Black Axe Mangal is arguably part-restaurant, part-tattooed lifestyle choice - and it's eponymous cookbook might just be the gateway to all your wildest culinary dreams.

Run by Lee Tiernan - former head chef at the prestigious St. JOHN restaurant, which is the work of Fergus Henderson (who has written the book's foreword) and Trevor Gulliver - and his wife Kate, BAM, as it's known, combines a certain rowdiness with some quite formidable cooking.

And you can now join the bone marrow eating mob...

The book: Black Axe Mangal by Lee Tiernan

Who will love it? Anyone who likes food with punch; who isn't afraid of eating the weirder bits of animals (offal, squid ink, blood, etc.); who adores big platefuls and raucous flavour combinations, as well as those who frequent the restaurant and rather fancy taking a bit home with them, and those who are unlikely to ever get to the restaurant, but could do with a slice of the BAM life anyway.

What is it trying to get us cooking? Hugely fun dishes to wrap your tongue around. Tiernan's food is audacious, gutsy and pretty meaty. He's big on throwing stuff into the flames and adding layer upon layer of flavour - the concept of 'that's enough' does not seem to apply. There are moments of nostalgia (like takes on a Findus Crispy Pancake, and a Big Mac 2.0) and sophistication (Beef Tartare With Prawn Toast; Pigeon With Blackened Onions), as well as a serious respect for grilling (there are pages and pages on what to fold into flatbread - from lamb offal to aubergine and ricotta). It's certainly not delicate, but it is wanton, in all the best ways - and super sweary.

How easy is it to use? Admittedly, some of the recipes are very involved and require a hefty list of ingredients, however, instructions are clear (four pages are dedicated to how you butcher a hare), to the point, and tell you what corners you can cut. And there are some that are barely recipes at all (e.g. Caviar And Sour Cream And Chive Crisps - aka caviar from a tin and a tube of Pringles). It's a question of how far you want to push yourself.

The best recipe is... Crispy F****n' Rabbit or the Oxtail, Bone Marrow And Anchovy - the former being a a super crisp, deep-fried wedge of rabbit meat, and the latter being an ode to the nose-to-tail ways of St. JOHN.

The recipe we're most likely to post pictures of on Instagram is... Shrimp-encrusted Pig's Tails With Pickled Chicory - they're just so curly!

The dish we're least likely to try is... Gull's Egg, Caviar And Sea Urchin - because who would have even one of these in their fridge? Or the Peanut And Foie Gras Bar - foie gras ice cream just sounds like far too much effort, however decadent the result may be.

Overall rating: 8/10 - it's loud, bold, brazen cooking - and the photography is spectacular. Buy, buy, buy and feel like part of the BAM club - it's basically a food cult.

How to make Black Axe Mangal's deep-fried mince pie...


(Serves 8)

375g shop-bought puff pastry

320g mince pie filling

1 egg, beaten

200g plain flour

350ml sparkling water

100ml neutral oil (e.g sunflower or vegetable)

10g salt

Sunflower or vegetable oil, for deep frying

To serve:

Icing sugar

Clotted cream or ice cream

Zest of 1 orange


1. Roll out the pastry on a chopping board and cut it into eight equal rectangles. Spoon an eighth of the mince pie filling onto half of one of the puff pastry rectangles. Brush the outer edge of the pastry with the beaten egg. Fold over the vacant edge. Press down the two sides and crimp along the edge with a fork. Repeat with the other seven pies. Place the pies on a tray, cover and place in the freezer until completely frozen.

2. Next, make the slurry. Add the flour, sparkling water, oil and salt to a food processor (or the cup of a hand-held blender) and blend everything together. Once fully combined, pour into a bowl.

3. Preheat the oven to 110C/225F/Gas Mark 1/4. Heat the oil in the deep-fat fryer to 160C/325F.

4. Retrieve a pie from the freezer, dunk it in the slurry and gently lay it in the deep-fat fryer. I can get two pies in my fryer at home. Cook for seven to eight minutes, until golden brown and crisp. When cooked, drain on kitchen paper. Transfer the fried pies to a roasting pan fitted with a wire rack and place in the oven while you repeat the process with the remaining pies.

5. Dust with icing sugar and serve with clotted cream or ice cream and the zest of an orange.

Black Axe Mangal by Lee Tiernan is published by Phaidon, priced £24.95. Photography Jason Lowe. Available now.