As a child growing up, I was urged by my parents to eat my greens and carrots. I dreamed of the day when I can sit in a meaty restaurant and order whatever I like. Although a lot of things have changed since then (I actually do like a nice chunky side of veggies and salads nowadays), my dreamy days are over and those fantasies are now a reality!
I came across The Skinny Bib‘s first photos of Shotgun London’s carnivorous works of art. Glistening plates of hot wood smoked meat called out to me through the perfectly placed lighting over each slices of tender goodness.
Shotgun is the new venture of Brad McDonald, a Mississippi-born full-bearded chef, once hailed as the King of Cornbread, after his first success at The Lockhart.
The dimly-lit interior is decked out with intimate dark wood booths and potted plants dotted around the restaurant. Eager waiters, dressed in snappy aprons and buttoned-up shirts made way for each other in an otherwise very narrow L-shaped space. A neatly stacked wood and rail bar situated at the back, with daily drinks specials scratched on to the blackboard. The bar was staffed with trendy bartenders attentively making their concoctions as old-school R’n’B hip-hop provided the soundtrack to the evening.
The menu was extremely short but complete. However, we definitely needed a barbeque dictionary to decipher the choices presented before us. I’m in no way a Southern smoked BBQ connoisseur, so dishes such as Jacob’s ladder and Boston Butt certainly peaked my interest.
As we thought the hard part was over with deciphering menu vocabulary, the staff came over with 4 shades of sauces in various intensity of brownish red. The little red sauce came with a warning, or so I was told, that it was not for the faint-hearted.
The meal kicked off with a simple starter of Devilled Quail Eggs. These hard-boiled little delicate things were skimpily dressed in mayonnaise and their yolky center, served on a bed of crunchy dehydrated pork skin. These are extremely popular in the US and are cooked in a variety of ways. I wasn’t convinced by the bland scratchings but it was a light way to start an otherwise very heavy meaty affair.
For the main part of the show, I opted for the Iberico baby back ribs, Yorkshire Jacob’s ladder, Muscovy duck breast, and Middlewhite Boston Butt, with sides of sweet potato fondant and BBQ baked beans.
The Iberico baby back ribs were sensational. Iberico pork is generally praised for its nutty flavour from the premium quality of acorn fed meat. The softness of the rib meat on each bone, accompanied by the sweet melting fat and a slightly charred crust made this the type of dish you couldn’t resist but dive in with all 10 of your fingers.
Closely behind as runners up was the Yorkshire Jacob’s ladder. Tender and full of flavour, these slices of brisket was irresistibly scrumptious with a slight hint of smokiness. Last but no least, the Boston butt (pulled pork) came with a hint of vinegarette marinate, which balanced well with its piggy fat and worked wonderfully in a soft white bap.
We simply had no room for dessert, but the table next to us called for Banana Pudding. Out came a giant trifle glass, probably the size of my head, of which the waiter scooped out an American-sized portion of mashed banana, cream, biscuits and honeycomb. It looked divine, sitting there between two giddily diners in its own messy yet cosy kind of way.
It was the sort of the eye-opening education on Southern barbeque for a East-Coast gal like me, and persuaded me that a foodie pilgrimage to the deep South is a must in my culinary travels.
26 Kingly St, London W1B 5QD
Opening times: Noon – 11:30pm (Kitchen)
Noon – midnight (Bar)