It’s no secret that we love our BBQ here at Average Joes. But with so many joints in London – lots of which are a pretty good standard – it can be hard to stand out from the mass of pulled pork and brisket. But one BBQ restaurant which has always stood out from the crowd in the capital is The Blues Kitchen, and we headed down to their Shoreditch gaff to sample some slow cooked treats.
With restaurants in Camden, Shoreditch and Brixton, The Blues Kitchen is all about bringing the authentic taste and sounds of Southern USA to London. As such, alongside some of most tender and flavoursome meats you’ll find in the capital, you’re also treated some Rock n’ Roll, Soul or genuine Blues live music every single night.
First thing we should probably get out of the way is the food. And let’s make it clear, The Blues Kitchen smokers are producing some of the best Cajun barbeque we’ve had for a long time. Being full-blooded Joes – and as it was the special for the evening – we opted for the Rib Night (£10) which came with a St Louis Pork Rib and Short Beef Rib combo. Both were sweet, smoky and melt-in-your-mouth delicious – and we didn’t need dessert. Though, we did manage to fit it some Crab-filled Doughnuts for starters, which were original and packed flavour.
Our accompanying Jane had the Cheeseburger (£11.50), and that got an enthusiastic thumbs up too. For what it’s worth, we’ve found in the past that a BBQ restaurant can be solely judged on its Mac n’ Cheese (£4), and we’re pleased to report that was also up to the high standards set by the meats – creamy with some good added texture on the crust. The bar is also fully stocked with anything you’d need, including a gigantic bourbon and whiskey menu.
While plenty of places try and double up as a bar/diner, we’re not sure we’ve come across too many BBQ haunts where the two are so perfectly balanced. This is all down to the atmosphere created by the eclectic and rustic décor, the music and the incredibly friendly and helpful staff. From the moment we arrived into The Blue Kitchen, the waiters/bar staff were as friendly as they were knowledgeable.
The décor and the music are perfectly in-keeping with the vibe and they don’t at all detract from your eating experience. When it gets going, The Blues Kitchen is one of the best dancehalls in London we’ve attended – as well as one the best BBQ joints – and we’ll definitely be coming back to Blues Kitchen for some drinks and some late night Atlantic Soul!
To celebrate the long weekend and mark the final days of summer, Blues Kitchen Shoreditch are hosting the Bank Holiday Boogaloo Boil, a crawfish boil straight from the lantern-lit backyards of the American south. Joes will learn how crawfish is eaten the Louisianan way, before washing down endless steaming buckets of the stuff with ice cold beer.
The event is priced at £35, with tickets including bottomless crawfish, live music and complementary Bulleit Bourbon Punch. The boil will take place from 2-5pm with usual bank holiday celebrations continuing until 2.30am featuring live music from Old Dirty Brasstards and Atlantic Soul Orchestra.
The Blues Kitchen Shoreditch is open daily between Midday-Midnight most days, and until 2.30am/3am on Fridays/Saturdays so you can dance into the wee hours. For more details on the Bank Holiday Boogaloo Boil, head over to The Blues Kitchen Website.