I waited an hour and forty minutes to get into Pitt Cue Co., luckily the pub next door served us with plastic glasses to keep us going as we pressed our noses against the glass of the tiny 30 seater restaurant. An hour and twenty minutes passed until we were told that we would probably, maybe, get a chance to order food before the kitchen closed at 10pm, and then half an hour later I’d done a shot of bourbon followed by a shot neat pickle juice (the Pickleback, £4), tasted the punchy whisky based Sidetruck, and had in front of me a small shallow bucket overflowing with smoky sweet pulled pork, brasied ox cheek, pickles and a vat of burnt end mash. Simply put, it was worth the wait.
Jamie who was running the bar is onto a winner with his pickle juice, the sweet fragrant savoury flavour was a million miles from the vinegary foulness that surrounds supermarket pickles, and the fruity and violently strong tumblers of whisky that make up most of the cocktail menu (£6) were just my sort of cocktail; real flavoured alcohol served nearly neat over ice, not the desperate attempts to hide spirits underneath fruit juice that you can get elsewhere in Soho. Try the Cider Sour and the Manhattan, both were excellent.
And the food? It’s barbecued to perfection. The pulled pork was sweet and falling apart, the ox cheek was rich smoky and unbelievably tender, and the beef brisket was homely with a great bite to it. The pickles on the side were immense, they were still dripping in the juice I’d drunk neat earlier and had a delicious tangy crunch to them when munched at the same time as the soft warming meat.
The burnt end mash was my side of choice, the mash itself was a fairly unremarkable standard buttery mash, but the burnt end topping was the best meat on the dish, I still have no idea what it consisted of, but it tasted like someone had taken the charcoal of a barbecue and somehow converted it into the richest, smokest, sweetest meaty sauce I’ve ever eaten. We also had some tiny and disappointing chicken wings (£4), and some amazing crispy pickled shiitake (£3.5), I hate mushrooms but it turns out I love Pitt Cue’s shiitake so they must be doing something special with them.
To finish we had a slice of the bourbon sticky toffee pudding, it was good, and the icecream on the side was delicious, but it wasn’t really necessary and it didn’t have the wow factor that the food we had early did. The restaurant itself is tiny, the dining room downstairs barely sat two dozen people, the stairs doubled as storage for beer bottles, and the kitchen had an door straight into the seating area. The bar upstairs where we ate at was a nicer place to dine, if just to stare at the obscene collection of bourbons and plan your next drink over a chat to the very friendly, if overworked and sleep deprived, staff.
We paid £80 between two of us, that’s for service, 3 cocktails each, four sides, three meats and 1 dessert, hardly cheap, but still good value considering the portion sizes and sheer potency of the cocktails on offer. If you’re reading this you’re probably already arranging in you head when you can go, my advice is just make sure its early, get there, drink cocktails then get a table, just don’t turn up at 8pm and spend most of the night waiting outside.
As an aside I’d just like to spread the (assuredly fictional) rumour that Man vs Food is making his way over the Atlantic to try the food in a fortnights time in the hope that if it gains traction it may actually come true.