Dukes Brew & Que, 33 Downham Road De Beauvoir Town Hackney London N1 5AA
Hackney is not a place we venture to often, but since discovering Dukes Brew & Que, that may change that. In fact, we have already returned once.
A bookable, yes, you heard us right, bookable BBQ restaurant. Home to the Beavertown Brewery, so a great range of beer, and some of the best cocktails we’ve had in a long time.
Dukes have taken over what was previously an old pub, refurbished it and is now serving up ribs, sliders, burgers… You get the gist, with smoking equipment imported from Oklahoma.
Cosy inside, a real American feel, a bustling bar and open kitchen, the smell of smoked meat fills the air. Odd paraphernalia is scattered around, out table was overlooked by a frightening looking baby in a pram. Not sure what it’s all about, but we like it.
The menu is short, and we wanted everything on it. On the first visit they were out of their best-selling beef ribs so we opted for Pork £10.25-14.75. Served with slaw on a tray a la MEATliquor (although this is commonplace in the US).
They were so very good, charred, sticky, both sweet and spicy, succulent meat. Deceptively filling though, so I took one home and it was surprisingly even better the next day. On our second visit the beef ribs were on (£12.50-£18.25) so we ordered them quick just in case.
Wow, they were huge, two massive slabs of meat from Irish cattle from the County Monaghan. Tackled only by using a knife and fork. As with the pork, these had a thick singed coating. The flavour so addictive we desperately tried to make them last for as long as we could, dabbing our fingers on our empty trays after to pick up every morsel. The slaw on the side was slightly disappointing though, doesn’t rival Pitt Cue‘s assortment of a chunk of bread and tasty pickles.
The Pulled Pork Sliders with KC sauce light & slaw (£3.50 each or 3 for £10) were perfect little buns of piggy joy, the pork is smoked for 24 hours, a deep-fried pickle to be discovered in the centre. Pure heaven.
Sides are good too, but didn’t beat the meat. We tried Fried Pickles and Okra with chipotle mayo dipping sauce £3.70, not as nice as MEATliquor‘s. Pit Smoked Baked Beans with Pork £2.50 were great, but could do with more seasoning and pork. Duke’s Seasoned Fries £2.90 received no complaints, perfect Cajun fries.
The Half Pint’s Mac & Cheese £3.90, wasn’t too stodgy but not overly cheesy either. Ade is still to find a better version than the posh one served up at Heliot. Whereas I will never get to know what any version tastes like as I can’t bear cheese. If anyone can cure me, do get in touch.
On the bar menu they serve Mac Daddy Balls – mac and cheese rolled into a ball and fried (£3.50 two balls per portion). Wishbone have a similar thing, although these were more of a nugget. We spotted the Diner has bought out a lollipop style, looks like they’re the next big thing…
The cocktails match the smokiness of the food so well, the Ginger Worm Smoky La Penca Mezcal mixed with ginger beer and bitters £7 tasted a little bit like medicine, but in a good way. Their take on a Dark & Stormy, the Dark & Spicy, a blend of Kraken’s spiced rum with ginger beer £7 was a top cocktail too. I could’ve drunk the entire list.
Ade opted out of cocktails and went for beer instead. Whereas I was reluctant to fill my belly up with gases, wanting to save very inch for meat. Although I am rather fond of aptly named Neck Oil. The waiter, a very friendly chap named Dani with the best US accent, who also bears an uncanny resemblance to a friend at work, suggested a pint of Belt & Braces. He described it as tasting like ‘butter and biscuits’, and it really did! So smooth and soft, wish they did thirds like the Draft House do so we could have sampled more.
Desert was possibly a step too far, Waffles with ice cream was pleasing, but a battle. Ade’s White chocolate brownie was everything that he loves in a dessert, a big chunk of moist, sweet brownie with creamy vanilla ice-cream on the side.
We love Dukes, what an incredible neighbourhood pub to have, you lucky residents of Haggerston. There’s even an outside covered eating area perfect for smokers, or ideal for summer dining. They serve brunch at the weekends which if we ever find ourselves in the area on a weekend, we’d definitely pop in.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 6-10pm
Saturday to Sunday 10am-3pm, 6-10pm
Book here or call on 0203 006 0795 after 4pm
to make a telephone booking.