Giving It Both Barrels | Shotgun BBQ, 26 Kingly Street, London W1B 5QD
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, unless you have 7,000 hours in the day and (£7,000 in the bank), it’s pretty impossible to keep up with all new restaurants popping up left right and centre – especially in London.
Take Shotgun, from the people behind The Lockhart in Marylebone, it opened mid October 2015 and we only managed to get there a mere 15 weeks later. Even worse than that, we haven’t yet been to their first restaurant.
The name Shotgun is the nickname of the most common residential architecture in the American Southeast, these houses are long and narrow. Legend has it that you could open the front door of these ‘shotgun’ houses and shoot straight down the corridor to the backdoor. The long narrow restaurant and bar area pays homage to this style of housing. It makes a welcome change that the decor isn’t all industrial style, in fact it’s all rather plush and refined.
Now I’m free from the restraints of the old day job, I was able to get there early to meet Neil for a drink at the bar. I found him having a bit of a whisky taster session which I myself ended up getting involved in. Although I was mostly just in awe of the girl behind the bar who seemed to know everything there was to know on the subject that is whiskey.
Not having much time to examine the cocktail menu properly, I went for a Smoked Mimosa (£8) and then another one later which they bought to me by mistake (not that I’m complaining). A refreshing yet smoky drink and it felt soooo soft, I made Ade have one too.
Still feeling full from an epic lunch at Yauatcha reviewing the Chinese New Year menu, I was feeling slightly anxious about wasting this opportunity of a feast. I left Ade and Neil to take over the decision-making on the menu front, I knew I was in good hands and it’s not like anything would go to waste…
So we kicked off with Pimento cheese (£4.50) with little Ritz crackers, Hot Tamales (£7.50) and their signature dish of Pig’s ear with sour pancakes (£8). Envisioning something like Duck & Waffle‘s little crispy bar snack bites, we were somewhat shocked when what landed in front of us was an actual pig’s ear. A floppy, cartilagey ear. Pet shop memories from my childhood came flashing back, plus the realisation that this dish must cost them next to nothing to produce, they’re obviously not silly. But the flavour was fantastic, thanks to the barbecueyness of it but the texture was, quite frankly, just too weird. I must add how lovely the crockery is at Shotgun and no enamel in sight.
Moving on to the main dishes and what I, personally, was here for – meat. The boys ordered the Ox cheek (£18) and the Combination plate (£24) that comprised of USDA brisket, belly pork and duck breast. Simply unfaultable. Then there was the Jacob’s ladder special (£12 for 150g), for me, this was the clear favourite, possibly because it’s the first bit of meat that I put in my mouth, or maybe because I’m sure the waiter mentioned something about it being prepared with a coffee rub. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t really matter – it’s just really bloody good.
With the combination plate you get two ‘free’ sides, we went for the special of BBQ black beans (£4), Potato salad (£3.50) and Cucumber salad (£3.50). Quite refreshing to see no heavy carby side dishes on the menu, you really don’t need them with food like this. Even the cucumber salad was brilliant, just slippery slithers of cucumber with chilli but so good and obviously not filling in the slightest. The lighter options were far easier to handle, those beans are amazing, I took the second to last spoonful, not wanting to look greedy in front of Neil.
Massive error. The bowl was cleared away at the end of the meal with that last spoonful of smoky heaven remaining.
No one else took it.
I could have had it.
It’s things like this that bug the hell out of me.
We were defeated. As Neil remarked, there was enough leftovers to make an epic sandwich the next day. We promised a photo of said sandwich but ended up making a hash of it instead (as in we made an actual hash, not that we can’t even construct a sandwich).
Both our cheeky chappy Geordie waiter and the waitress were encouraging us to try dessert, even though all three of us were totally against the idea. When the Pineapple delight (£3.50) special was described as ‘like the iced buns you had at school but mega’, we just had to go for it. Between three that would be easily doable, right? Oh no, again, one little pathetic mouthful was left over as we admitted defeat and the vanilla and hazelnut mingled soft serve melted away sadly.
So, jumping on new restaurants the day they open or waiting until you have the time doesn’t make any odds. If it’s good, it’ll be good for ever.
Shotgun, 26 Kingly Street, London W1B 5QD
Telephone: 0203 137 7252
Kitchen: Noon – 11.30
Bar: Noon – midnight
Book a table online here
Nearest station: Oxford Circus (4 mins walk)
We paid for our meal at Shotgun, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.