Big Easy Bar, Bar-B-Q and Crabshack, 332-334 Kings Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 5UR
The first thing that hits you as you walk through the door is the smell… And yes, in a good way! The air is filled with the scent of smokey BBQ sauce and the occasional waft of sizzling char-grilled fajitas. We think we must have died and gone to BBQ heaven!
We were there to try out the 2lb Lobster ‘catch of the day’ special but not before we sampled a couple of cocktails. I was a bit, shall we say, damp from our 15 minute march from the nearest tube and was in need of a long, refreshing drink to quench my thirst. The Kickass Lemonade, £7.45, served frozen and made with vodka and freshly squeezed lemons was just the job… Kind of like a sharp alcoholic slush puppy with a rim of sugar – thirst was quenched. Saff was persuaded to try the cocktail of the week, The Passionate Fling, served in a martini glass, her drink was sweet and fruity and contained a whole passion fruit, lychee and apple juices and a big glug of vodka.
As we sipped, or as in my case gulped, our drinks we scanned the restaurant… The chairs are dark and chunky and the tables covered in red and white plastic sheets, and with all the BBQ sauce sploshing around we could see why! It has an old-established feel, a mixture of Texan steak house and that famous TV bar where ‘everyone knows your name’. We really felt that we were a million miles from home – even the music, Blues and US rock, adds to the illusion. That’s until said illusion was shattered by the sight of an extremely drunk Chelsea local taking a p**s between a top of the range BMW and Merc outside – maybe he had been drowning his sorrows after hearing that Public nightclub was closing?
We took our time reading through the BBQ proof plastic coated menu – and thought the prices were very reasonable considering we’re on the Kings Road. We had seen the lobster and ribs delivered to a nearby table and knew that the portions were huge, so we played safe and ordered a portion of “Voodoo” Chicken Wings, £7.95, served with blue cheese dipping sauce & a celery stick. These weren’t as hot as the portion we’d tried recently at The Breakfast Club but the flavours were defiantly better. Just one sniff and the spices go up your nose and tickle the back of your eyes. The skin was perfectly crispy and the coating spicy enough to make your lips and tongue tingle without setting your throat on fire.
At this point Saff mentioned they should have hand wipes (those Voodoo wings were messy) and as if by magic the waitress brought some over… Is she psychic or was the table bugged? Another trivial fact, the original ‘Milky Bar Kid’ from the 60s was at table near us. He even posed for photos, still ‘milking’ his 15 minutes of fame all these decades later.
As mentioned earlier we were here to try the 2lb lobster, £19.95, specially flown in from Nova Scotia. We thought that this would be enough to share, and we were right. The silver platter was massive and the steamed lobster came with a lovely crisp bowl of salad, a bucket of hand-cut steak house fries and a choice of sauce Thermidor, Sweet Chilli or Hollandaise – all for under £20, bargain!
We also decided to share a half slab of 500% Extra Meaty St. Louis Style ribs, £15.90. These amazing are ribs slow smoked over Hickory wood to ‘fall off the bone’ perfection and then drowned in BBQ sauce. Basically what you get with the St. Louis cut is more meat than on the Baby Back ribs… The St. Louis cut also has more fat which keeps the meat moist and succulent. Saff said she could’ve eaten them all night and I think she wanted the lot. We’d heard many great reports of these ribs and they were correct, but nobody mentioned just how good the BBQ Beans were! (Here’s a little plug for The Big Easy’s ‘all you can eat rib night’, on Monday night from noon till close, £14.95. (Click here for the full list of their other specials.) It was at this point the live band kicked in, not that we saw them. Their set included Nirvana, The Kings of Leon and The Black Crows, only adding to the establishments road-house feel.
Before dessert we ordered a couple more drinks from the impressive cocktail menu, I had Muddy Water, £7.45, Vodka muddled with fresh lime, blackberries and sugar, topped with berry liqueur and soda. This fruity little number hit the spot although the blackberry pips kept blocking the straw and getting stuck in my teeth. Saff played safe with the classic Mint Julep, £7.95. Jack Daniels muddled with fresh mint and sugar served in a frosted Julep tin – she loves a tin or tankard, you should have seen how excited she got when she was served a pint in a tankard in Pub du Vin in Brighton.
With the lobster and ribs settling nicely in our stomachs, we decided to go for a blowout pud each… Saff ordered The Taste of the West ‘Gold Medal’ Chocolate fudge cake, £5.50, one of a new range of desserts made in small batches by a small (and secret) Cornish company. This makes these desserts as close to being homemade as commercially possible, and it shows! Saff said that the dark rich sponge and thick gooey sauce made it the best chocolate fudge cake that she’s ever had – and she’s had a few!
I couldn’t resist the famous freshly home-made Apple Cinnamon Waffle, £5.50, served with vanilla ice-cream and a sweet biscuit basket and drizzled with a syrup, butter and caramel sauce . The waffles were crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle, light yet filling (I know that sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it’s true. Buy one and see for yourself). The apples were great too, I later read that they are pan-fried in butter and brown sugar. No wonder they were good, for the taste buds that is, not the waistline!
As we settled up and prepared for our wander back to the tube station we were given confirmation of new branch opening on our more usual stomping ground of Maiden Lane, Covent Garden. We may have to wait till September but we’ll be there with bibs on… When’s The Big Pig Gig all you can eat BBQ night again?
Big Easy Bar Bar-B-Q and Crabshack,
332-334 Kings Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 5UR
Telephone 020 7352 4071
Sunday to Thursday 12 noon – 11pm
Friday & Saturdays 12 noon – 12.00am
Nearest tube: South Kensington