Well, I’m back in London and determined to tuck in to the many new restaurants that are popping up all over this city. Olympic fever has taken hold but in an odd turn of events the center of town feels really empty. Scared off by months of warnings by the city planners and transport authorities, tourists who might come for a weekend of theatre, sightseeing and shopping have stayed away. Businesses are complaining about the decline in their foot traffic, but I see this as an opportunity to perhaps get a table at that normally sought after restaurant.
Pitt Cue & Co. is just one of those spots. Another food truck turned established restaurant and more of the American style dining that seems to be taking over this city. The queues go on forever at MeatLiquor, another hotspot that has its origins in the massively popular American food truck category. However, its food didn’t impress me. I hoped that Pitt Cue, which serves good old fashioned BBQ, wouldn’t do the same.
It’s tucked away behind London’s famous pedestrian mall, Carnaby Street, near Oxford Circus. I was at the door waiting for it to open at noon as were other small groups….of men. All men! The promise of slabs of meat, and lots of it, seems to draw a very manly bunch. While Pitt Cue does offer some greens, that’s just not why you come here.
The menu is simple. Pulled pork, house sausage, pork ribs in addition to a couple of specials, North Devon beef brisket and Barnsley Lamb Chops. I sat at the thin bar that overlooks the cobblestone street outside while my waiter explained in great detail where each cut of meat originated on the beast. This is not the place for you if you don’t want to think about what you’re really eating.
I decided to try the pulled pork bun with slaw, sauce and pickles and with a side of alluring sounding macincini. These are golf ball sized mounds of macaroni and cheese with bacon, then breaded and deep fried. I couldn’t resist.
The macincini came first (along with my delightful can of A&W Root Beer) and I have to say I was a little disappointed. It sounded like such a good idea but their macaroni and cheese was a little bland. Perhaps the addition of breadcrumbs and frying just took too much away from the perfection that macaroni and cheese can be. I think they should use a sharper cheese and also maybe a smaller pasta shape to make this really work.
My pork bun was divine. They smoked the pork to perfection, the bun itself was fresh and, (eureka!) toasted on the grill, and the mandolin-thin pickles and slaw were terrific. My baked bean accompaniment was ok. They tasted sharply of vinegar, but I didn’t love how there was a variety of different kinds of beans in the mix. Perhaps it was my fault for ordering too many things that were dependent on a BBQ sauce. Still, I was very content.
£17 (service is included) got me in and out of Pitt Cue in about 45 minutes. Not terrible for a pretty solid taste of home when I need a fix.