Since our beloved neighbours (read crappy café downstairs) started having ‘jazz’ nights on a Saturday the other half and I have been wandering around central London discovering new places to eat. After being turned away from Dishoom in King’s Cross for the second time (a three hour wait for a curry - er, no, not on any night of the week, not ever) we ended up in Pizza Union (amazing selection of pizzas, taste great, arrive quickly and really cheap). Sensing that I was irate (not like me at all - cough) BeautyqueenUK decided to find something to cheer me up, and did so by booking a table at Red’s True Barbecue in Shoreditch for the following Saturday.
Sat in Pizza Union I was shown a few pictures on social media, gave the menu a cursory glance and grunted some form of approval (I really wanted a curry that night). Step forward a week and torrential rain and we made our way through the streets of Shoreditch, dodged the hipsters and trendy folk and walked into the church of meat - and so it came to pass that I renounced my religion and dedicated myself to one true god, Red, and his barbecue.
As soon as we walked through the door the sweet smell of the BBQ hit me and my stomach immediately said “you are supposed to be avoiding red meat” as my brain shouted “eat everything, everything, you are so hungry you need to eat for twelve“. I nearly started drooling before we had even been seated - now that is a half decent first impression to give off.
We were greeted and shown to our table really quickly but once seated the waiter took his time to explain how everything worked (not rocket science, but nice to be talked through when you first visit) and we were then handed a copy of the good book (the menu) each to have a look at.
|A quick glance over the good book before trying to order everything|
I opted for a bespoke tray of meat, choosing from the range of brisket, ribs, burnt ends, pulled pork, chicken and sausage. Yes, I initially had decided that I would try everything but after attempting to order it, and getting a strange look from our waiter he crouched down and quietly asked me how hungry I really was. In his opinion I had ordered far too much and suggested maybe three types of meat rather than EVERYTHING. He did this without making me feel a bit special (sir, I applaud you, thank you) and so I opted for Red's Pulled Pork, Smoked Sticky Chicken and Burnt Ends (brisket).
Rachel opted for the Juicy Lucifer burger (£13.50). In her own words “I’ve died and gone to heaven”…..(just look at the pictures of it, I start drooling when I remember how it looked and smelt).
As we waited for the food to arrive, which didn’t take that long at all (five to ten minutes) I couldn’t help but indulge in a bit of people spotting which quickly turned into people eating watching. I strangely resembled a poor kid staring through the window of a high end chocolate shop - every dish that came from the kitchen looked amazing and combined with the funky atmosphere, music and neon I believed I had found my church.
As soon as the tray of meat was placed in front of me I knew the waiter had been right - there is no way on Earth I would have been able to take on everything. The tray was packed with meat (see the picture), the fries were plentiful and the onion rings were crispy and to die for.
|This is my bespoke tray of meaty goodness|
So the meat - is it all it’s cracked up to be? Hell yeah. The burnt ends (£9.50) were crispy and were packed with smoky flavour. A touch of one of the many sauces on offer and they were devoured quickly. At only one stage did I look up from eating to catch a glimpse of Rachel’s burger (it looked AMAZING).
|Rachel had the Juicy Lucifer burger|
Red’s pulled pork (£5.50 with the bespoke tray) wasn’t fatty in the slightest (one reservation I have when ordering - I hate fat on meat, in fact my parents used to say that I had a future career in surgery the way I dissected meat at the dinner table) and melted in my mouth. I could have sat and eaten this all night, every night for a year and not gotten bored of it. Again, with a touch of sauce, a few fries and onion rings this blended and had me pushing on for more. By the time it came to the half of chicken I was starting to wane (much to my shame - oh look I’m rhyming again).
The ¼ smoked sticky chicken (£5.95) was by far the best I have tasted from a BBQ ever (sorry Red Dog Saloon, yours was great, but this is unworldly good). Quarter of a chicken by the time I came to eating it was too much but oh boy does it have flavour. Not only is the coating a lovely sweet and rich explosion of flavour, the meat itself was juicy and succulent. Even though stuffed to the gills I forced it all down while ordering a hard shake (in a fit of madness).
I simply couldn’t finish the fries I had ordered and when the waiter came back to clear the table I could see the look (not in a smug way) in his eye that said “I told you so” and I was so, so grateful he had intervened at the ordering stage.
|Beaten but stuffed|
Apart from the woman sat on the table next to us (think Vicky Pollard on speed) who was sooooooo loud and rather thick (she was asking what kind of animals the meat came from) the entire experience was immense. The hard shake (chocolate & salted caramel) came in a milk bottle and it was again full of flavour - rather than being just ice cream with a shot of booze you could taste the malt with the Wild Turkey Honey shot as more of an undertone which made drinking it far, far too easy.
The bill came in at just under £65 for what was one of the best meals I’ve eaten in London. When I go again I’m going to make sure I’m prepped for a mammoth eating session, take my time (we were in, served, fed and out the door again within an hour - at no point did we feel rushed by the staff) and really savour the atmosphere, the smells and most of all the meats.
If I had to summarise my visit - epic.
As Jesus said to John the Baptist, "pass the salt mate and don’t be so tight with the ribs….”
As I have said, we visited the Shoreditch branch of Red’s but they are all over the place so there is no excuse not to visit and possible convert to the one true religion - meat. I would also point out that we visited Red’s to see what it was like, they didn’t know we were coming and we received no payment or gratis food for this review. So, 100% no bias here folks.
To find your local Red’s place of worship just click here:
If you want to drool, just look at the #lettherebemeat hash tag on Instagram.
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