BBQ has hit London in a big way, from the good to the bad, from the restaurants to the pop-ups, and I don’t mean a couple of sausages on a disposable grill.
The American tradition of proper BBQ has made its mark on the UK gastronomic scene in a big way over the last few years with new ‘Q-joints’ popping up every few months and a festival “Grillstock” dedicated to everything BBQ taking place in both Bristol and Manchester.
In London, One Sixty is the latest BBQ restaurant to shoulder its way into the market. Originally I was sceptical of a new BBQ place, as this late into the “trend” it was entirely possible that this was someone wishing to cash in with minimal effort. How wrong was I. On walking into One Sixty it was obvious from the off that cheap, tack and try hard had all been thrown out. With a dark interior, wood floors and metallic chairs, simplicity had been the order of the day, not gaudy or bright and no sense of manufactured run-down that other institutions in London have gone for.
On the left a bar with more taps than you would see at a decent pub anywhere in the city. I quickly cast my eye over the beer listing; They boast over 50 craft beers from around the world, but unsurprisingly the majority are USA and UK based, and given the huge range of quality craft beers from both sides of the Atlantic this is very welcome. So far so good, a BBQ place that has stayed true to its roots and the idea that good meat be accompanied by good beer.
Onto the food itself. As a sucker for wings, I went with their wings with blue cheese as my starter. Their wings are smoked – rare find in UK smokehouses – and the blue cheese sauce, like everything else at One Sixty, is made in house (even the bread and burger buns are hand made on site). The wings had a fantastic taste, a slight hit of heat thanks to the hot sauce they are marinated and smoked in, and supple juicy meat. Again a pleasant suprise as wings ( barr the Blues Kitchen) do tend to be on the small and dry side. The blue cheese sauce was strong and thick, just the way it should be and the perfect marriage between the relative low heat of the wings and the smokey taste of the meat.
With that underway came the main event: Eight hour smoked Pork ribs. Now proper bbq requires time and patience, and indeed One Sixty is so called because One Sixty is the optimum temperature with which to slow cook meat. The ribs arrive as a full rack with chunky fries and three sides, pickled gerkins and two slaws, one more of a Carolina cider vinegar slaw and the other more of an asian inspired slaw. The ribs are basted in BBQ sauce before and during smoking, it is a thinner sauce than many will be used to but its all the better for it. No thick stick sauce to cover bad quality meat here. And the meat is stunning, almost no chewing is required it falls of the bone and melts in your mouth. These are without a doubt the best ribs in London, possibly the UK, and this coming from someone whose eaten in every BBQ place south of Edinburgh. The chips are perfect, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside and the slaws are each completly different from each other and delicious. My favourite was the more traditional slaw, being a sucker for a slaw with cider vinegar.
Without a doubt a memorable addition to London’s BBQ scene and one that I hope current and new places learn from. Locally sourced quality meat and produce is championed, as is the hard work of preparing everything in house and researching a comprehensive beer menu that sits perfectly against the food.
for the first time ever One Sixty gets a 10/10 from me as I could not find a single flaw