Blues Kitchen has landed in Brixton, bringing its winning combination of live music, great cocktails and indulgent American soul food to another London area. It’s taken over the old site of Electric Social, a huge space in Brixton that was begging to be utilized to it’s full capacity and Blues Kitchen has filled every corner, which has been buzzing ever since it opened its doors.
On entering it looks like a classic Southern American drinking hole, with a long bar stretching the length of the huge room, an array of spirits lining the back of the bar and big gothic lanterns providing the dim, atmospheric lighting.
Having visited on a Friday evening and danced away to the live band on the upstairs floor, I couldn’t wait to eat there. So we settled into a booth on a wet Monday evening and took our time making our way round the Texan-influenced menu. The restaurant was full, with groups and couples not caring a bit about meatless Monday, chia seeds any other health trend that seems to litter our twitter feeds nowadays. Instead they enjoyed huge cuts of meat with sweet barbeque sauces and thick milkshakes filled with booze. When you enter, leave your calorie counter at the door and get ready to be taken on a journey of indulgence.
Perhaps our night was so long because it took us a good hour to choose from the menu, of which every dish looked like a hit. I love Southern American food and my life long dream is to travel round the Southern states eating gumbo in a variety of diners (with a cowboy from Texas of course.) But tonight was the closest I was going to get in London and it didn’t disappoint.
We split the crab donuts to start with. Served with chipotle ketchup, they were absolutely delicious. The Cajun spiced crab meat was full of flavor and the crisp donuts that encased it were warm and doughy. The cocktail I went for was The Hurricane, a fruity gin based drink.
Choosing the mains was a tough choice but as barbeque was a core proposition here at Blues Kitchen, we thought it would be criminal to leave without trying something from this section of the menu. We went for burnt ends & pulled pork which was served with fries and slaw. The burnt ends were incredible; chunky pices of beef brisket, glazed with beer and hickory barbeque sauce and slow smoked for 20 hours. We also split the buffalo bill burger which I couldn’t recommend highly enough; a chicken thigh, coated in spicy buffalo sauce, sandwiched between a bun with lettuce and tomatoes served with a blue cheese sauce on the side.
As my friend put it, this is ‘last meal on earth’ kind of food. No holds barred, just pure indulgence from a kitchen which is exploding with flavor and knows that slow and low, is the only way forward. All the meats were incredibly tender, with that delightful barbeque, smoky flavour.
Our waitress, who was brilliant by the way, told us we couldn’t leave without trying the Oreo cookie doughnuts and to be honest, we didn’t take much convincing. I can say hands down this was the best dessert I have eaten in years. It was so delicious, all decorum went out the window as we steamed through the bowl of donuts in front of us. Whole Oreo cookies were encased inside the donuts, which we dipped in the salted caramel sauce accompanying. Pure heaven. I will go back to Blues Kitchen Brixton for many reasons but especially for those donuts.
As we tucked into this dish a musician started strumming away on the stage behind us, filling the room with bluesy chords and vocals, which just completed the whole experience.
Blues Kicthen is a venue for any night of the week – mid-week dining, weekend dancing or chilled Sunday live music sessions. It’s a hit on every level and exactly what Brixton needed. They serve the kind of food that’s good for the soul and in my opinion, that kind of barbeque blow-out shouldn’t be reserved for special occasions. If you live in SW London, lucky you, but if not, jump on the Victoria line for a short journey to the deep south.