We were shamelessly out on a school night and a Monday night at that! Gordon had found that Oxford near legends “A Silent Film” were playing at the Hoxton Square Bar & Grill so off we strode to East Central London hoping to pass muster amongst the skinny jeans and the ironic pork pie hats. We could have eaten tex mex at the venue but instead we decided to go for ribs at the “Red Dog Saloon”. I’ve been keen to try one of the new breed of ribs places that have popped up to see where they rank alongside the yardstick that is Bodeans. There has been a lot of big talk from various news places about authenticity and smoke pits but can they turn out consistently good food? Red Dog Saloon is on the corner of Hoxton Square I was there early so took a pew at the bar. I was questioned about whether I was dining before they would give me a drink. On the whole the staff seemed a bit wrapped up in themselves rather than engaging with the customer. Anyway you don’t see Sam Adams on tap everywhere so I was contented to while away the time until Big Matt and the perennially tardy Gordon turned up.
Once the other members of the expedition had arrived we took to our booth and ordered a bucket of lone star lager, it took a while as the manageress forgot the order the first time. The waiter took our food order, without writing it down but credit due he got it all right. Now as you can imagine the menu is very meat based, ribs, pulled pork, chicken wings. There are a few more unusual sides such as burnt end pie, links as well as the familiar fries and onion rings. Big Matt the wings aficionado went for 8 buffalo wings and a cheese burger. He praised his wings but was underwhelmed by the burger. Gordon and I went for the St Louis ribs dinner. It came out looking the part but there were problems. It wasn’t very warm, now I’ve had that issue at Bodeans before as generally the ribs are cooked in a batch and heated through to order. However this little piggy had been hanging out too long. Also the cooking was uneven, the top of the rib were fine and juicy but under the ribs the meat had dried out. Not good enough really, if you are going to invest in a pit then cook the meat properly. My sides were fine, I liked the burnt end pie which was like mini shepherd’s pie with burnt ends. Gordon enjoyed his food though.
It’s not really a place to linger so we ate up and paid up £26 each which is more than “Bodeans” for inferior food. The place was really filling up as we left with smart young things from the city so it obviously has it’s clientele sussed. I think you can get away with charging a premium for this type of food off a limited menu but it has to be spot on and the ambience right. This place didn’t really work for me. I noticed in a nod to “Man v Food” they do a couple of eating challenges but for that to work you need a bit more charm and authenticity. Based on this visit and being similarly underwelmed by "Pitt Cue Co" I think "Bodeans" is still my go to place. Anyway with full tums we went off the gig to see some cracking indie rock courtesy of “A silent film” and the very good support from “Casablanca”
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Food 4 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 4