ed March 2016- Pitt Cue has since relocated to the city, check their website for up to date location and booking details.
Being obsessed with the edible is not a rare trait in my family I have to say and more often than not if we are not cooking and eating when we get together, we’re probably talking about it.
Cue now a conversation with my older brother on the impending 32nd anniversary of my birth, where he suggested a night of ribs and cocktails. Not a combination that immediately comes to mind to anyone but what the hey, he’s been right before so why not? Little place, used to be a pop up restaurant, bloody great ribs. Sold.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Pitt Cue Co, Soho. Blink and you’ll miss it, a pokey looking bar on the corner of Newburgh St. But if you’re in the area just after five on a friday, as I was, you will notice the odd punter hanging around the closed front door. They multiply exponentially, as I discovered shortly after being hurried out of the pub across the way to line up in the rain in the effort of making the first dinner sitting of the night. There are 30 seats in the Pitt Cue Co, and you can’t book any of them. You want in, you wait. Seemed a bit trendy and pretentious to me at the time. We got in the door a little after the official 6pm opening time and were directed to the bar with an anticipated 45 minute wait for a table in the main restaurant downstairs. You can eat from a high shelf along one wall of the bar but given how busy it gets I wouldn’t recommend this.
Pitt Cue is simple and American in theme, and it’s fantastically done. The bar offers a ridiculous multitude of whiskies, all bourbons or ryes unless I was mistaken, a bunch of cocktails and a few beers. Wine is available if you absolutely must, but the order of a Friday night waiting for your table has to be one of the listed main cocktails, which go by name only on the menu but bar staff are happy to explain if needs be. The winner for me was the cheekily pink Camp America but I should insist that if you’re going here, and not driving, you should sample a house special- The Pickle Back. This is a two part aperitif consisting of a shot of bourbon, followed immediately by a shot of pickle juice. Yes, pickle juice, as in the juice the gherkins have been sitting in. Sounds wrong. I can’t find the words to tell you how marvellous it is. Have one.
Where whiskey is king upstairs, slow cooked meat is in charge in the snug dining area downstairs, and maddeningly delicious snap shots of it cooking waft up the stairs as the evening goes on so when you get down to your table, you are more than ready to eat. The menu is brief, and it is all meat. Pork or beef ribs and pulled pork always available plus some specials. I say again- it is all meat, sorry veggies! We were a party of four and between us took in beef ribs, pork ribs, chipotle slaw (spicy!), bone marrow mash (I will be dreaming of this for at least another 2 weeks) and a devilishly good take on deep fried mushrooms. All served in a no nonsense cast iron dish, with a lump of bread for sopping up the uber tasty sauce and some house pickles. It’s not pretty and it’s not cutlery friendly, and you’re likely to be sitting very close to some complete strangers. This might be where the bar time comes in handy by loosening social inhibitions until one feels comfortable to just get stuck in. But you’ll forget any need for manners or wiping the rib sauce off the end of your nose soon enough as the food, although apparently simple, is a wonderful combination of sticky sauce and tender, fall off the bone meat which few other outlets are able to accomplish, without fail, every plate.
It’s an amazing, casual, but perfectly executed dinner. The posh option came for us in dessert, with a choice of a beautiful Pimms based eton mess or a beyond decadent dark chocolate and cherry tart. Both were fantastic, and beautifully presented. Neither lasted very long.
What a dinner, what a venue. Yes, ok fine, maybe it is verging on the too cool side with the no reservations and the pokey bar with the equally pokey cocktails, the limited menu printed on flyers that stick to the spilled whiskey on the chunky wooden tables. It’s an about-town-trendy’s dream, it’s just so fabulous darling! But it is. And such good value too averaging about £12 per plate (but the cocktails will do some damage to your bill). No one there is unhappy about the wait outside in the rain or the elbows they caught in the bar. They all heard about it from a friend and love it so much they will be back next week and they simply have to bring so and so with them. It’s infectious, this new found love of all things Pitt Cue, and after just one visit I am now a full convert.
You must go.
Are you still here?