There’s nothing quite like the feel of the sun, the taste of a cocktail, and the smell of a smokin’ hot barbecue on a summer’s day (and night). Particularly when you don’t have to suffer the burn of coals or endure the responsibility of giving you and your mates food poisoning…because other, far more skilled people, are heating up the grill for you! And these restaurants are not just any old BBQ bosses – these are some of the best meat sizzler’s around!
1. Wünderlust, Deptford
Situated a stone’s (or coal’s) throw away from the DLR station, Wünderlust is undoubtedly one of Deptford’s best kept secrets…despite there being a massive, converted red double-decker bus situated at its entrance making it prettttty hard to miss. According to the founders themselves, ‘Wünderlust’ is a combination of passions, for music, food, drink, and refers to that ‘warm feeling you get from hanging out somewhere with a good vibe’. It stems from a word that apparently doesn’t exist in English: ‘Gemütlichkeit’ (we google’d it and it’s true), but seeing as we can’t google exactly how good the ‘vibes’ are, we had to go along and see for ourselves didn’t we…
Think East London-meets-music festival…resulting in the perfect summer day-drinking/evening chill-out spot. The menu (Austrian-influenced street food/BBQ cuisine) includes dishes made from the finest rare breed grilled meat (we’re talking hot dogs, steak and venison…), fresh fish and seafood (lobster, seriously), and English cheeses. All of which can be washed down with beers made from within 4 miles of the bar, natural & unfiltered wines and some spiffing cocktails (priced at £7.50, or at happy hour, £5!) in their stunning outdoor (or indoor if you’re that way inclined) area. Wüderlust is family friendly at the weekend, too – especially Wünderlust Sundays. So bring the family along for a roast, free movies in the bus, chilled vinyl, ‘bottomless’ bloody marys (those being not for the kids…) and lots of colouring in…
If your ‘vibe’ is less chill-out and more freak-out on the df, fear not. Every night they’re open you can eat, drink and dance to a disco sound track mixed each night by a variety of upcoming & established DJs. And with the fairy light-infused decor and the quirkiness of the big red bus, it’s a damn cool place for it too. Btw, that is picture of their salted grilled Mackerel, with potato, red cabbage & pea salad with caper butter cooked over a flame in their outdoor area…just in case we hadn’t sold you already (unlikely, we know).
Wünderlust , 30 Deptford Church Street, SE8 4RZ, open Wednesday & Thursday 5pm-11pm, Friday 5pm – 2am, Saturday 12pm – 2am, Sunday 12pm-10pm.
2. Smokehouse, Islington
If you hadn’t guessed already, barbecues in London do not just mean crispy burgers, pink sausages and a sad side salad that no one touches. And that’s no different when it comes to Smokehouse – the BBQ brainchild of Neil Rankin (something of a legend in the world of sizzling sensations). With global influences from Korea to Argentina, Smokehouse’s menu is almost worth walking on hot coals for. Featuring dishes such as Somerset goat tacos with chipotle aioli and green sauce and sticky pork belly, pak choi, red cabbage & bacon kimchi there is not a burnt hot dog in sight. And with desserts like Banana bread French toast with caramelised bananas and pecans & dulce de leche…we say farewell watery ice lollies and hello Smokehouse.
63–69 Canonbury Rd, Islington, N1 2DG
3. Caboose, Brick Lane
If you’re wondering what a ‘caboose’ is like we were, it’s the last carriage on a train, a rolling cabin where the railway workers of yesteryear used to eat, sleep, play cards and hang out. It’s also now one of East London’s yummiest smokehouse’s serving up some seriously delicious BBQ grub. Caboose’s menu is all about pairing slow smoked meat with fresh flavour combinations that complement this age-old way of cooking. This genius technique results in burgers like the the ‘3.10 to Yuma‘ (a 12hr. sliced Brisket, smoked over hickory wood chips with BBQ sauce, gem lettuce, house pickles, Mustard BBQ & blue cheese sauce) or the 10 hr pulled pork belly, served with sweet maple slaw (topped with sugared pecans), house salad, house pickles & oatcakes. Er, yah – our mouths are watering too. Plus, it’s surrounded by outdoor benches giving it that extra BBQ feel. Yippee!
4. Blue’s Kitchen
If you’re looking to overly indulge with grilled goodness, then you need to head right over to Blues Kitchen! They are big fans of the ‘slow-cook’ method, just like you will be once you try the impressive ‘Burnt Ends’, cooked for 20 hours in a beer sauce… mmm. If you’re feeling indecisive do not fear, as there are two ‘BBQ Combos’ for you to choose from. The standard ‘Blues BBQ Blow-Out’ is just £16.50 per person, which we think is a bargain for the melt-in-the-mouth treats it promises. Or, go that sizzling step further with the ‘Deluxe’ version, a definite winner for the beef lovers out there. With themed music nights and meat cooked over ‘fruit woods’ and served with a ‘secret recipe sauce’ (and who doesn’t love a secret?!), you will not be disappointed.
134-146 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3AR