pitt cue co.
I have long lamented the absence of proper down-and-dirty barbecue in London. Sure, Bodeans is adequate for a quick meat fix and Barbecoa features a handful of Texas ‘Cue items on their menu, but both lack the gutsiness and authenticity of a real American smokehouse. So thank God that Pitt Cue Co. has swooped in to fill that void. Originally a food truck pitched at Southbank last summer, its popularity has led to a permanent home off Carnaby Street – a tiny yet perfectly formed lace-curtained corner spot.
The bar upstairs serves beers, cocktails and their legendary Picklebacks (a shot of bourbon with a chaser of house pickle brine and pork scratching) while the downstairs area snuggly sits thirty for eats. Knowing space was limited SB, C, S and I arranged to meet just before noon and were first in line, nabbing ourselves a cosy nook under the stairs. We were hungry, and with the tempting aromas wafting from the kitchen it was inevitable that we ordered the entire menu: Brisket, St Louis Ribs, Beef Ribs and Pulled Pork with sides of Baked Beans, Braised Sprout Tops, Vinegar Slaw and Burnt End Mash, plus the day’s special of Giant Sausage, some Smoked Hot Wings, a pot of Crispy Pickled Shitake and the Pitt Cue Pickle Jar.
Of all the regular items the Pulled Pork shined the most – moist porcine shreds bathed in house BBQ sauce and packed with flavour. I imagine it would be pretty special piled on a bun. Both sets of ribs were good too – St Louis (pork) ribs were succulent and tasty, while the Beef Ribs although tougher were meaty and satisfyingly smoky. We were most underwhelmed by the Brisket which was on the dry side and less punchy on the taste buds. My all-out favourite were the thick slices of garlicky smoke-infused goodness that was the Sausage special, shown above* with a side of burnt end mash (a genius use of leftover grilled bits).
I love wings and PCC’s Smoked Hot Wings sounded like my idea of heaven. Sadly they weren’t as juicy as hoped and disappointingly tame, with hardly any heat to them. Apparently there are secret off-menu “suicide” wings – I’ll need to try those next time.
The various slaws and pickles offered much needed acidity and respite from our meat-heavy lunch, although I did yearn for a slaw of the creamy variety. The Pitt Cue Pickle Jar (above) boasted a sprightly mix of kohlrabi, shitake, fennel, red onion and celery and the knockout Crispy Pickled Shitake (the small pot on the left, behind the toothpicks and pickle jar) were breaded deep-fried morsels of sweet-sour deliciousness.
Desserts aren’t listed on the menu but there’s usually a couple of puds available daily. Spongy caramelly Sticky Toffee Pudding served with Bourbon ice cream and toasted pudding crumbs was a hit with the whole table and polished off quickly. The lighter Rhubarb Eton Mess was nice too.
Another great addition to Soho and undisputedly the best barbecue to be had this side of the pond. Get there early (be it lunch or dinner) to snag a seat at the bijoux joint for fab, reasonably-priced food and a great atmosphere.
P.S. I toted home three tupperwares-worth of meat and pickles for B – it tasted just as good reheated (in a moderate oven for 10-15 minutes, wrapped in foil with a few ice cubes).
* all photos on the post were graciously supplied by the lovely Charmaine (I stupidly left my camera at home).
Pitt Cue Co.
1 Newburgh St, Soho
London W1F 7RB