Monday, 26 November 2012

Pitt Cue Co: Still a BBQ Champion

This post is almost redundant as Pitt Cue is not new, has a million and one reviews and is widely accepted as one of the best BBQ places in town (not a huge amount of quality competition to be fair). So why the post? Well, I've been a fan of Pitt Cue since the days under Hungerford Bridge and visited it numerous times the first few months after it opened. Due to work finishing times and busy weekends, I hadn't been back for quite a while and so thought a view as to how it is settling down may be in order.

Pitt Cue has navigated all the major issues of a new-opener. Waiting list system is locked-down, bar service upstairs is slick and the turnaround of punters is kept fairly quick as to facilitate maximum face stuffing by the number of London's carnivores. The buzz has died but the loyal and curious still flock to the doors. It has become a favourite, a staple, a solid choice; rather than 'that place you have to try near Carnaby street that has that huge queue'. The menu is becoming more adventurous and the guys behind the scenes are having a ball rearing their own piggies just for the joint. The quality of the food remains incredibly high.
Pitt Cue - Sunday 11:55am: The queuing begins

So on a very wet Saturday afternoon, the Better Half and I wondered down to the Giant Plug in The Wall and took a seat downstairs. My only small gripe was that we had to wait 30mins for our food (we were told the pork loin chop took 15 minutes to grill) while everyone else around was served. It normally wouldn't have bothered me but I had skipped breakfast and the smell of our very close neighbour's ribs was frankly torture.

To start we grabbed some blistered peppers as those who read this blog far too carefully will remember are one of my BH's favourite things. These were as tasty as always, although could have done with a sprinkling of salt which isn't available on the already pretty tight tables.
Blistered peppers

The menu always has the regular ribs, pulled pork etc but the specials are where the loyals go for some real meaty-porn. This weekend they had 5 hour smoked aged rib of beef and a grilled Tamworth pork loin. BH went for piggy, I went for cow. With a side order of piggy (dont judge me).

The first thing that always hits you at Pitt Cue is the smell from the trays. It's sweet and sticky and hits you with an overwhelming desire to eat everything in sight. Taking the first bite is the closest thing I can get to an almost full body shut down. I think the fact it is simply BBQ meat has something to do with it, but the quality of what's on offer and how well it has been cooked is another. My eyes close, I pull a Greg Wallace face and keep the fork in my mouth for what seems like an eternity. True meaty Nirvana. Heaven really is smoked BBQ meat.

The beef itself wasn't the most tender rib I have ever had, and the top half was significantly more cooked than the half closer to the bone, leaving it a little dry. However, I am not exactly averse to chewing, and a dribble of BBQ sauce provided fixed it up no worries. The pulled pork could do with a little more sauce/liquor being poured into the tray it is pulled in, but overall the flavour is there in shovel loads. Heavy, creamy strands of pork, again covered in their amazing BBQ sauce, the pickles cutting through the richness. I've clearly been a very good boy this year.
Smoked Aged Rib of Beef, Pulled Pork, side of Rib Cap Beans

The pork was super tender, served medium rare i.e. with a light blush still in his rosy little cheeks (read: loins). The bone is served for more effect as they had done such a good job carving there wasn't a morsel left on it to chew (shame). It came with apple sauce which was amazing, not overly sweet and cloying like some, with a little sharpness to bring out the natural sweetness of the meat. Only comment  by the BH was that there could have been a little more of it.
Tunworth Pork Loin Chop, Side of Bone Marrow Mash.

Meals come with a choice of sides. We shared rib cap beans and bone marrow mash. In all honestly all the sides are excellent and the mash always gets praise for its OTT creaminess and braising liquor added on top. However, for me the beans were something new and extraordinary. So heavy on flavour, so deep and unctuous. I have never had beans like this before, Boston baked beans don't even come close. I would think there has been some black treacle in there at some point, but it's the liquor again that is added and worked through that brings home the massive meaty notes. I hope this is kept on menu right until the temperature hits 25 degrees again.

In summary, Pitt Cue is already everyone's favourite BBQ joint in London. Still inaccessible at anything resembling normal eating hours and still frustratingly small. Surely you guys have made enough money by now to open somewhere bigger? Hell, I'll give you a significant chunk of my savings to open somewhere else (as long as you chuck in a standing reservation). The chefs' cooking is still top of the pile quality-wise, and it doesn't look like that will change anytime soon with more adventurous options flowing through the menu including sharing platters.

It's a simple review really. If you like BBQ, you simply have to go, end of story. Get a train, camp outside and eat EVERYTHING. Plus, its cheaper than flying to America.

How much: a big meal for two with a few drinks can easily get to £50. Seems like a false economy but my god I'd give them my arm if they said they needed it to stay open.

Where: 1 Newburgh Street, W1F 7RB. Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus. No reservations because, well, it's tiny.

Food: 9/10
Service: 7/10 - bit unfair, they are all really lovely
Drink: 8/10 - great cocktails and 'original' Pickleback (may be wrong on that?)
Value: 9/10
Overall: 9/10 on the BBQ scale.

No comments:

Post a Comment