzanine level is a depiction of the 1990s cartoon characters ‘Cow and Chicken’ (Cartoon Network) in the painting Beef and Chicken (2012).
Tramshed is on the Street Art London tour as it has pieces from some of London’s street artists both inside and outside the building. An Italian wall painter, RUN, graces our front door (only seen in the still of the night) and an Australian graffiti artist, Dscreet, famous for his depictions of owls, has swathed our side wall with one of those aforementioned owls. And hiding at the back in Mini-Mark’s bar, is another interpretation of the Cock & Bull theme by Tom ‘Inkfetish’ Blackford.
Located at: 32 Rivington St, London, EC2A 3LX and online at http://www.chickenandsteak.co.uk
Closest Tube: Old Street, then Shoreditch High Street (Overground) or Liverpool Street.