Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pitt Cue Co., 9th August

I’m going to dispense with suspense here and just start off by saying I now love Pitt Cue Co with abandon. Once again Stephen and I either timed it perfectly, or benefitted from the Olympic effect (or both), but we managed to avoid having to queue for ages to get in. We turned up before it opened and so popped next door for a drink. When we went back at about 6:10, there was a small line, but they were only just letting people in and we weren’t waiting for very long. We sat upstairs at a bar, which was probably the best place to sit, apart from outside which was already taken. It had been a seasonably hot day and sitting downstairs away from windows in their overly intimate seating arrangements may have been slightly unpleasant.

Pitt Cue Co. don’t give anything away on their website, but I follow them on twitter, and had been to their van at the Hungerford Bridge so I knew roughly what to expect. In their sit-down place you can choose pulled pork, house sausage, pork ribs, or beef ribs, which come with a choice of side. There were two specials – chicken fried rib-eye (thinly cut ribeye shallow fried in a breadcrumb batter) or a saddleback pork chop. I was tempted by the pork chop having seen pictures of the beautiful meat, but felt like I should try the basics first. We did our usual – one of us went for beef ribs and the other went for the pork. We chose baked beans and bone marrow mash for our sides.

While we waited for the food to arrive (which did take some time) we sipped on some drinks. There’s a good choice of beers and cocktails, but no wine. Oh dear, guess I’ll just have to have cocktails! I had a couple of whisky sours which were really well balanced – not too strong and not too sour. At £7 they were also a reasonable price for cocktails in this fair city.

Whisky sour

Finally, our food arrived in those ubiquitous Falcon enamelware dishes with the blue rim – not really plates, more like roasting trays. I must admit, both Stephen and I expected to be underwhelmed. We’d been to the Pitt Cue truck and didn’t really get what all the fuss was about. The pulled pork was nice but wouldn’t have me queuing round the block, and I had been disappointed with my brisket, expecting (I don’t know why) to get slices of it like you do at Fette Sau in NY, rather than a brisket version of pulled pork. You might be wondering why we bothered with them again then, but I had been seeing on twitter that the menu at Newburgh Street was more extensive, and I was curious. They had some fabulous sounding desserts as well. As you will have guessed from the opening sentence, I am glad we did.

Beef ribs and beans
I don’t like it when people say something was ‘a revelation’ when it comes to food, so I shall use my own terminology to describe the bone marrow mash: Wow. Just Wow. It comes close to the oh-so-buttery mash I had at the Bull and Last for being the most delicious, most sinful mashed potato I’ve ever tasted. I’ve never had bone marrow before, so choosing this was a bit of a risk, but that risk was well rewarded. The bone marrow on top had been cooked to provide a savoury, but rich-enough-to-seem-slightly-sweet jus. Delicious.

The baked beans, which I had not been impressed with at the van, had improved ten-fold. They had a great flavour and a soft texture which I prefer to a bit of bite.

But the main stars were the ribs. Where Duke’s were smoky but on the tough side, and Red Dog’s were tender but not smoky enough, Pitt Cue have got it completely right. The flesh was beautifully pink on both sets of meat, tasted like BBQ should, and fell away from the bone all too easily. My only slight gripe is that I found the pork ribs to be a bit fatty for me sometimes. A mere trifle. The ribs here (both priced at £12.50 and as mentioned above, includes the side dish) are also cheaper than either Duke's or Red Dog. I guess this is where you feel the benefit of a no reservation policy.

Pork ribs and mash
The ribs are saucy enough without addding either the BBQ sauce or hot sauce. However, these are both good too. The BBQ sauce has more than a kick to it, and the Hot Sauce, (jalapeno-based I believe) was nice too – more of a relish than a sauce as it was quite chunky. The only thing I didn’t like, in fact, which will come as a shock to anyone who knows me. was the bread! Mine was rock hard and, I thought, needless – there wasn’t anything to soak up with it by the time I was finished!

The only other minor disappointment was that the dessert they had was a lemon tart. It sounded good, but not as good as the Snickers mess they were serving when they first opened. Even then, we might have had one, if we hadn’t spent the last two days eating our own homemade lemon meringue cupcakes. We were lemoned out.

The atmosphere, at least upstairs, was good. They have a great soundtrack to munch to and when James Brown’s I Feel Good came over the stereo, Stephen pointed out that the song was very appropriate, given the effect the food had on our moods. 

We’ve already decided to go back soon - very soon – at the end of August in fact, in case they feel like putting that Snickers dessert back on the menu at any time (hint hint). I’m even prepared to queue if we have to.

Pitt Cue Co on Urbanspoon

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