Meeting a friend for an early dinner was a good excuse to try one of those no-bookings restaurants that I never get a chance to try only because I hate queuing for so long. Barbecue it would be at Pitt Cue Co. I’d tried their pulled pork back when they were just at a little mobile unit underneath Hungerford Bridge on the South Bank but this was going to be a first for me at their new restaurant off Carnaby Street. We got into the queue at about 17:40 (they open at 18:00) and ended up being the last couple to squeeze in downstairs for the first sitting. Their website claims that they had seating for 30 people but I counted 18 seats downstairs and another 6 or so upstairs – not sure how they counted 30!
Things moved fast down in the restaurant – you know they want you to eat and go. We ordered the Pork Ribs (£12) and Beef Brisket (£12) and went with Burnt end mash and Grilled Hispi Cabbage on the side. The pork ribs (three to an order) were large, tender and very meaty. My favourite though was the ridiculously tasty brisket with its border of soft fat. Extra barbecue sauce and a chunky hot sauce were available on all the tables but while we tasted both, we didn’t feel a need to add them to our already well-sauced meals.
The sides were also excellent. A bit of Google detective work tells us now that Hispi cabbage is just another name for the pointed, sweetheart cabbage and it was wonderful when grilled. The burnt end mash was also excellent as you imagine a rich, beefy gravy with barbecued burnt ends to be over mashed potatoes.
The extras had to be tried too – Crispy pickled shiitake (£3.50) and Smoked hot wings with pickled celery (£5). The panko crusted pickled shiitake mushrooms, while being the darling of almost every review of Pitt Cue Co, I found to be quite plain. The chicken wings, though, oh yeah.
The wings had been coated in the same hot sauce in the bottles on the table; we had found that that sauce didn’t pair wonderfully with meats covered in barbecue sauce but was absolutely terrific schmeared all over those smoked wings. Finger licking good.
The bill came to £21 each with root beers and I took away enough meat for another meal at home – so not a bad deal overall. I only wish the place was bigger! When we left, we had to squeeze our way out on the ground floor, packed with people at the bar, all waiting for a seat downstairs. The seats by the window here looked extremely uncomfortable with the waiting crowd pressing against you – I’d certainly try to get a table in the basement. Get in the queue early!
Pitt Cue Co
1 Newburgh Street
London W1F 7RB