Friday 19 August 2016

Restaurant Review: Blues Kitchen, Shoreditch

Blues Kitchen has locations in Camden, Brixton and Shoreditch, which says something about its ethos and atmosphere – it’s young and vibrant, a bit edgy (exposed wood and neon signs) and also pretty confident that it’s cool. There’s a huge bar in the middle of the room with a large bourbon menu and an airstream caravan at the back with a table inside where you can have your own private party (which looked for all the world where the cool kids hang out). Even on a random Wednesday night the restaurant was fully booked, with a queue at the door and a doorman checking ID.

crab doughnuts
As the name suggests, the restaurant is all about the Blues – New Orleans style. This is actually another reason I wanted to go here after visiting New Orleans and various other southern states in the US as I really enjoyed the experience. The Blues Kitchen has live music several times a week (seemingly every night though we left before 10 when it started), from a New Orleans night to DJs on a Saturday and a gospel choir on a Sunday! So it’s somewhere you could come for a whole evening’s entertainment rather than just for dinner.

beef brisket
Though I don’t know how you’d get out of your chair to dance after eating the amount of food we had! The dishes on offer are inspired by the US south, particularly Texan BBQ and Cajun cuisine. There are plenty of specialities that I tasted in the US on offer, including buttermilk marinated chicken, New Orleans gumbo (stew with chicken and smoked sausage), Catfish jambalaya, and various burgers including the usual bacon cheeseburger but also chicken in a buffalo sauce and a Creole bean burger.
There’s a special burger of the month which I could hardly believe when I read what it contained. Called The Holy Cheezus (currently no longer on the menu) it offered a 7oz Angus & Shorthorn steak patty, topped with bacon, glazed onions, rocket and rye-infused béchamel sauce – so far, so standard, apart from the béchamel which sounded interesting. But here’s the killer – instead of a bun, the burger was sandwiched between two crispy grilled cheese sandwiches!

Holy Cheezus burger

It sounded like a heart attack waiting to happen but I was dying to know what it looked and tasted like and was hoping someone else would order it (I just couldn’t justify that amount of calories myself!). Luckily my friend’s husband obliged and we were all able to marvel at the sight of cheese toasties wrapped around a burger. He said it was very good but very filling!
I chose a meal from the barbecue menu which was along the lines of what I ate at the Weber Grill restaurant in Chicago, and had the beef brisket. It had the texture of pulled pork (it's smoked for 12 hours) and was absolutely delicious.

Oreo doughnuts
We had the crab doughnuts to start as I was really curious to see what they were like, but the crab flavour was quite subtle and it tasted more like eating a plain (savoury) doughnut.

After that there was barely room for dessert but I had seen in a newspaper ages ago that the Blues Kitchen served deep-fried Oreo cookie doughnuts. My other half loves any kind of dessert involving Oreos so we were all excited to try this, but it was a little disappointing - basically a whole Oreo cookie inside a doughnut. I expected it to be a bit more gooey but it was quite dry - not bad but as I was already very full I probably shouldn't have bothered!

inside the Oreo doughnuts

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