Lady at Pitt Cue

There’s a new restaurant in town. Everybody’s talking about it. Some people are lining up in the snow for an hour just to try it. It’s called Pitt Cue, and it’s a restaurant in London that serves what just might be the best BBQ outside of the American south.

Menu at Pitt Cue restaurant in London England

I had a chance to try Pitt Cue on Friday. I went for a lunch meeting, and although London was covered in snow and I showed up five minutes before the restaurant opened, there was already a line out the door. Thankfully the others in my party had arrived even earlier and were first in the queue.

Smoked hot wings at Pitt Cue restaurant in London England

When the restaurant opened, we were shown downstairs to the dining room. It was a tiny square of a space with room for 30 if people got friendly. It was a bit dark and depressing, and I hoped the food would make up for the dim ambiance. It would have been nice to have the option of eating upstairs in the small bar that was empty when we arrived but packed by the time we left.

Menu at Pitt Cue restaurant in London England

Our hostess showed us to a rustic wooden table and handed us neon pink paper menus. The options were basic: pick a meat, choose a side, and decide if you want any extras. We ordered St Louis ribs, beef brisket, chipotle slaw, burnt end mash, and a salad with ham hock, beets, and pickles. We couldn’t resist adding in portions of crispy pickled shiitake mushrooms and smoked hot wings for good measure.

Brisket and chipotle slaw at Pitt Cue restaurant in London England

The meal was a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds. The food was served in rustic metal trays and simple glass jars that belied the rich complexity of flavors they held. My brisket was tender if a bit dry, and every mouthful seemed to reveal yet another layer of sweet or tangy taste. It was a decent take on American BBQ.

St Louis ribs and burnt end mash for lunch at Pitt Cue restaurant in Soho London

The sides were the real winners. My chipotle slaw was a riot of onions, peanuts, carrots, and cilantro. There was a great balance of flavors in it. That’s to say nothing of the ham hock salad, in which the salty ham, sweet pickles, and layers of leaves and crunch combined to perfection. The mashed potatoes were smooth and creamy, and the burnt ends added a nice bit of extra richness.

St Louis ribs and ham hock salad for lunch at Pitt Cue restaurant in London

The extras were moreish, with the pickled shiitake mushrooms being the winner of the meal. The deep fried slices were packed with flavor, and the juxtaposition of the crispy outside and soft inside was just right. The wings were smothered in a tangy sauce that wasn’t spicy but had enough zest to make us keep reaching for more.

Crispy pickled shiitake mushrooms for lunch at Pitt Cue restaurant in London England

At the end of the meal we couldn’t resist trying one of the two desserts on offer. While the sticky toffee pudding sounded tempting, the cheesecake won me over. It wasn’t just any cheesecake, though. It came in a small glass jar and was more of a cheesecake-flavored cream than a dense piece of cake. Beneath it were layers of rhubarb, biscuits, and cornflakes. I liked everything about it except for the cornflakes, which were too crunchy and seemed superfluous at best and gimmicky at worst.

Cheesecake for dessert at Pitt Cue restaurant in London England

After dessert we fought our way through the packed upstairs bar to the exit, and I was glad to get out into the fresh winter air. My meal at Pitt Cue restaurant had been a good one, but I was going to need a long time to digest it before I would be hungry again. That said, the line out the door was so long that if I had gone to the end of it, I might have been ready to eat again by the time I got back inside.

18 Comments on Lady at Pitt Cue

  1. Kyle
    February 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm (2 years ago)

    The best barbecue in London is Barbecoa, the new restaurant at One New Change by Jamie Oliver and Adam Perry Lang. Adam is the owner and chef of the legendary New York barbecue restaurant Daisy May’s, which has won numerous awards for best BBQ both in NYC and nationally. Daisy May’s is an institution yet he has moved his entire family to London to oversee Barbecoa.

    You should check Barbecoa out. It has the only Texas smoker in the UK and each time I’ve been there, Adam has been in the kitchen himself.

    One New Change is also a wonderful new building, with stunning views of St Paul’s while you eat, and the roof has a champagne bar with amazing views of London.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      February 13, 2012 at 5:29 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks for the tip, Kyle! I haven’t heard great things about Barbecoa, but I will have to check it out now that you’ve recommended it.

      Reply
  2. The World of Deej
    February 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm (2 years ago)

    Living in the American south, it’s hard to imagine good BBQ in London. Sounds like they pulled it off though:)

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      February 13, 2012 at 5:30 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Deej! They’re doing their best, but nothing beats good southern BBQ in the USA!

      Reply
  3. Andi
    February 14, 2012 at 12:11 am (2 years ago)

    This is the cuisine where I live, expect I refuse to eat it haha. So funny that people are lining up for it. :)

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      February 14, 2012 at 11:24 am (2 years ago)

      That is funny, Andi! BBQ is really popular over here in London!

      Reply
  4. Tori
    February 14, 2012 at 11:23 am (2 years ago)

    We popped past at 12.15 on Saturday and there was already a wait for 45 minutes. Next time we’ll be quicker. There’s nothing The Hungry One loves more than a full rack of ribs….

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      February 14, 2012 at 11:25 am (2 years ago)

      That’s too bad there was such a long wait, Tori! I hope you manage to get a table next time. It’s definitely worth it!

      Reply
  5. Andrew W
    February 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm (2 years ago)

    Totally concur about Barbecoa! Pitt Cue is a noble attempt at American BBQ by a Brit using makeshift cooking equipment. Barbecoa is top American BBQ by an actual American BBQ master using all authentic equipment. Adam Perry Lang is a BBQ legend in the States and Barbecoa uses only fire with no ovens anywhere in sight. All their meat is top quality free range and you can taste the difference. Make sure you get a reservation though – the place is always packed to capacity. Last time I was there, they had even set up tables in the hallway to accommodate all the diners!

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      February 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Andrew! Wow, thanks for all of that additional information. I will definitely have to try Barbecoa and compare the two!

      Reply
  6. Karen
    February 25, 2012 at 6:08 pm (2 years ago)

    Comparing Pitt Cue to Barbecoa is like comparing McDonald’s to In-N-Out! If Adam Perry Lang is now in your own backyard of London, how could you seriously even consider slumming it at Pitt Cue!?!

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      February 26, 2012 at 10:29 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks Karen. It seems like there are some strong feelings about Barbecoa. I’m really surprised that until now I’ve only heard good things about Pitt Cue and bad things about Barbecoa. I can’t wait to try the latter!

      Reply
  7. Scott
    February 26, 2012 at 10:47 am (2 years ago)

    I sense the beginning of the London BBQ wars!

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      February 27, 2012 at 8:16 am (2 years ago)

      I agree, Scott! This will be interesting!

      Reply
  8. The London Foodie
    February 27, 2012 at 10:57 am (2 years ago)

    Comparing Pitt Cue to Barbecoa is somewhat futile as they serve very different purposes.

    Pitt Cue is a consumer level establishment for local Soho office workers and tourists who are intrigued by American-style BBQ.

    Barbecoa is an upscale establishment and destination venue with an artisan approach to cooking meat.

    Two different concepts: hipster Soho crowd and artisan high-end City crowd.

    No point comparing the two as the scene and food are so different.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      February 27, 2012 at 3:15 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks for the insight, London Foodie! You make a very good point.

      Reply
  9. yolanda evans
    March 1, 2012 at 12:24 am (2 years ago)

    I went there while I was in London and it was ok. But no one does it better the the south. I swear they are missing some flavor

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      March 1, 2012 at 7:52 am (2 years ago)

      I agree, Yolanda! Authentic BBQ from the American south is hard to beat!

      Reply

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