I’ll come out and say it right now. Once, I had a BBQ on a balcony with one of those nasty foil things and burnt the tile. When we have barbies at home, my American brother-in-law is in charge. Safe to say, I’m no expert at this charcoal roasted meat feast palaver. But I do so love a bit of roasted meat (especially when it’s not so roasted that it has been reduced to its carbon/hydrogen/oxygen/nitrogen elemental origins). So obviously, I jumped at the chance to go to this highly rated new BBQ joint with a bunch of Americans- because… authenticity (if not the food, then at least the company?)!
Sadly, Grant and I were the only ones imbibing alcohol that night as the rest of our dinner party were pregnant couples. But, being boozy bunchers, we had a good go at the cocktail list. Some, were a wee bit on the sweet side but I liked them well enough to come in for a drink at the bar. I rather liked the Sazerac but was disappointed with the Dick… something (which I chose solely because of the Ilegal Mezcal in it).
I left the ordering largely to my fellow diners as I had no idea what 1/2 the items were on the menu. I mean… what’s ‘Hot Tamales’ (apparently it’s some type of candy, but here we’re talking about the Mexican variety of ground corn and meat- kinda like a taco/sausage roll/chinese glutinous rice hybrid-thing)? Eventually we settled on that, some devilled quail eggs, the pimento cheese (which was a mystery even after asking the waiter what it was- I thought it was going to be a dippy thing, but we were sold on the ritz) and the daily special, a roasted pig’s face.
They were all tasty and got us incredibly excited about the meats. The devilled eggs came on a bed of pork scratching and was probably my favourite- though I thought it was a bit steep at £1.5 a pop (we had 3 orders to make 6 halves). The pimento cheese was a massive hit with one of our fellow diners and she ordered a second portion to go with the mains (they were also really kind and gave us extra crackers). The hot tamale was… interesting, but I’ll just take the Americans’ word that it was a really awesome and refined version of what one would get in the US. Finally, the pig’s head (served with sour pancakes and sauerkraut) was tasty, but word of the wise- don’t eat the pig’s eye if it is available to you. Though the taste and texture was very similar to eating liver, I nearly hurled when I suddenly remembered that I was in fact, eating an eyeball (Also, don’t order it if someone on your table is very sensitive to animal-shaped food!).
Having passed the hurdle of eating piglet’s face, we moved onto ALL THE MEATS (apart from the ham hock which was dismissed for whatever reason). There was a rack of ribs, a whole chicken, pork belly, pork bottom, brisket and a plethora of sides. We literally ordered the whole menu. And it all tasted fantastic. These were dry-rubbed so they didn’t come dripping in sauce. Rather, we were given some (very fashionably) functional bottles of sauce to make the meal our own.
I definitely thought the ribs were the best of the bunch, but the bum was up there- and it came with a load of delicious pork scratching. I stuck to the Kansas City BBQ sauce, though the N. Caroline sour (and very runny) version cut through the fattiness of the meat very well. I’m happy to report that our animals’ sacrifice were not wasted (unlike at some less tasty fast food joints) and they would be very proud of what they became in piggie (and chicken) heaven. The sides were all delightful- I especially loved their superlight slaw.
We finished off with all the desserts on the menu (naturally) and I ejoyed the brownie so much that I nipped off with someone else’s leftovers! The best would be a combo of the soft serve and brownie, and I would advice sharing desserts as they were of humongous portions (I’d say the brownie is about double what I’d normally serve as a generous slice and the banana cream pudding was just gigantic).
You might (or might not) have noticed that Shotgun was dimly lit from my blurry pictures. And yes, parts of the long, thin restaurant (apparently that’s what shotgun means in the South West) was very romantic indeed. They had some beautiful two tops that would be perfect for dates (just make sure your other half is not a vegetarian!) and we did see lots of happy couples (and other very happy people) eating there. I’d go there for a date- at least you’d leave knowing if your potential other half is a carnivore!
Shotgun is definitely a worthy addition to London’s BBQ scene and tastes so much better than going somewhere quite ubiquitous like Bodean’s. As usual, the food itself was reasonable enough, but shot up stratospherically as I drank cocktails like a fish. I was also very impressed with our waiter as he was incredibly attentive to the needs of our friend’s little toddler.
Food:★★★★☆ Service:★★★★★ Ambiance:★★★★☆ VFM:★★★★☆ Overall:★★★★☆
Price: Around £50 per head including 3 cocktails each.
26 Kingly Street W1D 5QD