With two Red’s True BBQ in Leeds and another in Manchester and Nottingham, the chaps behind this Texas inspired BBQ joint seem to have taken the North by storm. Now residing in the old Casa Negra site in Shoreditch (opposite Merchants Tavern) they are hoping to become the ‘go-to brand for authentic barbecue in the UK’.
To be fair, we visited on the their fourth official day of opening so the inevitable teething problems were present but it was the food that really let everything down. The menu is alarmingly huge, almost as big as the dining room, and utterly confusing.
We started with some housemade beef jerky (£3.50) which was quite minging. I should point out it was my first time trying jerky and I think it’s just definitely not for me.
Next up were chicken wings (£4.95) which arrived stretched out on the plate looking like frog legs; they didn’t look in the least bit appetising. Mac n cheese balls (£4.95) were nothing like the delightful MEATliquor ones – here there was way too much claggy cheese sauce and not enough macaroni.
For main, my gentleman companion ordered the donut burger (£12.95) mainly out of curiosity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m open to the donut thing – I tried a donut bacon sandwich at Bird and loved it. But here, the two steak patties, which were grey and completely overcooked, sandwiched between a not particularly good donut, were terrible. Not nice in the slightest. And the measly pile of fries lay there under seasoned and under cooked.
I went for a half rack of Memphis-dry St Louis ribs (£14.50) served “naked/dry” with a side of grilled cheese Texas toast. The ribs were super fatty making them a tad sickly along with the sweet and salty dry rub. The cheese on toast tasted like cheese on toast – but I’ve made better at home.
There’s pretty good BBQ available all over the shop in London at the minute. Sadly, I don’t think Red’s True BBQ has brought anything new, or particularly nice, to the party. The staff are certainly sweet and charming, but the food left me reaching for the Gaviscon.