A warning: if you are vegetarian, do not read on for you will find no peace in this post. It’s strictly for carnivores only.

Starting our life selling food from a van, Pitt Cue Co.‘s popularity was such that friends Tom Adams and Jamie Berger decided their authentic American BBQ fare deserved a more permanent location. So early last year, much to their frequent diners’ delight, they moved into a site around the corner from bustling Carnaby Street.

Pitt Cue, the restaurant, is little larger than a hole-in-the-wall, with a super discrete exterior and no obvious signage. Despite the lack of decoration, it’s surprisingly easy to find – just look for the constant line of hungry wannabe-patrons queued out the front.

It’s a scenario that’s bound to happen when your restaurant only seats 30 covers – just over 20 in the cramped downstairs dining room, and 7 upstairs in the bar area – and you serve mouth-wateringly delicious and affordable comfort food. Gladly, the staff ensure an efficient waiting policy and filter hungry diners through the bar area only a few at a time to avoid claustrophobia.

The bar menu is extensive – but only if you like bourbon. There’s a lengthy list of the spirit, separated into “bourbon” and “rye” categories, while the cocktail list promises bourbon as the base for every concoction. Fear not, non-bourbonites, for they do sell beer (their own “Whatever” draught and a selection in bottles), one cider (a traditional still one), and American Root Beer and Cream Soda.

On the reverse, Pitt Cue’s food menu is very succinct and changes regularly. You’ve got “MEAT” which contains three to four kinds of the stuff vegetarians fear most, followed by a couple of daily specials, a choice of five sides, a couple of bun-inclusive options and some “extras” (generally, more meat in smaller portions).

On my latest visit, we hungrily ordered smoked chipotle wings (£5.50), the beef rib (£12), pulled pork (£11.50), and bone marrow mash and grilled broccoli with almonds (one side is included with each meat order). The wings arrived first, coated in a sticky and tangy sauce that was milder and sweeter than I expected.



To the relief of the ever-expanding line outside, the mains followed quickly, presented in canteen-style tin trays with homemade pickles, onion and a chunk of chargrilled sourdough bread on the side.

Pulled pork with grilled broccoli with almonds.

Pulled pork with grilled broccoli with almonds.

Beef rib with bone marrow mash.

Beef rib with bone marrow mash.

The star of the show was undoubtedly the pulled pork, which I can’t quite seem to go past every time I’ve eaten here. It’s perfectly moist, shredded into strands as light as fairy floss, with a delectably sweet, smoky marinade as the finishing touch. In a word: amazing.

I would usually eat it with the green chilli slaw (a refreshing, zingy coleslaw with just the right amount of sauce and spice), but opted to try something different with the grilled broccoli and almonds. The broccoli was tasty and not overgrilled, but I regret not ordering the slaw – it’s the right choice with the pork.

Although the beef ribs were a little fatty, the meat just fell off the bone as they were ungraciously torn apart. The marrow mash was silky smooth and super tasty, providing a rich accompaniment to hunks of sticky beef.

After wolfing down our meal in record time our server offered us the dessert menu, which we declined – partly due to the waiting hordes, but mostly due to our expanded bellies. Using the former as an excuse, she nicely replied, “No rush, you guys can stay all night if you want,” which is unique and quietly comforting at a joint like this. I don’t think the lengthy queue would see it that way.

Pitt Cue Co., 1 Newburgh St, London W1F 7RB. Open Monday – Saturday 12-3pm and 5:30-11pm; Sunday 12-3pm and 6-10:30pm. No reservations. A meal for two people costs between £30-£50.

By Lisa Tan