Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crabshack – Covent Garden

Saturday hubby and I decided to visit Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crab Shack in Covent Garden. With our impending US trip in less than 3 weeks we decided we needed to acclimatise our palates to American Fare. Plus we absolutely love BBQ, Seafood and American cuisine – this place had all 3.

 

We booked a table via TopTable.co.uk for 4pm, when we turned up we were promptly shown to our table. Note: if you have a big butt, lots of shopping or just puffy clothes the tables are tightly packed and you could end up dragging people’s dinner off their tables, or your clothes through their actual dinner. I was lucky that the table next to me was empty – not that I have a big butt mind (see my running posts as proof!)

 

The décor inside was great, very well designed and very in keeping with the crab shack feel, nice touch were the neon lobster signs in cages hanging from the ceiling. Music was a rousing mix of bluegrass, jazzy Americana, not too loud but enough to get your toe tapping.

 

I’d already spent a constructive afternoon before we booked looking at the menu to decide which cocktails to try, I’d whittled it down to 3 and started with the Margarita Slushie that consisted of Cabrito 100% agave white Tequila, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Briottet orange liqueur, lime & white sugar. The tequila had quite a kick, but this was a nice refreshing start.

Hubby started with a Big Easy Larger, which was actually Scottish even with the name Harviestoun Schiehallion.

 

For food we decided to share some Deep Fried Voodoo Shrimp with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce to start. The sauce was red and this confused me, couldn’t tell what it tasted like as was too scared to try too much in case it was spicy 😉

The prawns were good – juicy & tasty, a great way to start.

 

For main we decided to go seafood, as we do BBQ meat a lot, but we love Crab & Lobster too, so we opted for the Lobster Bake consisting of Half 1½ lb Lobster, Peel ‘n’ Eat Jumbo Shrimp, Mussels, Crab Claws & New Potatoes cooked in Garlic Sauce, and hubby had Crabshack Combo consisting of Peel ‘n’ Eat Shrimp, Crab Claws, Mussels, Clams & New Potatoes cooked in Hot ‘n’ Spicy Sauce. We also ordered a side order of Mash & Gravy – just because!

At this point I also ordered my second cocktail – Boozy Juice Calle 23 100% agave white Tequila with Watermelon juice, fresh-pressed at the bar.

 

When the main dish turned up it was a little overwhelming and I was worried I wouldn’t even make a dent. I shouldn’t have been concerned!

Lobster Combo

Lobster Combo

The Jumbo prawns were MASSIVE, the two in the dish would have been a meal in itself. Everything tasted great.

The plastic bibs came in handy given the amount of claws we had to crack.

Phill needs protection!

Phill needs protection!

 

This dish was very reminiscent of paella, but it had new potatoes and it may have been good to offer rice as an option. The potatoes were the only thing I left.

 

 

We demolished the main course easily. Waiting staff were good at emptying the shell bowls, as we filled them to brimming!

 

When it came to dessert the menu was a little limiting with not a lot of choice, but this was a perfect excuse for cocktail number 3.

X-rated shake Grasshopper comprising of Mozart Dry chocolate spirit, Edmond Briottet mint liqueur, milk & chocolate ice cream.

This was delicious but it pushed me offer the edge from being pleasantly full to stuffed and I couldn’t finish it.

 

At just over £100 for a starter, 2 mains + a side, & 3 drinks each it wasn’t bad value. If I hadn’t had the cocktails it would have been super value, but not as fun!

 

Definitely plan to go back as there were lots of other exciting dishes to try – I have my eye on the Taste-O-Rama!

 

Note: if one of your male party need the toilet they may be gone for some time, apparently it’s halfway to china or something 😉

 

Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crab Shack is located at 12 Maiden Lane, London, WC2E 7NA

Telephone 020 3728 4888

For reservations only – email coventgarden@bigeasy.co.uk

 

Opening hours
Monday to Wednesday
Restaurant 12 noon – 11.30pm
Bar bites until 12am

Thursday to Saturdays

Restaurant 12 noon – 12.30am

Bar bites until 1am

Sunday 12 noon – 11pm

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Smokehouse, Islington – A birthday celebration

For my impending 35th Birthday hubby treated me to a meal at Smokehouse in Islington. I love meat and smoked meat is even better!

We had a reservation for 6pm on a Saturday, just a short walk from Highbury & Islington station and we were promptly seated in an empty restaurant, evening sittings start from 6pm.

Our waitress was very friendly, talked us through the specials and made recommendations which we followed. The menu had a Korean infusion twist, and we chose the following…

Starters

Chopped Brisket Roll + Gochujang

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Chopped Brisket Roll + Gochujang

This was amazing. I got very giddy when it was placed in front of me as it looked like my second favourite food – croquette potatoes! Sorry, I know, but I can’t help it – I love them!

This was not a croquette potato, it was just a deep fried brisket roll, but it was delicious. Before I ordered I checked what gochujang was, and it is a spice Korean mayonnaise. It complimented the roll well, and was very tasty. I was reluctant to share this dish with hubby, but I knew I just had to try what he had.

Thai Chicken Livers, Toast & Duck Hearts

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Thai Chicken Livers, Toast & Duck Hearts

I only had a little taste of this, but it did include a duck heart. This was the first time I have ever tried one, it was a little chewy! The chicken liver pate was tasty but looked like it the dish would have benefitted from having more on the toast.

Main Courses

Hubby & I chose these together to we could share half & half.

Smoked Duck, Kimchi & Potato Cake

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Smoked Duck, Kimchi & Potato Cake

This was delicious, the duck looks like it is mainly cooked through the smoking process. (I was initially worried it was raw!). I had tried Kimchi when I was in China once, and this version was far superior giving the dish a nice little kick. The egg was a nice touch on the top. I was reluctant to share the other half of this.

“The Sphere” Smoked Hame Hock, Pigs Cheek & Cuttlefish Romesco

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“The Sphere” Smoked Ham Hock, Pigs Cheek & Cuttlefish Romesco

The Sphere looked like a giant arancini, it came on a bed of pasta, and was extremely tasty. By the time I moved onto my half I was getting stuffed. This dish was quite rich, and the smoked pig cheek lardons were to die for.

Side Dish

This dish was recommended by our waitress and we heard a few of the other servers recommending to tables around us. I’d never had goat before, so was game to try it.

Goat Bolognese

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Goat Bolognese

The goat was slow cooked and was so soft and stringy it melted in the mouth. It tasted quite similar to lamb (in my opinion), and I really liked this dish. Again it was quite rich, and this would have been nice as a meal on it’s own. Perhaps with the Lamb Stovies, another side that I lusted after, but was glad we didn’t succumb as I was almost beat by the end of the main course…

However, I just had to try a desert!

Double D Tart

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Double D Tart

Similar to a Double Decker (but for legal reasons abbreviated to Double D) this had a rice crispie base, nougat middle, peanut butter(?) and a chocolate top. Accompanied by pistachio ice cream. I was a little disappointed with this as it didn’t really taste of anything, and was troublesome to get through the crispy base without catapulting a piece across the table.

Drinks

Hubby loves a good craft beer, so he sampled at least 3 different beers all served in 2/3 pints, including the Redhook Longhammer & Rogue Dead Guy Ale. He finished his evening with an aperitif of Express Coffee Liqueur, which he discovered was basically Tia Maria – oh how I laughed!

I had a couple of glasses of the Nyetimber Classic Cuvee 2008, which was lovely, and an Aperol Spritz.

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The meal for two came to around £120 including a 12.5% service charge. The staff were very friendly, knowledgable and helpful that I had no qualm with the level of the service charge. The restaurant is small and intimate and a nice atmosphere. It has a bar area, and with over 20 craft beers definitely worth a revisit  for hubby to try a few more. Plenty of other dishes on the menu to try on a future visit too. Can’t wait!