Boxcar in a nutshell
A friendly butcher-cum-restaurant with a large butcher’s counter, deli and grill focussing on burgers, pies and steaks made with ethically reared meat sourced from small British farms.
What’s the vibe like?
Boxcar has got the laid back, stylish neighbourhood vibe spot on. Slick black tiled walls run through from the bench seating at the front to the large butcher’s counter where fresh cuts are prepared, right through to a pretty, plant-filled seating area at the back with a skylight. Sleek ceramics from Normann Copenhagen line the shelves on one side, while produce-packed fridges dominate the other, forming a deli/butcher area.
How does the menu work?
There are the usual starters, mains and puddings, with Boxcar Bites if you fancy popping in for a glass of wine and some snacks. On a Sunday, Boxcar offers a shorter menu, but adds on its Sunday roast special – 28-day-aged North Yorkshire Galloway sirloin steak with crisp roast potatoes, seasonal veg (carrot and swede mash, greens and parsnips on our visit), fluffy homemade Yorkshire puddings and a rich bone marrow gravy. There’s also charcoal-grilled steaks and 45-day-aged burgers (here are our top homemade burger recipes).
What should we order at Boxcar?
Our chargrilled sirloin heritage steak came with a choice of sauces. We opted for the mushroom butter – intense and full of umami, it added a new depth of flavour to the perfectly pink steak.
The hearty butcher’s board was a masterclass in British antipasti – little discs of ham hock terrine packed together with honey and wholegrain mustard, deep-fried lamb scrumpets (soft meat made from lamb shoulder), a runny scotch egg packed with sausage meat, slices of salt beef brisket, and a fragrant and creamy celeriac coleslaw with Bread Factory sourdough on the side.
Tenderstem broccoli side was verging on soggy rather than crunchy and tender, while the slices of fried garlic were not crisp enough. Opt for super-crisp rosemary fries instead.
What’s dessert like?
Traditional British puds are executed very well – homemade sticky toffee pudding with silky butterscotch sauce and a thick dollop of clotted cream was extremely comforting. We also had our eye on the treacle tart with salted caramel popcorn and popcorn ice cream but we were too full, so if you’re a pud fan, save some room.
Boxcar also has a great selection of Sussex farmhouse cheeses from Alsop & Walker, served with apple and grape chutney.
What are the drinks like at Boxcar?
There are nine cocktails to choose from, with themed names such as Miss Piggy (gin, Suze, ginger beer and lime) and Farm House (vodka, elderflower, basil and lemon juice). Craft beers from Wimbledon Brewery and Crate Brewery are available to grab from the fridges, and the wine list includes plenty of choice by the glass. We loved the soft and silky Guardia Rios from the Alentejo region of Portugal, with plenty of bright fruit flavours.
What else should we know?
Boxcar also acts as a butcher and deli to pick up British produce – Luscombe soft drinks from Devon, The Estate Dairy milk (the chocolate milk collab with Pump Street Bakery is heavenly), crumbly Sussex cheeses and plenty of sausages and bacon to make a full English at home. You can even take part in expert master classes with the butcher, so you can learn to chop your own steak for next time.
The casual neighbourhood vibe is perfectly fitting for a long, lazy breakfast. Pop in for bacon or sausage butties and stay for crumpets with smoked butter and braised short rib with Reads coffee roasted in Dorset.
Written by Alex Crossley