American BBQ is literally taking over our streets. A few years ago there were only a few (mainly mediocre) restaurants serving this type of food but now it’s everywhere – and it’s getting better and better.
We’ve been hearing good reports about BBQ Whisky Beer for quite a while now, both from friends and on other blogs. In fact, I’m not entirely sure why it took us so long to pay them a visit.
Perhaps it’s because The Wargrave Arms seemed to be a little out of the way (definition: not in Soho or trendy east). In reality though, it’s only a short walk from Edgware Road station and just ten minutes from Marble Arch.
Although it’s owned by Youngs, The Wargrave really doesn’t have the feel of a chain pub. They clearly do things their own way and have the biggest selection of whiskies in London.
The menu reads like a catalogue of piggy treats. Burgers topped with short-rib or pulled pork, hot wings, baby-back ribs, fried chicken rolls, beef ribs – you get the picture. It’s not even like they are doing a ‘Jamie’s Diner’ and trying to be all things to all men. It’s just a well-rounded menu and the emphasis is most definitely on the quality of the food (and drink).
We started with an order of pig nuggets (how could we resist) and a large portion of hot wings. The nuggets turned out to be little pieces of pork cheek, encased in breadcrumbs and deep fried. They were crispy on the outside and soft, tender and tasty underneath.
As good as the nuggets were, they were outdone by the hot wings. These were quite possibly the best I’ve had in London. The meat was lovely and soft and they were made all the better by the tangy, sweet, slightly spicy Buffalo sauce. Both starters were super-sized and for the first time in a long time we were starting to feel full before the mains even arrived.
I wasn’t remotely surprised when I saw that BBQ Whisky Beer won this year’s Ribstock with their Jacobs Ladder cut beef rib. Ours had a fantastic bark but the char didn’t take over the flavour and the barbeque sauce was superb. The meat was falling off the bone and although I’ve had a more tender beef rib before, I enjoyed this one more.
Next up was the BBQ pork burger. It’s a 7oz beef patty topped with bacon, cheese, pulled pork and coleslaw. We wondered if all the other flavours would over-power the beef but decided it was worth taking a risk.
As it turned out, the combination worked brilliantly. The pork was soft and juicy and the excellent tangy BBQ sauce again came into its own. The patty was cooked perfectly medium rare and had the unmistakable taste of aged beef so its flavour really came through. The only slight disappointment was the triple cooked chips, which were a little hard for my liking.
The Hog was initially planning to order the chocolate brownie dessert after having his head turned by the accompanying peanut butter ice cream. Sense prevailed though and we ended up sharing a cornflake sundae. This was a perfect end to the meal. The addition of a cornflake crunch to the chocolate ice cream and dulche de leche was an absolute masterstroke.
The evening would’ve seemed incomplete if we hadn’t sampled a whisky or two. I decided that it was ‘Suntory time’ and ordered a 12-year-old Yamazaki while the Hog went for something a little more peaty, a 12-year-old Bunnahabain from the Scottish Isle of Islay.
We had a great night at BBQ Whisky Beer. If this place was in Soho, you’d have to queue for an hour to get in. We’ll definitely be back soon.
Address: 40-42 Brendon St, London W1H 5HE
Phone: 020 7723 0559
Find them on Facebook: facebook.com/bbqwhisky
Follow them on Twitter: @BBQWhiskyBeer
Disclosure: We were invited guests and all food and drink was kindly comped by the restaurant