Thursday, 20 December 2012

Dukes Brew and Cue and MEATmission - The Hipster Diaries - Dec 2012

This month, I'm mostly loving the Hipster Express. The whizzy new London Overground train line delivering Camberwell casuals into the dark beating heart of hip Hoxton since, well, Sunday last..

In less than 25 minutes I can be surrounded by all the skinny jeaned architects, students and wanna be design agency head honchos I could ever possibly need. Like exotic aeroplane trips that take you from the safe and known before dropping you unprepared into new and exciting worlds, the new Gingerline has thrown me into the mean streets of Dalston, with no chance to acclimatise from Peckham's green and verdant lands.

And the reason for this unprecedented exploration? Food of course…

Now we may have been travelling to (culturally) the other side of the world, but they still have to eat in Hoxton we scoffed nervously on the tube. Don't they? We'd soon find out.

Day one delivered us to the new home of a former Peckham resident, possibly the equivalent of eating pizza in Shanghai, but I wanted to ease myself in to the local cuisine gently. Much has been written about the might MEAT burger-based empire (some of it by me) and as I've just promised not to write about burgers again, I won't say anything about them, other than they are as you'd expect and hope.

Once you get over the most ambitious of their spaces, a wonderfully deconsecrated Welsh Mission chapel with a Gilbert & George inspired backlit ceiling, you'll be straight into a broadly as expected MEATmenu. The burgers are there, the sides are there and the cocktails are lurking with faint menace.

Not seen before and worthy of note were the Monkey Fingers, thickly battered strips of chicken doused in a hot and vinegary sauce, like boneless buffalo wings, served with a (too) mild blue cheese sauce. We continued onto sodden white submarine rolls filled with succulent slow roast beef and gravy. This was cheap and cheerful wonder-food, tasting like the white bread you'd use to soak up the last of the gravy at a resolutely home style Sunday lunch. Hellishly unhealthy, mopping up the accompanying dish of gravy with salty skinny chips, but after a couple of cocktails truly the food of gods.

Duke's Brew & Cue
Further north, the illuminating light of the Overground has touched parts other gentrifiers couldn't reach and brought hipsters and prosperity (or possibly only hipsters) to Haggerston. I've been assured that there's more to the area than a fixie bike shop and an espresso bar but that was by a man with a handlebar 'tache leaving me dubious to say the least.

The rough wood panelling of Duke's Brew & Cue (in recent history almost certainly a much less salubrious drinking hole) surrounds a new to the location micro-brewery cum bar cum restaurant. It's like a million and one Williamsburg hangouts (Fette Sau in Brooklyn is definitely one of their inspirations) and is currently still a massive hit with the locals. Even on a rain drenched Wednesday early, early evening we only just managed to squeeze into one of the unreserved bar tables.

I've been a couple of times, once for a so-so brunch and a pretty reasonable (and gargantuan) burger, the second for ribs.. As you'd expect with a name like Brew & Cue, you're only really here for the ribs.

We split two orders of the home smoked ribs, one beef and one pork. This was seemingly what most of the place was doing so I'm unsure why they don't offer that as a menu option. Beef ribs sadly were sadly cooked too hot, too quick for me. The well flavoured meat was cut through with just too many strands of hard, unyielding fat to make it as easy as it should have been to stripmine the bone of every juicy morsel. The pork ribs were much better, coming with a lovely deep flavoured meat and nutty hard bones to gnaw.

Sides were a mixed bag too. A cheap and cheerful mac'n'cheese didn't try to compete with the richness of the ribs, complementing them perfectly with a comforting blandness, house fried pickles and okra were just bad. Reminicent of the sort of deep fried generic vegetable sides you'd get in a Harvester or a Toby Steakhouse.

The food promised so, so much. In reality, it delivered some. As a place to hang out with locals, it comes as a strong recommendation. The bar staff were also excellent, though the servers a little harried. The cocktails are great and the brews on tap are also well recommended, strong, punchy and self assured. It's a shame that the kitchen doesn't quite live up to it.

 The roof of MEATmission... try looking at that after too many Peckham Negronis...

    A very bad shot of some ribs... blow it, you know what ribs look like...

Duke's Brew and Que on Urbanspoon

MEATmission on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Well, that's the first time I've heard Peckham described as verdant! I live so close to Denmark Hill station I can hear the trains and I've yet to sample the new line but it is tempting me. So quick to Clapham Junction too.