As you may have noticed it is all about barbecue in the restaurant scene right now. London could very easily end up featuring in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives if we’re not careful. Anyone who’s in the know is going to be putting some serious junk in their trunk this winter. The junk food craze is no longer new, it has been kicking around in the UK for a couple of years now but it is fast food gone wild. Wild in the sense that the animals you’re eating did actually grow up in the wild. Gone are the days when you had to feel guilty for eating a burger or a chicken wing from some dodgy chain restaurant with highly negligible ethics. Now, you can head down the street to some trendy little place in your neighbourhood and chow down on some seriously high quality food with some serious integrity.
And this is where Pitt Cue Co steps in. What started as a food truck parked under Hungerford bridge has now metamorphosed into a not much bigger site in Soho. Open since January, it has been much celebrated since it’s arrival on the corner of Newburgh street. Head chef Tom Adams and co-founder Jamie Berger teamed up with the executive chef from Hawksmoor to create a place that has a clear sense of identity. It is all about the meat and the booze. Seems like a simple enough concept but you’d be amazed how many places get it wrong. But this can certainly not be said for Pitt Cue Co. With an admirably thoughtful and considered approach to sourcing their meat, they have strong relationships with their suppliers, who they visit regularly and even now have their own pigs, which one day, you might be lucky enough to be served up in their 24 seat dining room.
I was so enthusiastic to get to Pitt Cue Co that I walked past it; twice. In my defence, it was quite late at this point and I was on the verge of collapsing from hunger. As you walk into the tiny upstairs bar which has a few seats nestled behind the net curtains, you know you’re in for a good time. Bourbon, the other PCC obsession adorns the bar, each bottle proudly displayed like a well-earned trophy. Unfortunately, me being gluten free, I had to opt for a gin and tonic, which was fine by me, as they squeezed a lot of lime in it; just how I like it. When you set up a tab at the bar, instead of being given a number, you are given a cow, with a number on it and the nice man with the clipboard informed me that it was anatomically correct too. Phew! I was getting a bit worried for a minute there.
It wasn’t long before I was led down to the dining room. This is a very small space, I had read all the available information on it but it is still quite surprising when you actually get there. I think my handbag was bigger than the table. However, this all just adds to the fun. Who cares if you can hear your neighbours conversation, or if you gesticulate too wildly, you might get charged with assault? It’s all part of the vibe. You go to PCC for some dirty food fun. Once the lovely waitress informed me what I could and could not eat (damned Coeliac disease), I settled on the pork ribs with some salad and nduja mayonnaise. When my food arrived in its functional and oh so quirky enamel tray, I was not concerned about the fact that I couldn’t have the bbq glaze, this was meat that could stand alone.
I tucked into my flirty little salad first, it comprised cabbage, beetroot, pomegranate and chervil amongst other things. Now there are a couple of ingredients in that list which I usually find a bit mediocre but the combination was fantastic, it was a salad that made me momentarily forget that there were 3 massive pork ribs sitting uneaten on my tray. As I picked up one of the ribs, the bone fell out, always a good sign in my book. When I got stuck in, I was rewarded with a mouthful of meaty heaven, this really was smoky to the bone. God knows what kind of crazy antics they’re getting up to back there in that tiny kitchen but I know it involves a smoker and I know it involves a charcoal grill and I absolutely know that the end result is lip smackingly, finger stickingly,wide grinningly awesome. Now, I may have made some of those words up but I think they aptly tell the tale. Ribs that are tender and pink and succulent and oh so smoky will always get my vote.
There is not much more to tell you, this is a venue which serves a few dishes and a lot of bourbon. Pitt Cue Co does that simple thing, it sells great food which comes from great raw ingredients. But it also does something which is a lot harder to achieve, it does it with flair and pizazz and vision. And all this from a tiny venue with a head chef who is all but a child prodigy (not quite true, I think he’s 24). I can very easily see Tom Adams and Pitt Cue Co taking over a neighbourhood near you and possibly the universe. Watch this space…