There we were about to take a break from smoked goods – cos’ they’re not exactly beneficial to your health – when we discovered London’s COOLEST new BBQ shack. Duke’s Brew and Que. Do you like ribs? Because you owe it to yourself to book a table here this second if you do.
Last summer, everyone (blogs/Jamie/Gordon/OFM) banged on about homemade barbies with a Malay twist. Remember? Prawns, cumin, lamb, coriander, trout, chilli etc. If that got your red-meat-loving knickers in a twist, don’t worry, because this summer marks the return of grilled RIBS – American South style. Messy eaters, come on doooooooooown!
Tucked away in a corner of De Beauvoir Town, E8, Duke’s looks more pub than rib shack. On entry, however, it’s clear someone’s done their homework. Sulky East London lighting, achingly fashionable staff, an in-house brewery that stocks cockily named beers like ‘the malty Godfather’ and a decorative pram at ceiling level give it that trendy local feel, while the nose-shagging fumes emanating from an imported smoker named Cookshack Fast Eddy give your frontal lobe 1/4 of an orgasm.
Joint owner Bryon Knight is not pissing about. He’s American for a start and says things like ‘good barbecue doesn’t need sauce,’ which if you think about it, is a great piece of advice not to mention genius marketing to defend the simple choices he’s made. The meat doesn’t come sodden in ketchup-y bbq sauce. And why should it? 18 hours in a smoker – I don’t need sauce
and extra calories?! *Slaps self*.
Having only opened a couple of months ago, Byron tells us the menu at Duke’s is ‘a work in progress’. Again – reassuring because it’s only going to get better. When EIC visits, the evening choices are pulled pork sliders, beef ribs, pork ribs, and there’s a sirloin steak too. We order a mac n’ cheese side and as many ribs as our iron deficient bodies can handle. The result is magnificent.
Our meat feast arrives; the pork sliders bursting out of their mini sandwiched selves, with side accompaniments of coleslaw and a generous serving of pickles. The sliders are history the second they’re laid to rest – three-bites of porky heaven – 1/2 an orgasm reached – soon followed by forkfuls of the mac n’ cheese. It’s small but needs to be.
EIC was split as to which we died for more, the pork or beef ribs. The beef was certainly tougher but in no way task-worthy to chew or swallow. Rib lovers are going to LOVE this place, and we can’t wait to hear that Duke’s is London’s new BBQ fave. You heard it here.
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*Duke’s Brew & Que; 33 Downham Rd N1 5AA. Open 4-11pm Mon-Wed; 4-11.30pm Thur, Fri; 10am-11.30pm Sat; 10am-11pm Sun. Meal for two with drinks and service: around £50