Great Ribs and that’s no porky pie | Porky’s Bankside, 18 New Globe Walk, London, SE1 9DR
The bar at Porky’s was the one place that the octuplet stools felt comfortable. Photograph: Porky’s
When I first got a job on London’s Southbank back in the mists of time, there weren’t many local culinary delights to shout about. Sure there were a few OK pub lunches to be had and a couple of decent greasy spoons but that was all. How things have changed! The area has now been re-branded as Bankside and some great restaurants have popped up. They’re still out-numbered by the Prets and Starbucks of this world, but the independents are more than holding their own.
First came The Table, then Tsuru, Vapiano, even Gordon Ramsey took a gamble on the area and opened The Union Street Cafe. Mark Hix is also opening a Hixter – things are really on the up. Although it wasn’t any of these establishments that we went to review, it was Porky’s BBQ – the home to some good old Tennessee style meat.
New Globe Walk, as the name strongly suggests, runs next to Shakespeare’s New Globe theatre and around halfway down this road is Porky’s BBQ. As soon as you walk in you are welcomed by a brick bar with the resurant’s name displayed in lights. Decor is fairly standard, lots of exposed brickwork and distressed concrete. Light oak floors, vintage posters and filament bulbs complete the industrial theme. Admittedly we dined at 6pm and for once the sun wasn’t hidden behind a blanket of grey clouds, but we thought the back of the restaurant was very bright and maybe a little too formal. We reckon places like Porky’s BBQ should be dark n’ dirty (Big Easy in Covent Garden has pulled off the look almost perfectly).
The staff were very attentive and as we were shown to our table the waitress explained that she was drafted in from their Camden branch. It was fairly obvious that they had brought in experienced staff to make the new site run smoothly. We ordered a cocktail each and the waitress ran through the differences between a Memphis style BBQ’s and the excuse of a BBQ that most of us burn beyond recognition in our gardens (Big Fat Dan excluded – check out his Instagram). Well a Memphis BBQ is when the meat is cooked in a smoker (imported from Oklahoma) at low temperatures for a long time (up to 18 hours) in a dry rub to give a spicy kick. This ‘low and slow’ method sure is a winner, a method that Pitt Cue, Duke’s Brew & Que and BBQ Whisky Beer to name just a few, have mastered.
Let’s play spot the girlie drink!
The cocktails arrived and again mine was the more girlie of the two, how I always manage to choose the most effeminate drink is beyond me. My big apple sour £7.50 -Absolut, apple sauce, egg white, sugar and lemon juice was like an alcoholic apple pie. Whilst Saff’s Smokers rye £8 – Rittenhouse rye, smoke, egg white, lemon juice, sugar and bitters, was bursting with smoke and somehow tasted of Christmas.
I wouldn’t want to slip these Hush Puppies on my feet…
We found it quite difficult to order from ‘the warm up’ (starters) section, we wanted all of them. Eventually Saff went for the Pulled pork croquettes £4.50, served in the obligatory enamel bowls. These three beauties were packed full of light potato and a very generous amount of their smoked pulled pork. The deal maker for Saff’s starter was that they were cheeseless (regular readers will know that Saff can’t eat cheese) I, on the other hand, adore the stuff and simply had to order the Cheesy corn hush puppies £4.50. My three golf ball sized spheres of golden deep/fried corn batter loveliness were delicious. The cheese wasn’t too overbearing and there was a good balance of sweetcorn kernels. The actual corn batter is a little gritty, don’t worry that’s how it’s supposed to be. There are a few some veggie options on the menu also such as Quinoa and feta chilli £9.50 and a Memphis beanburger £5.95.
You can tickle me with these ribs any day!
Pull the other one its got pork on it
Main course or ‘the main event’ is really short, only three choices. Add to that three different burgers and a long list of sides (‘sideshow’). This makes decision-making so much easier, especially if you’re in a group and plan to share. We ordered the Memphis meaty ribs and tips £9.75,
the Pulled pork £8.95
and a side of Sweet potato fries £3.50
. The pork ribs were cooked perfectly and the meat slipped of the bone effortlessly. As mentioned before the spicy dry rub adds a blast of heat, whilst the homemade BBQ sauce adds that sticky sweetness. Talking of BBQ sauces, there are three bottles of it on the table. One labelled BBQ, Bad or BBd
depending on what table you sat (I think they had trouble with the Dymo
machine) was fairly runny and sweet. The Sopmop
was explained as BBQ vinegar but in reality was simply vinegar. And Chilli sauce
, thicker and much, much hotter!
Sweet potato… A real softie
The pulled pork did exactly what it says on the tin. It’s smoked for 18 hours, rough shredded and served with a toasted brioche bun and pickles. The portion size was good too – not so big that you feel overwhelmed but enough so that there’s some leftover to take home in a doggy bag (we made a pulled pork hash out of ours). The sweet potato fries were a little soggy in the middle, they never seem to crisp up like their non-sweet relatives. We’ve even tried triple cooked sweet potato chips at home with, let’s just say, interesting results.
Chocolate pecan pie loved to have a bit on the side…
Never in a month of Sundaes
Time to move on to the dessert or ‘the encore’ as the menu kindly calls them. Again the list is short, only three to choose from and fairly safe – no surprises here! I had a Chocolate pecan pie with squirty cream £5.85. This dessert was really rich, the pastry was crumbly, the filling tasted of quality bitter dark chocolate. My only criticism is that the pecan pieces were too small, I like big nuts (sounds wrong, doesn’t it!). Saff ordered the Strawberry shortbread sundae £5.50 – strawberries, vanilla ice-cream, a super sweet strawberry sauce and an unbelievably light homemade shortbread all shoe-horned into a big sundae glass.
is brilliant new addition to Bankside. The prices are good value and the turnaround is quick (but not rushed) so It could even be an option for lunch. I’ve got a feeling that Porky’s BBQ
is going be seeing a lot more of us and our colleagues…
Pigs in space (only those of a certain age will get this caption)
18 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DR
Telephone: 0208 127 5120
Opening hours: Tues-Fri 12pm-3pm, 6-10pm (Fri -11pm)
Sat-Sun 12pm-11pm (Sun -10pm)
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Nearest station: Mansion House, Southwark or Canon Street (11 mins)
London Bridge (12 mins walk)
We ate at Porky’s as their guests, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.