A group of us headed to the new branch of the Big Easy in Covent Garden last Sunday night to try their barbecue, after hearing quite good things about it. We were led down to the basement when we replied in the positive to a question as to whether we’d like to be near the live band. It became clear to us that this place was huge and even on a Sunday night was packed with family groups, couples, friends. And each table was groaning with huge platters of food – seafood and barbecue. It’s loud, it’s bustling, it’s huge – it’s all quite American really.
Drinks first. A fresh watermelon juice (£3) was refreshing if, ironically, a bit on a small side. A friend’s watermelon juice with a shot of tequila was deemed nasty however.
We could see around us that portion sizes were huge and our waiter confirmed it, giving us the thumbs up when we decided to split a few things. The Grand Appetizer Platter For Two (£19.50) was split between four. Please forgive the horrendously blurry photo but I’m hoping it gives you an idea of the size of it!
There were Voodoo chicken wings (great), Pit-smoked Bar.B.Q. wings (alright), Hush puppies (excellent), Calamari (very good), Deep fried jumbo shrimp (pretty good). Nestled in the middle of it all was a token amount of dressed salad leaves – I actually did eat most of it, realising that this was the only bit of vegetal matter I’d be consuming that night. The platter is definitely a good deal but if only two people were to consume it, I’m not sure they’d have any space left for anything else!
For our main course, we again split two orders of the Bar.B.Q Blow Out (£15.95pp, minimum 2 people) between four. This gave us a generous portion of their Pit-Smoked Bar.B.Q Chicken, their Dry-Rubbed St Louis Pork Ribs, and their Carolina Pulled Pork. Their pulled pork was quite good – meaty and tender – and their ribs weren’t too bad either. I just wish there had been more of the rub on the latter – the accompanying gravy boat of barbecue sauce wasn’t entirely to my taste. It was fine, but just a bit to sweet and … sweet. The chicken was very moist and tender (at least my drumstick was) but again I found the sauce on the skin a bit on the sweet side – and yeah, to me pork > chicken.
Some sides were included: Pit smoked beans, the annoyingly named ‘Slaw, Potato salad, Cornbread, Barbecue sauce. The cornbread was pretty good, not too dry. The coleslaw and potato salad were both fine if a bit dull. The beans I thought were excellent, with a great smokey flavour.
On our way out, we noticed the bar for the first time and it’s quite a gorgeous one. Oh, and the band? Not bad! The food overall is a bit of a mixed bag. I might return to try the seafood but I suspect it’ll be a bit hit and miss too. It’s a good spot for groups though and its central location is certainly a plus.
12 Maiden Lane
London WC2E 7NA