When I excitedly exclaimed that I was planning my first trip to Pitt Cue Co. yesterday lunchtime, I was slightly put out by the general response – ‘I wouldn’t bother, you can’t book and you’ll never get a table’. Rather than giving up, my determined stomach ignored this warning, so I cut my losses and got there at 11.50am, ten minutes before opening time. When I arrived I found no queue, so smugly stood by the front door, shivering from the cold.
There can’t be many Londoners that haven’t heard of Pitt Cue Co. by now as it’s received a flurry of rave reviews over the past week. Having started life as a van parked under Hungerford Bridge, it’s fast becoming the only Southern US BBQ joint of its kind and calibre in London (Bodean’s better watch out…). Consisting of an upstairs bar that serves very reasonably priced cocktails, bourbon, beer and cider, the downstairs restaurant is dark and cramped, yet buzzing with the sound of satisfied customers.
The menu is simply divided into MEAT, SIDES, SPECIALS and EXTRAS, as well as the option for a BUN MEAL (meat in a bun). The MEAT ranges from Pulled Pork and Beef Brisket, to two types of ribs and the House Sausage. After reading about the famous St Louis Ribs, I’d made my decision long before I arrived at Pitt Cue Co., so ordering was easy.
Served in an unusual rectangular tin, the ribs were fabulously sticky from the sweet sauce and the meat fell from the bone with the greatest of ease, which was fortunate as after every mouthful I couldn’t wait to have another. All MEAT is served with a smokey hunk of BBQ’d bread and tasty House Pickles, which provide a refreshing crispness. My choice of SIDES was Burnt End Mash (buttery mashed potato with the tender ends of beef brisket on top), which was creamy, rich and a joy to eat.
Determined to get the full experience, we also ordered a couple of EXTRAS – Crispy Pickled Shiitake…
…and Smoked Hot Wings.
Although finger lickin’ good, the Hot Wings were a little over sauced for my liking, so I’m not sure I’d necessarily ordered them next time. Instead, the star of the SIDES had to be the Shiitake, which were crispy and satisfying, with a slight sweetness and a hint of spice.
When it came to dessert, there was a choice between bourbon sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel, and cheesecake served with a rhubarb compote, ginger and crunchy nut cornflakes. Feeling full, we decided to share the latter, which was presented similarly to the cheesecake I’d devoured in Duck Soup a few weeks ago. The cornflakes made a lighter alternative to the usual biscuit base and the sweet, tangy rhubarb cut through the cream cheese to produce a deliciously faultless dessert.
So, the big question is, did it live up to the hype? Well, I’m happy to say a big fat yes. The food is brilliant and the price is even better, costing just £55 for three hungry eaters. Meat lovers go when you get a chance, just be prepared to queue if you’re not able to get there early (some people have had to wait for well over an hour for a table).
Pitt Cue Co., 1 Newburgh Street, Soho, London W1F 7RB
LLE Rating: 9.5/10 (it loses half a point because you can’t reserve a table, but in a way, perhaps that stops it behaving like The Fat Duck and being fully booked for months on end)