After months of postponing, the day finally arrived for me to try the most famous American-style BBQ joint in London, Pitt Cue Co.
Opened in January by chef Tom Adams and his friend Jamie Berger, Pitt Cue has already reached cult status, for its fantastic meat as much as for its long queues. With only 30 covers and a no-reservation policy, it’s no surprise that it takes 1-2 hours on average to sit in the tiny Soho restaurant.
There are ways to beat the crowd: for dinner, arrive before their opening time at 6pm or alternatively get there after 9pm! Anything in between, and you will be spending a long time standing outside the door or inside at the bar.
I planned a foodie meet-up with three bloggers: Selina of Yummy Choo Eats, Katy of Feel Good Food Book and Laura of The Writing Type. In the queue on Newburgh Street, we also randomly met James and Louis of The Pizza Pilgrims, who entertained us during the 2-hour wait for a table!
The pilgrims introduced us to the Pickle Back, a two shot drink of bourbon and pickle brine. Sounds disgusting? Surprisingly it isn’t…thought it didn’t leave me longing for a second round either! :)
After the shots, I moved on to the beer: deciding against the “Whatever” draught beer, I ordered a Kernel pale ale.
Around 8pm we got seats by the window. Chatting and sharing food is not easy when you are sitting in a line facing a window, but then a table downstairs meant an even longer wait so we decided against it. Besides, it was the first warm and dry evening of the summer and I wouldn’t have liked sitting in the dark basement.
We ordered different meats to share: Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket, Pork Ribs – all served with house pickles and grilled sourdough bread. On the side, we ordered Burnt End Mash, Baked Beans, Chipotle Slaw and Deep-fried Shiitake Mushrooms.
Cooked for 12 hours, the melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork was unanimously voted the best dish, but everything else was also incredibly tender, juicy and perfectly grilled.
You will struggle to find a food critic or blogger that has not yet spoken about Pitt Cue Co. My favourite write-up is by Grade Dent, who managed to write an enthusiastic review while at the same time comparing Pitt Cue to a Venezuelan prison!
Her colourful descriptions and the promise of leaving the restaurant covered in BBQ sauce made me want to go there even more!
The average Pitt Cue diner when I visited was mid-twenties, male and part of a group deliciously lost in a carnivorous ‘Um, meat, drippy sauce, ribbbbbs, taste GUD!’-type man trance […] I ate my sausage in a sweet brioche bun with a side of bone-marrow mash and Cajun slaw, washed down with a woozy-making ‘hard lemonade’, while sitting crammed into an alcove with my head inches from a brick wall and one elbow in the pulled pork of a male stranger. [Grace Dent for ES Magazine]
For a top review of the meat, then head over to Burger Anarchy: these guys know all about BBQ meat, having recently been to one of the world’s best, Franklin’s in Texas (you can see a blurred Franklin’s T-shirt in the “Whatever” photo above!).
Despite the sense of Americana that the array of bourbon, PBR, and boilermakers might imbue, Pitt Cue isn’t really American. […] If anything, it’s the Downton Abbey of BBQ – all the same ridiculous drama of Dallas, but anglicised and refined. Smoke and meat are the stars here, not sugar and gloopy sauces. [Simon & Rob for Burger Anarchy]
At the end, I still had some space to try the yummy Snickers Mess: a gooey feast of vanilla ice cream, meringue, chocolate, salted caramel, peanuts and a big putty-like brownie base [Adam Layton for Noshable].
Pitt Cue Co. was already a sensation last summer when selling ribs from a trailer pitched on the Southbank and is coming back on the wheels from June 8th, so don’t miss it!