As part of my BBQ hunt around London for The Independent I dropped into Shoreditch's Blues Kitchen — aka the heart of London's Texan blues and BBQ scene. I haven't been in since the launch party at which the only thing I remember from the launch party was having to order a plate of chips because I was so hungry and all the canapes were very meaty. Warning: this place is very meaty. Not as much so as Barbecoa — there definitely are some great veggie options on the menu here — but meat is definitely the focus.
We cycled down early one Saturday evening and there was already a queue outside. The thing with Blues Kitchen is that it's definitely more of a 'place to hangout' than just a restaurant per se. It has good drinks, good casual vibes and great live Blues. That said we were all about the food. We were seated in our booth in the dining half of the room, with our neighbours comprised of smoochy couples and big, rowdy groups of youths — an interesting mix. With beers ordered, we looked over the menu; the giant menu which was divided in to Mains, Burgers & Sandwiches, Barbecue, Salads and On The Side. I tossed up between the seafood jambalaya and the lobster before deciding given the success of Big Easy, I couldn't resist the latter, which came with fries (yum) and salad (needed). Ed got the bacon cheeseburger, which along with a mighty stack of fillings came with fries and slaw on the side. In keeping with our BBQ eating out habits, we felt obliged to get BBQ beans on the side.
We had to clear aside condiments, cutlery, empty drinks etc to make room for the massive portions. And I mean massive portions — nowhere near as big as as Big Easy, but certainly bigger than Barbecoa and Pitt Cue. My lobster was lush: fresh, meaty and as a novelty as ever. The skinny, salty fries were perfect and polished off in no time, along with the sprig of balsamic-dressed greenery. Ed's burger was tall. In between two soft buns was 7oz of juicy ground brisket, crispy bacon, melted cheese, lettuce, sliced tomato, red onion, zingy pickle and mustard. The slaw — I love slaw — I stole most of, and the BBQ beans had meat in so he ate those instead.
Though full we came to the joint conclusion it would be silly to come to an American-themed place without trying an American-themed dessert so we indulged in a very large, very chocolatey, very OTT toffee sauce ice cream sundae. The quarter of it that we managed to squeeze in between us was absolutely disgustingly decadently delicious. And probably about three times our calorie limit for the week. But who cares? I'd go back just for that. But next time will be sure to time it better (later) so we get to hear the sweet Blues everyone told us about.
Blues Kitchen, 136-146 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3AR; 020 7729 7216.