We have been trying to get to Pitt Cue Co. for many a year with failure. Each visit back from Australia I would have it on our list of restaurants to hit – but inevitably the line would get the better of us (no one seriously has time to wait around when they’re in a fly in, fly out visit). We finally had a taster that the Patty and Bun Residency Series they hold in London Fields and it locked in our place to want to visit once the team had moved to Devonshire Square in Shoreditch.
Famously starting as a food truck, this really is a step up for Tom Adams and Jamie Berger from their initial space just off Carnaby (where Rockadollar Hotdogs have taken up residence for a 3 month pop up).
There have been many plaudits since they opened a few weeks ago:
“It’s executed with commitment, wit and serious attention to detail. And a lot of pig. It should do very well indeed.” Jay Rayner (Guardian)
“The most memorably good fat you’re likely ever to have encountered. It’s quite a thing, revelling in this dedication to meat: it’s Revenant food, said Katie.” ***** David Sexon (ES)
“In short, there’s really nothing to criticise at all – already firmly settled and confident in its new skin, it may just be the ideal London restaurant.” Chris Pople (Cheese and Biscuits)
“You can get away with spending around £40 a head with booze if you don’t go mad on the cocktails and then decide to drink a bottle of wine each (ahem) which, for the level of skill in the kitchen and the quality of the food, I thought pretty great value.” Lizzie Mabbott (Hollow Legs)
Upon entering, we’re met with what I would describe as a kit-out rather than fit-out. It’s an industrial space feel but one that you get from a new build that has asked for it’s walls to remain bare in order to reveal some ‘grittiness’. It’s all a clash of shiny metal and warm wood with those light bulbs that every restaurant owner has seemed to decide are the be all and end all.
We walked in at 7pm on a Thursday night and scored a seat at a high table in front of the bar. Service was out of this world and we really settled into the groove on things while we were waited on by one of London’s best waitresses. A large glass of vino and cosy pint later, we were ready to put in our order.
One of the highlights of the Patty and Bun Residence was the outstanding bread and drippings (£6). This again was served with butter, which while wasn’t needed, was devoured in a flash. Seriously how wrong can you go with a loaf of bread that’s been showered in fat?!
First out came the house wurst and broccoli (£6.50) which was a nice meat starter to get the proverbial juices flowing. While tasty, it didn’t really blow us away. I can’t fault the meat that has been used in this daily change dish – it just didn’t have me swinging from the rafters (yet).
If you’re a out and proud carnivore, you’ll be in heaven at Pitt Cue Co with the selection of meat on offering. Theres even a large blackboard showing the different cuts from the Mangalitza pig. We decided to get the chop (£16) from the proper menu, though for this small portion we thought this price was a little steep. If we go back I’ll be ordering something off the blackboard.
Again, while beautifully cooked ,this dish of pure meat just didn’t blow me away. I would have preferred more seasoning as it did melt in the mouth but didn’t hit any notes for me other than it being a place of well bred pig.
As a side we ordered the fermented carrots and ricotta (£) which had the same issue. I was expecting some sharpness from something that had been fermented – maybe not kimchi sharpness, but something that would give my mouth a jolt. But nothing. Add that to a bowl of ricotta that really didn’t have the flavour or saltiness to elevate the dish and we were dead in the water by the end of the meal.
I’m a sweet tooth and something has to be wrong when I see a dessert I would order but don’t have the trust built up over the course of a meal to follow through.
Maybe I ordered badly as Chris Prowler helpfully liked to point out. Maybe the kitchen was having an off day (but after only being open after a couple of weeks and this being the Thursday before the Easter Very Long Weekend I would expect the head chef to be in that kitchen). Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s Maybeline. But from all the hype (which I didn’t take in as baggage) I expected more. A lot more.
Will I go back? I asked myself that question as we headed out. We agreed that maybe it would be better in a larger group to order more dishes and chew through more of the menu. But I don’t really buy that. A restaurant should be able to stand on it’s own feet no matter if you’re a solo diner or heading in with a large group of friends. For the same amount of money and knowing the providence of the produce, we would be more keen to drop the cash at Quality Chop House or Hawksmoor at this point in time
But yes. I will be back to try them again sometime down the line. I want to be proven wrong.
Contact: Pitt Cue Co. – 1 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YP. Ph. Website.