Thursday, March 26, 2015

Brooklyn Bowl, 4th March

I don’t think there is anywhere as corporate or as soulless as the O2 in Greenwich, and yes, I am even counting the two Westfields. So it seems a little weird that hipster mecca Brooklyn Bowl would pick this spot to open up. I can only assume they didn’t realise what reputation the place had. But anyway, they’re here, and I’ve fancied giving them a visit for a while, being as I went to the original one when I lived in Brooklyn.

I was invited there for a special occasion – the launch of their new Elvis-inspired menu, to coincide with the new Elvis exhibition at the O2. A little group of foodie bloggers were treated to a selection of tasters from the new menu, but also a taste of their regular menu as well. My dad is actually from the Souther states so I feel a bit of a charlatan admitting that I preferred the regular menu! But there are definitely some things on the Elvis menu worth singling out.
Taster of their normal menu - ruined by my photography
For me the highlights were most definitely the fried chicken, cheesy fries and peach cobbler. The chicken was so crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle (just like armadillos) – it was probably one of the best versions we’ve had. The cheesy, gravy chips were also great (as were the non-covered version we snacked on later). Gooey and savoury, the fries were light and crispy. And the peach cobbler – mmm, sweet and syrupy with doughy pastry. I wish I’d had more. Stephen had the pecan pie for his dessert bites and thought it was excellent.

Me and ground beef don’t really get on (hence not liking burgers) but I tried the meatloaf anyway and have to say, if you like that sort of thing, I reckon this was a good one – it had this really crunchy crumb coating on top that made it a bit spesh. I decided not to try the chilli with cornbread though and Stephen admitted this was not the best dish of the night. It looked quite dry.

I have to say, the biscuits and gravy didn’t do much for me, and I quite like biscuits, but this was perhaps the way they were served. If you order off the menu you’ll get a whole one with chicken gravy, not little bites drenched in it. If you don’t know, American biscuits are the starchy, fluffy kind, not the thin, sweet ones we have here and Brooklyn Bowl did get that right. People think they’re the US equivalent to scones but actually they’re not – you just have to try one to see how they’re different!

We had a really thick peanut butter milkshake to really hit home the Elvis theme, as well as grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches. The sandwich was good, though I thought it was overstuffed with banana and took some of mine out to even up the ratios. The milkshake was a bit odd – it tasted good but I didn’t really like the texture. Maybe it was just too warm by the time I tried it.

From the regular menu, we had chicken wings, ribs and dinky pulled pork sliders and I had to stop myself from going back for seconds and thirds. The food here is by the Blue Ribbon, the New York restaurateurs (I always meant to get to their bakery in Chelsea but never did) and so it should be a cut above your average bowling alley junk food. And it is, though places like Bloomsbury Bowl and All Star Lanes are probably equalling it in the food stakes. Overall it was good but I don’t think I’d make this place a destination for food alone - for this type of food I think other places are doing it better (hello Hotbox!). However, as a bowling alley, it is well worth checking out (especially if you’re actually any good at bowling. The less said about my performance, the better).
It wasn’t exactly busy, which is unsurprising given its location, and the fact it was a Wednesday. There were quite a few people bowling but not many people just using the tables to eat and drink. It’s a pretty swish operation, and seems to mimic the feel and ‘Americanness’ of the one in Brooklyn quite well. As in the States, they have their own gigs (which in the past have included Lauren Hill and Pharell Williams, though no such A listers in the near future). But even on a Wednesday they had a rock n roll band to bop to while you were bowling and they were really good! This is a bit of a hidden gem for bowling and I like the idea of it staying that way but it deserves to be busier so here you go – consider yourself in the know. I would love to see it when they have one of their top shows on, and the place is in full swing. Greenwich is lucky to have this on its doorstep. When matter (the club) closed down I didn’t think I’d have cause to visit the O2 again, but now perhaps I could be persuaded.

Square Meal

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.