Firstly, like a ‘Spoiler Ahead Alert’, I must point out that I wasn’t a fan…. Not by any stretch of the imagination. However everyone else loved the place. So although ‘MY review’, I’ll try to be as impartial as possible!!
I guess I was initially put off by the ‘Welcome to Church’ and ‘come and Worship’ marketing spin. However we made our Pilgrimage to Shoreditch to seek out this Holy Grail of BBQ at its American finest.
The red neon’s hit you straight away…. Outside, inside,….. Church?…. More like TGI Fridays crossed with a Satanic Den! Hell on Earth?….. That may have not been exactly what they were trying to achieve…. but wasn’t far away! The irresistible smoky aroma that hit us as we entered fortunately reminded us exactly why we where there.
We headed downstairs to the Inner Sanctum, aka the bar, which offered a variety of Cocktails – naughtier versions of the classics. From Jamaican Mojitos to Georgia Hobos to Red’s Own Iced Tea…. They were good without being noteworthy. Obviously a vast array of beers and bourbons were also on offer, and it was clear that the Devil himself (obviously a guy – sorry any female readers!) started his wooing of his flock down here. But the best was to follow…. The bar snacks. Ordering one of each – Crackling, Jerky Beer Stix, Housemade Beer Jerky….. Well it felt that Lucifer had personally overseen the making of both Jerkys…… Absolutely Devine. The Crackling however was obviously made by mere mortals as it was by consensus the worst Crackling we have ever had.
Hell upstairs, apologies I mean the restaurant, awaited and we sat amongst a packed congregation. I was given ‘The Good Book’….. It almost seemed Blasphemous to acknowledge it! It was Meat Heaven or Hell. The selection read like an American BBQ diners pure indulgent vision of sin. Even having their own 10 commandments within. Impossible to choose between, we decided that the table would have one of everything from the meat platter to allow us to try everything on offer. This was met with a derisory look from the waiter…. Was this too sinful for him?
Being a casual American ‘trendy’ TGI Fridays the place just didn’t appeal to my fine dining stimuli – I don’t mind suchlike at all and I am at my happiest Worshipping at MacDonalds where my communion is the Big Mac, however making a 2 hour pilgrimage for this was a waste for me. To be fair though I was saved when ‘Regulate’ played in the restaurant! Tune! Followed by the Luniz with ‘Five on it’ (not the remix) and obviously Michael Jackson.
The sinful meat platter consisted of:
St Louis Ribs – not great
Baby Back Ribs – nothing special
Rib Tips – again don’t bother
Jerk Country Rib – good
Red’s Pulled Pork – good
Cheese & Jalapeño Sausage – Nope!
Smoked Sticky Chicken – nothing special
Pit Smoked BBQ Wings – very average
Jacobs Ladder Beef Rib – meaty & v good
Black Angus Brisket – awesome
Burnt Ends – worth going back for
Ox Cheek Bone Luge – with some bone marrow, you either love or hate, but combined with the other Beef selections it made for possibly the best BBQ extravaganza you can have.
Served with 5 typical Southern USA sauces from Habanero Chilli to my personal favourite, Carolina BBQ vinegar based chilli sauce, even I can’t deny that the meat feast was devilishly good.
The best was yet to come. I decided against more food but went for death in a bottle, aka their boozy Chocolate and Salted Caramel milkshake. Rich, indulgent – no doubt what the kids drink in hell… Worth going there for (hell that is).
The rest of the boys went for the The Doughnut Burger to share. With two steak patties, melted cheese, smoked peppered bacon, Crispy onions, Dirty sauce….. All served between two sweet glazed doughnuts. Well didn’t I miss out!…. This is Satan’s temptation at its finest. From Bill our Burger aficionado – “the best burger he’s ever had”. The others were equally full of praise “disgustingly good” and “proper sick” (in the good way!!). They were converted…. Red’s, or The Devil’s, latest disciples. Admittedly I will be going back to try this for myself soon. It was That Good apparently.
The desert selection was poor and nothing was noted from the others who all tried one. But I’m guessing if you have reached deserts and still need filling up then you haven’t done the meat justice…. Go back for more then!
Fining dining it’s not. Sinful gluttony it is! Some of the food is the best there is. Some plainly not. I’m not a convert, yet, but there is no denying that some of the beef options on the platter were godly and this sacred Donut Burger could possibly be The Holy Grail……
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