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Red

(Taylor Swift) – Reds True Barbecue Shoreditch

Several years ago, while I was working in Manchester, I stumbled across Reds True Barbecue near Albert Square and subsequently recommended their Sheffield restaurant to Kit & Elaine. They tried it and were converts.

So, when we were due to meet for lunch in London, we all agreed that we should try their Shoreditch restaurant.

We were unable to book a table, so arrived promptly at noon, we were the first in and seated promptly. It’s a huge space and, a few days before Christmas, pretty chilly.

Reds True Barbecue, Shoreditch

Our waiter arrived and we ordered our drinks, a grapefruit Schofferhofer Hefeweizen, and pints of ‘Tax Evasion Pils’ and ‘Identity Theft APA’ – all delicious.

Food wise, Elaine chose the ‘ Monte Christmas Burger’ which comprised “A Turkey patty topped with ham & sliced smoked turkey breast, peppered bacon, Monterey Jack cheese, cranberry & Dirty sauce. All squeezed between a vanilla custard-soaked, fried brioche bun. Served with sweet potato fries.” She’d enjoyed it at their Sheffield restaurant and it seemed festive.

Kit and I ordered the “True BBQ feast for 2” – “Mountains of St. Louis ribs, baby back ribs, premium Black Angus brisket, smoked turkey, sticky chicken, smoked sausage and pulled pork. Served with sweet potato cornbread, buttermilk slaw, giant onion rings, chopped salad, skin-on fries, Slopper Nachos (meaty pit beans, con queso, grated Cheddar, guacamole, spring onions, salsa, sour cream and jalapeños) and a slug of bourbon each.”

Monte Christmas Burger at Reds True Barbecue, Shoreditch

Monte Christmas Burger

Elaine described the “Monte Christmas Burger”as over-cooked and tough, she left it, and helped us to attack the BBQ feast.

True BBQ Feast for Two at Reds True Barbecue, Shoreditch

True BBQ Feast for Two at Reds True Barbecue, Shoreditch

As to the BBQ feast – all the meats were tender and delicious, the Nachos a wonderfully messy delight, but the cornbread was bland and the chips and giant onion rings were stone-cold. We were the first table to be served, so there’s no excuse for that. The salad and coleslaw looked too much like airline food and stared, balefully untouched.

And there was no sign of the ‘slug of bourbon’.

Our waiter noted my friend’s comment about her Turkey patty and negotiated a reduction, but at no time during our meal – and the restaurant was only half full – did anyone come and ask the almost inevitable “is everything okay with your meal?”.

Attentive staff could have rescued the meal, and in a half full restaurant they should have time to attend.

The fact that the place wasn’t rammed, just a few days before Christmas, should be sounding warning bells for Red’s management. The restaurant is just a little too far from the City to be convenient, and I doubt that Shoreditch – trendy though it is – can support a restaurant like this, and at Red’s prices.

We came, we tried, we were disappointed. There are better, less pretentious BBQ pits in central London.

We won’t be back.

Rating: ★★★☆☆