I’ll admit, getting into the new permanent Pitt Cue Co digs for dinner became something of a brief obsession of mine in January this year. Ever since their truck was towed away from underneath Hungerford Bridge on the South Bank at the end of last summer, my pork belly had felt slightly bereft.
Y’see, whilst last time out I was rambling on about a new venture at its very genesis, Pitt Cue Co whetted our appetites with a seemingly blink-and-you’ll-miss it truck residency, serving up top quality barbecued brisket, pulled pork, ribs et al, sides and craft beers and then vanishing to head off on a “fact finding” mission across the US. Then, upon their return to the UK, the hints of a permanent location abounded. Subsequently I started seeing people talking about how amazing the previews and invite-only soft launch had been. Jealous didn’t do it justice.
There’s always something strangely reassuring about seeing a queue form somewhere you’re about to eat. Especially if that queue is forming behind you. So, on a cold January Wednesday, Laura and I are stood counting down the last few minutes before the doors open onto Newburgh Street to signal the start of the evening service. Forewarned is forearmed and if you want to eat without a wait, arriving before opening is – for the time being – pretty essential. The place can cope with around 30 covers, come 6pm the queue was easily already that deep.
Only a dozen or so services beyond launch, things front of house were still in the process of being ironed smooth. The remaining creases were seemingly how to deal with the huge numbers of people wanting to come through the doors. A problem that, in a recession, many restaurants will understandably envy.
The menu is more-or-less as simple on the face of it as it was back under the bridge; choose your meat (complete with a side of your choice), any other accoutrements you fancy off the menu and small (but well chosen) drinks menu, including beers from South London’s Kernel Brewery. Scratchings got polished off before I even had a change to fish out my camera; warm from the kitchen, smoky from the smoker and managing simultaneously a salty crunch on the surface and soft chew beneath. Damn.
Pulled Pork / Burnt End Mash & Beef Ribs / Hock, Beet & Pickle salad arrived moments later in enamel dishes. Whist this is big step up from the occasionally leaky cardboard boxes used in the truck days, the food itself just didn’t need to be. The meat (much of it via Cornish Grill) continues to be allowed to sing. The sides are well constructed with (in particular), Burnt End Mash being an addictive work of evil meat-infused genius.
The menu extends further than before, but without diluting the basic Pitt Cue premise; for example the pickle jar (shiitake, fennel, kohlrabi, red onion & celery) was regrettably overlooked on this visit. But not on the next one, I assure you. With those mains both coming in at under a tenner each, the recession-proof 30 deep queue outside becomes even clearer.
Pitt Cue Co
1 Newburgh St, Soho, London W1F 7RB