Hoedown. Meat-up. Shoreditch has a new southern States restaurant and late night music spot, The Blues Kitchen. The spacious, saloon-style spot serves up filling Texan bbqs: piles of choice and your choice piled high. The menu is big burgers, chilli baskets and ribs of such Jurassic proportions you’ll be hanging out before long, hell yeah, out of your trousers.
Open daily for brunch, lunch and dinner, it’s the creation of “three-time British barbecue champion” John Hargate of Brighton-based BBQ Shack, and head chef Klodian Drici formerly of Bodean’s. All the meat is organic and smoked in-house for up to 16 hours. And if you don’t do red meat, there are live lobsters from Scotland, too.
Our chicken wing starters were a touch vinegary and more lip-burny than finger-licking, but the butterfly prawns were nice enough. We skipped the alligator. A main of burnt ends was tasty – tender beef chunks braised in beer – with a Dr Pepper sauce. Sides of onion rings and slaw were underwhelming, but filling. Service had a relaxed roadside ease, and was notably excellent, as was the range of beers, including the Hawaiian Longboard, the Brooklyn – made there since 1984 – and Vedett, all served in chilled tankards.
The interior is the sort of run down chic we’ve all learnt to expect from new openings – partially tiled walls, faded murals, driftwood tabletops, exposed pipework. The building – formerly Bar Music Hall – has been renovated by the Columbo Group, who also did Paradise By Way of Kensal Green, XOYO and most recently The Cat & Mutton on Broadway Market.
Booth seating caters well for groups, and for up to 25 you can reserve a vintage Airstream caravan, which looked fun.
Location counts for a lot here. The trendy Shoreditch address gives The Blues Kitchen a cache it may not otherwise warrant. But it does what it sets out to do, provide lots of American food. And once you’re tanked up, dance it all off with music every night from live acts and DJs. Go hungry y’all.
by Vicky Paterson
The Blues Kitchen, 134-146 Curtain Road London
Tel: 020 7387 5277
Closes Monday–Wednesday midnight, Thursday 01.00, Friday and Saturday 03.00, Sunday 22.30