When I’m bored I sometimes scroll through Instagram looking at pictures of meat. I see slow-cooked beef, briskets that wobble, thick pork ribs that have a pinkish hue to them, and burnt ends that are caramelised after being deeply sauced. These videos feature a mix of drift shots and jump cuts across crisped strips of animal fat that have been turned deep gold and crimson by a sauce made of sugar, tomato, and vinegar, and then burnished with a final lick of fire. The videos always end in the same manner: a man with a beard eating with his hands and then turning to the camera with an expression that says “Don’t You Wish You Were Me?” Oh mate. I do.
This review will almost certainly end up being a digital snake consuming its own tail. I chose restaurants based on the alluring images I saw on Instagram. While I was there, I took photos of my dinner to post on Instagram. These photographs are often criticized as being terrible, and they are. I refused to stop eating for any longer than was necessary, and no one has to see my terrible contribution. My photos will still encourage others to visit these restaurants. Then they will post food photos to Instagram, which will in turn encourage others. Like the Circle of Life in The Lion King. Only with beef links, hot sauce and smash burgers.
The burger. Sophia Evans/The Observer
What a burger! And what links. Burnt Smokehouse, a new restaurant in Leyton Midland Road station’s overground track, opened just a few short weeks ago. It is located under a renovated railway arch. Sufia, a NHS mental health therapist, and Abidur, her partner, have created a passion project. Tarafder used to work at National Rail. He has always dreamed of running a restaurant. Tiberius Tudor, a Romanian American BBQ expert with the fabulous name Tiberius, has joined forces with them. He can always play a villain in the Fast and Furious franchise if he gets tired of playing with fire and smoke.
Tudor worked in Texas for two years at various top restaurants, including Franklin Barbecue. Texas is known for its beef. Tudor, a Muslim, decided that there was space for a halal BBQ joint in the northeast London area. This is exactly what they did. The pellet smoker is located in the back, where they sell the lamb shoulders and briskets by 100g. In the open kitchen, there is a live-fire grill that looks like it came out of The Mad Max Fury Road. It emits smoke and flames. The open kitchen has a live-fire grill, a square, black construction, like something out of em>Mad Max: Fury Road/em>, belching flame and smoke.
On one side, there is a plancha that they use for their burgers. The Instagram video I saw of them was what first caught my eye: the grilled onions on top of the buns, the house sauce, the homemade dill-pickles and the plancha press. You can place your order at the counter and then sit down at a wooden table to wait for your number. Walk-ins only.
The ribwich with red cabbage is a shredded beef sandwich that’s been piled high. Sophia Evans/The Observer
The PS12 burger is as good as the video. It has a bun that’s just robust enough to hold its contents. Two patties are seared with an intense flavour thanks to a liberal approach to fat. And it comes with a layer of American burger, the only dairy product designed to melt properly. It’s an excellent burger. The “ribwich” is also a fatty shredded beef sandwich with a crunch from vinegared red kale. Also, we have large, melting pieces of lamb that are both crispy and tender. They beg to be pulled apart by fat-slicked hands. Burnt really is an eight-napkin-three-shirt-oh-sod-it kind of place.
Order the Cholula Hot Sauce, which is a vibrant, vinegary complement to the dense, tight-skinned beef links. There is a celeriac sandwhich on the menu for those who don’t eat meat, as well as portobello mushroom, garlic mash, and other sides. If a non-meat-eater finds themselves at this restaurant, it can only be because they are very fond of their meat-eating friend. The only dessert is the summer berry crumble served with vanilla cream. This is a real crunchy, sweet treat. Burnt’s is not licensed, but you are welcome to bring your own alcohol at no additional charge. There is a buzz about the place, as if it was a new restaurant that no one had ever heard of. There is more than just enthusiasm and appetite among the customers. You can also sense gratitude. We ordered way too much food and only managed to pay a little over PS60.
Rack City is a roving street-food operation that currently resides at the Duke’s Head pub on Highgate High Street in north London. Rack City, a mobile street-food business is currently based at The Duke’s head Pub on Highgate High Street in north London. It’s the perfect fit. The Duke’s Head calls itself London’s only “Country Honky Tonk Bar” and is decorated with American country signs and memorabilia. They also serve US beer, including Pabst Blue Ribbon. The woman behind bar wears stetson. It feels like an old-fashioned boozer with a US accent.
Keon Cilly, an American born Jamaican, is the man behind Rack City Ribs. His Caribbean influences are evident in the various spices, rubs and sweet-sticky sauces that have a chilli boost. The barbecue is a solid Americana. The price of PS22 for a beef short rib is outrageous. It’s really quite long. The majority of British short ribs are a small portion that is cut through the bone. It looks like the entire thing, slowly cooked, smoked and then beautifully sauced. The big, solid pork ribs are also a good size and have the right combination of bite and tenderness. The wings are steamed and smoked, then battered before being deep-fried to give them a delicious crunch. All of this is Instagram-ready. Those glazes are so shiny! When you look past the digital image and the pop-up screen to the real thing it delivers. It’s the most important thing.
Rachel Allen, of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, in County Cork will be staging an online cooking demonstration in August to raise money for AutismCare Nepal Society. Allen will collaborate with Nepalese companies in Ireland and UK, and will use recipes from Nepalese masterChef Finalist Santosh Shah. The money raised by the event will go towards funding a training program provided by British autism specialist Jude Regan. tickets for the online stream can be purchased here.
Steve and Jules Horrell have opened their first joint venture. They were previously the chef and manager of Roth Bar & Grill, Bruton in Somerset. Horrell and Horrell, in Sparkford, Somerset is a “micro-dining” experience. On Friday and Saturday nights, 20 guests will be served a four course dinner at a communal table. Menus will vary depending on the harvest of their six-acre garden. They could be artichoke fritters with basil mayo or butterflied lamb leg with a tomato salad. Dinner costs PS45 per person (horrellandhorrell.co.uk).
Charlie Carroll, the founder of Flat Iron and renowned publican Oisin Rodgers have teamed up to launch a brand new pub. Rogers is known for his work as a pub owner at the Ship, in London’s Wandsworth, then at the Guinea Grill. The Devonshire in Soho’s Denman Street, which will open in October, used to be a Jamie’s Italian. There will be a downstairs bar that serves Guinness, sausage rolls and other drinks. The grill room will be upstairs, featuring steaks, sucet puddings and langoustines. Rogers has confirmed that he’ll be behind the bar again, pulling pints.