The Lowdown: Following the success of their West London pop-up last year, Sam and his #BBQWhiskyBeer team are currently ‘squatting’ (their words) at the Lord Wargrave, a handsome Young’s pub in Marylebone. They’re serving top notch burgers and BBQ classics like ribs, wings and pulled pork, while the bar handles the whisky and beer side of things.
The Food: The menu ticks all the 'dude food' boxes with bar snacks like ribs and Southern fried chicken livers sitting alongside man-sized burgers and fried chicken. The chicken wings we tried were that perfect mix of crisp skin and moist meat with a subtle lip-tingling after-burn from the buffalo-style sauce. The smoked baby back ribs are even better – the meat is tender enough to tear from the bones with your fingers but still has enough bite to keep things interesting. The whisky-soy glaze is excellent and gives them a gently boozy, sweet-salty stickiness. (Lose the parsley sprinkles though - nobody needs them).
Their classic burger can be pimped with stuff like oxtail chilli, pulled pork or beef short rib. The patties themselves have great flavour, though it’s easy to lose it under a pile of (admittedly delicious) pulled pig, cheese and creamy slaw. The pulled pork, which they smoke for 24 hours, is as good as I’ve had anywhere in London and that includes Pitt Cue. You can have it on its own in a brioche bun and it’s not drowned in BBQ sauce so the rich, smoky pork flavour shines through. Our only criticism lay with the chips which were nicely crisp but a little greasy.
The Drink: The beer list is a little underwhelming (as they’re tied to those which are Young’s approved) but the ales are very well kept. The real draw here is their incredible collection of whiskies which includes bottles from all over the UK as well as America and Japan. This low-key pub off Edgware Road has the largest selection of single malts in London – who knew? They offer tasting flights on Saturday evenings and the #BBQWhiskyBeer team organise regular tasting evenings, so keep an eye on their twitter feed for dates.
The Verdict: If you’re looking for an American-influenced pop-up that puts substance before style, this could be the one. From a small open kitchen at the end of the bar, they’re working hard to deliver upscale BBQ and junk food classics. Portions are generous, prices are low and when the meat sweats kick in, you can sit back and chill with a whisky. If you’re local, we highly recommend popping in at lunch when a man-sized main and a drink will only set you back a tenner.