London Barbeque

“Whenever I travel to the South, the first thing I do is visit the best barbecue place between the airport and my hotel. An hour or two later I visit the best barbecue place between my hotel and dinner.”
― Jeffrey Steingarten, The Man Who Ate Everything

Carnaby Street is justly famous, but running parallel to it is an equally fabulous path called Newburgh Street. This gem is stuffed with excellent stores and, what else, food. Welcome, kittens, to Pitt Cue, an actual barbeque joint in the heart of Soho.

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It’s paradoxical perhaps, but it’s quite a good idea in London to pick a place to eat based on how long the line is – in reverse order. If no one’s trying to eat there, there’s probably a reason. And if you have to stand in line for 30-45 minutes, it’s generally well worth the wait. Pitt Cue is no different. This small (almost unbelievably tiny) rib place accepts no reservation and operates on a first come, first serve basis.
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The table markers used to confirm your spot on the waiting list are also kind of adorable.

When Jeff and I made plans to meet up with Adam for dinner (lo these many months ago, and I’ve just now got around to writing about it…), we had a decent wait before they managed to squeeze us inside. This almost was worse than waiting outside because due to lack of standing space I was crammed up at the bar entrance, almost behind the counter, and having to dodge the waiters and their trays full of truly heroic/suicidal amounts of whiskey – which Pitt Cue stocks in famous amounts and which I had no desire to see spilled all over me. It was a narrow escape. But the food immediately made up for the danger, we snacked on an order of pig’s crackling which promised good things to come, and checked out the scene.
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Which, due to the aforementioned tininess wasn’t very viewer friendly…I was about seven feet away from the door.
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Except for this gentleman and his heavy use of plaid, which tickled us all to no end. Where does his shirt end and his jacket begin, we wondered!

In the end we were served a delicious twist on slaw, heavy on the spice, and a plate each of brisket. Jeff and I became brisket snobs in Utah of all places, where we discovered a magnificent hole in the wall of a place that ended up supplying at least one meal a week during high summer. And my parents in Virginia certainly have access to their share of tasty meats for us to enjoy, so how would a London attempt hold up?
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The fact that I got to this point before even thinking to snap a picture ought to tell you. My line theory is confirmed: this place is worth a wait!

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