Pettigrew organised a gathering of chums at The Big Easy in the King’s Road in London. Another of his famous “Monday night madness“ evenings which he suggested after spotting an offer for “all-you-can-eat chicken and ribs for £14.95 including a drink”. Now, as you know, your Doctor does not generally stoop so low as to be tempted by an all-you-can-eat offer but this was a special gathering of chums who were not often in olde London towne. We had a swift preprandial at Pettigrew’s pied-a-terre situated by the Thames River. Peckersniff, Dewdney, Freelove and of course the Doctor’s erstwhile, ever-present chum Fortescue were in tow. Suitably fueled, we trotted off, ready to tuck into lashings of ribs and chicken.
We received a friendly welcome from the young hostess on the door. The restaurant was crowded, busy, lively and humming with the sound of diners enjoying their night out. Red and white check, plastic tablecloths adorned the tables and eye-catching signs and witticisms adorned the walls pronouncing that this was “too much fun for the average man”.
This eatery was loud.
The music was loud.
The people were loud
and the décor was LOUD!!!
But then, this is a self-styled, American-themed restaurant, so what was one to expect?
Our jolly, smiling waitress whisked us downstairs. All tables were were taken with one exception. “You’ve got the last table!” she shouted over the hubbub. Diners laughed and joked, enjoying a fun night out. There was great jollity and merriment all round, aided by the friendly, smiling staff. Most tables cosseted large metal bowls filled with ribs and chicken, smothered in barbecue sauce which was not immediately appetizing. The menu offered a tempting Maine Lobster but as planned, one ordered ribs and chicken for all.
As we waited for our food, the live band took to the stage. Two chaps with guitars proceeded to batter one’s aural senses with a medley of songs which included “stuck in the middle with you” and Roy Orbison’s “pretty Woman”. They were entertaining and they were LOUD . The restaurant reverberated with lively chatter (or was it that people were shouting to be heard?) and one must admit it was most jolly. However, it would be more jolly for students and those somewhat younger than your dear doctor.
The chicken and ribs arrived piled high in our own large metal receptacle and smothered in dark brown, gelatinous, barbecue sauce. One extracted one’s chicken in a manner reminiscent of a protrusion from the stomach of a yet another victim in an “Alien” sequel. However, one’s hunger drove one on and everyone was protected by large plastic bibs upon which were emblazoned the words “CRAB” (see one’s daguerreotype). The chicken was….chicken, tasteless chicken. The barbecue sauce was …..barbecue sauce; sweet, sickly and not something that one would recommend. Yet one was hungry and so a portion of ribs was extracted from the morass, dripping in that monstrous, brown gloop. This was fairly vile fare for your poor doctor who fortunately had his chums to provide some good cheer.
Side dishes of beans and coleslaw accompanied the main “delectation”. The beans were lukewarm and sweet. Not to your doctor’s taste at all. One’s chums have healthy appetites however and we soon stared into the empty abyss of dark, gelatinous residue in our bowl which proceeded to congeal as it cooled. We waited for the next serving of our “all-you-can-eat” adventure. Eventually a young waitress arrived carrying some ribs on a metal serving plate. She poured them on top of the congealing, unappetizing sludge which soon enveloped them in its cold, sickly tendrils. She smiled and went on her way, “I’ll bring some more chicken!” she shouted over her shoulder.
We were shouting, trying to be heard over the music. As it was so loud, much of one’s conversation was limited to one’s immediate chums. Having eaten another helping of ribs, more out of hunger rather than desire, the meal ended. We chose not to have desserts on this occasion but those on other tables were devouring huge Ice Cream Sundaes and other such childish delights. Your doctor was not tempted.
So, with our stomachs full of brown gloop and meat, we departed for the more convivial, less rumbustious atmosphere of the taverne up the road. “hope it wasn’t too loud” smiled the waitress as we exited upstairs. Harrumph!
Dear readers, this is obviously not an establishment for your dear doctor. It may be “too much fun for the average man” but it is an abomination for someone seeking more genteel surroundings. Now, DEAR READERS! please do not get the impression that your Doctor is an utter snob or a killjoy. By no means does he wish to totally dismiss this establishment. It is just that one has moved on to appreciate more mature, genteel offerings in one’s life and this would have been a perfect venue many moons back in your doctor’s existence.
For families with young sproglets, students on a budget or youngsters desirous of a lively night out this is probably a piece of heaven. For those who might be tempted, one is perhaps given a glimmer of hope in that they apparently serve some fine steaks or so it is said in some of the reviews that one has read. Unfortunately, your Doctor knows of other establishments serving fine steaks which can be accompanied by fine wine in a refined atmosphere with no one screaming that they are “stuck in the middle” with one. Your Doctor could not be tempted to return and will leave it to the youngsters.
Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crabshack
332-334 Kings Road,
Tel: 020 7352 4071