Scribblings from the hard shoulder of the Information Superhighway

Big Easy

(Raphael Saadiq) – The Big Easy, Covent Garden

I had a free afternoon in London, so decided to try The Big Easy in Covent Garden. I love proper barbecue food, so wanted to see how they shaped up.

I can’t recall what used to occupy The Big Easy site, just opposite ‘Rules’ (“M’s” preferred restaurant according to ‘Spectre’) but back in the 1880’s The Big Easy site was the site of a power station, built to power the nearby Adelphi theatre.

The bar, 9 metres long, boasts over 500 spirits and frozen margarita (grown up slushy) machines.

The industrial heritage is clear in the décor, more authentic perhaps than some other diners I can think of. I was particularly taken by the door handles, made from large bolts, the sort you might imagine were used to restrain steam generators.

I wandered in and was warmly greeted and shown to my table. The greeter presented a pile of menus, but suggested the Monday ‘Big Pig Gig’ offer -comprising “North Carolina Chopped Pork, Pit-Smoked Bar.B.Q Chicken, St Louis Pork Ribs & Texas Hot Links, ‘Slaw, Pit-Smoked Beans with Pork, Fries & Fresh Baked Cornbread – accompanied by a stein of house beer” – seriously? For twenty quid? In Covent Garden? Bring it on!

It arrived promptly, and was frankly stunning. The pork was delicious and tender, the ribs just offering resistance to the teeth, the chicken moist… the beans spicy and the slaw cutting through the meaty goodness.

I confess I couldn’t finish it… I was seriously over-faced. The waitress came by and asked if I wanted any more of anything, but I simply wouldn’t have done it justice.

The site’s industrial past is more evident when you visit the ‘rest rooms’ – and frankly after a litre stein of lager a visit was necessary – the toilets are down several floors of industrial chequer plate steel steps. Any deeper and you’d be getting whiffs of sulphur.

So, a litre of beer, excellent barbecue food, more than I could finish, more on offer… for twenty quid? In the heart of Covent Garden? What’s not to like?

I’ll be back next time I’m in the area, I might make it a Tuesday to try their shrimp special.

Rating: ★★★★★