Proper BBQ is something that London has thought it has, but really hasn’t, for some time. We used to have proper BBQ once. Bubba’s Arkansas BBQ Pit in old Spittalfields was a proper down and dirty BBQ which resided in the corner until 2007, next to The Spitz. This was pre-sanitisation of Spittalifields, before they removed Bubba’s and the lovely pub and music venue next door.
Then arrives Tom, a young ambitious chap with a huge affection for BBQ and the passion to start his own food truck. Based on his experiences travelling through the US looking for the best BBQ, and recipes and ideas he has gathered, the truck was a huge success. The day I visited I had sausage with kimchee and a pickle back (more on that later). They were so popular that day, and every other day, that everything else had sold out before I arrived. I intended to go back but failed, but was advised not to worry, that they would be back soon and in a permanent location. Yeehaw!
Pitt Cue Co has since arrived in Soho, just a few weeks ago. Petit and busy, the food served here is proper BBQ and I think my friend will be very pleased. Some bits are quite cheffy like smooth Robuchon-esque mash but with burnt ends from the BBQ on top (really delicious), and the brisket is served super tender in polished nuggets gleaming with sauce.
BBQ fiends, don’t be put off by the cheffy touches though, this is proper BBQ. The ribs are the thing here, big hunks of St Louis pork ribs (my favourite) and beef ribs both served with a side of your choice and bread, and all for under £10. The smoked chicken wings are divine, I ordered a second portion the first time I went, and they were the first thing I ordered when I went back. There are specials too.
Another must, although I fear they are being over-hyped, are the deep fried pickled shiitakes. Frickles, as they are often known in the US, or deep fried pickles, are so delicious, the vinegary pickle somehow fights the intensity of the deep fryer resulting in light bright deep fried pickles that are great with the rich meat. Jars of house pickles are very good too.
Desserts are fun and very good. Sticky toffee pudding with bourbon salted caramel may spark a fight with a friend should you try to share it. Pickle backs are essential: a shot of smooth bourbon followed by gentle soothing brine. These are hugely popular in the US, especially with the student population as the brine makes sure you stay hydrated as you top yourself up all night with bourbon.
Cocktails are very reasonable, I loved the whisky, New York and cider sours (I like a sour, I do), all£6 each, which for London is a bit of a steal.
So that’s that. You want to go, don’t you? I bet you do. The only trouble is everyone else does too. My suggestion if you don’t want to queue too long is get there early and in small numbers or pop over for a take away pulled pork bun at lunchtime or in the afternoon.
Pitt Cue Co, 1 Newburgh St Soho, no reservations (and just 30 seats)
(On my second trip I ate with Dan of Essex Eating who has written about it also on his blog)