The trend for upmarket American BBQ is showing no sign of stopping, which suits me just fine. It’s delicious, meaty and generally inexpensive, although certainly not the choice for anyone even remotely health-conscious. Unfortunately, it can be hard to pick out the decent restaurants from London’s ever-sprawling meatscape, where lots of places concentrate more on their own hype than decent ingredients, relying on greasy gimmicks (like infinity-fried chips) and clever branding to prop up those Tripadvisor stars. (Lazybones, Farringdon, I am looking at you.)
The Joint’s restaurant in Marylebone is brand new, and follows the roaring success of its pitch at Brixton Market. Famous for its 16-hour pulled pork, I chose it for dinner because Maxine, my lady-date for the evening, was heading home to Qatar the next day, where piggy products are illegal. In her week home the girl’s already managed to put away half her bodyweight in bacon, but there was a still a little more work to do to truly satisfy the cravings until her next trip back in January.
The restaurant was quiet when we arrived at 5:45pm on Saturday night, so we picked seats in front of the ENORMOUS technicolour peacock. I embarrassed myself immediately by telling the waitress how much I liked the pheasant, but she did tell us a charming story about the graffiti artist. I think she said he was Brazilian, but apparently he carefully painted the head before plugging in his headphones and going apeshit mental all over the body with spraycans. He was so frenzied, she said, they all thought he was listening to some really hardcore D&B, but when they asked afterwards he said he was just listening to an audiobook to improve his English.
The seating is arranged into several long benches and come with built-in ice buckets, which I suspect the staff will end up hating as we overheard several customers ask what they were for. But hey, that’s what you get for being an innovator.
In the spirit of
greed curiosity, we managed to try about half the menu between us. There are five mains, excluding the vegetarian option, which in a place like this simply is not worth mentioning. There are pulled pork/shredded chicken options in BBQ (with candied apple bacon, slaw and salad) and Asian (spring onion, chili, ginger, slaw and salad) – all £8.50 – and a soft, shredded short rib burger with smoked aioli, bacon relish and salad at £9.50.
Max opted for the BBQ pork, which was enormous and genuinely some of the best I’ve had in London (that’s better than the Breakfast Club, Red Dog Saloon, Bodean’s and Porky’s):
I chose the beef, which was also soft, flavoursome and spectacularly-proportioned. I actually preferred it to the French Dip shredded ox cheek burger at the Hawksmoor Bar, which is quite an accolade. It was so tender it could reasonably have been ordered for somebody with no teeth.
A special mention goes to the buns, which I’ve always believed are the secret yet sadly oft ignored key to the perfect meatwich. The pork and chicken come piled in homemade vanilla and fig buns, and my short rib burger came swaddled in the doughy folds of a multi-carbed monster: a roll made from both mashed potato and bread.
We also ordered a few sides, including fries (£2.70, unremarkable), onion rings (£4.50, fine but overpriced) and BBQ riblets (£4.50, tender as balls. It was like the meat was running off the bone and into my mouth to give my tongue an erotic massage.)
All the sides come down the dumbwaiter in little packages of greaseproof paper, which I suppose is a nice spin on the crockery-free trend. Personally, I prefer to eat off an actual plate, but I suppose it saves on hoiking the dirties back up to the kitchen.
A pet hate of mine is being charged extra for sauces – well-lubed food should come as standard – so it’s nice that the Joint is generous with its condiments. Squeezy bottles of ketchup, mayo, BBQ and chili BBQ sauces were all offered up at no extra cost.
We visited the Joint on a Saturday night and spent £50 between two, including two mains, three sides and a bottle of white wine. It’s literally so new you can’t even find it on Google Maps, but it was nowhere near as busy as it deserved to be on a Saturday night, so go and try it before all the locals find out about it! The full menu is on the website, and the restaurant can be found at 19 New Cavendish Street, W1G 9TZ, just off Marylebone High Street.
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in East London and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.