26 August 2014

Telling Porkies and Getting Lucky

Continuing the Deptford theme of this rainy bank holiday weekend, my brother, sister-in-law and I had hoped to go for lunch today at the Big Red Pizza Bus, which is, as you might expect, a pizzeria in a double-decker bus parked on Deptford Church Street. Sadly, they had to close unexpectedly today so we sought sustenance elsewhere.

I've been wanting to visit Porky's BBQ since they opened up in Camden, but as I never go to Camden, it took for Porky's to open a south-of-the-river branch, just next to the Globe, for me to try it out. My brother had booked a table for 3 pm, which, it turned out, was when the kitchen closed, which meant that before long, we were the only customers left. It's a shame they didn't mention this when he booked; the atmosphere would have been much buzzier if we'd arrived earlier.

Anyway, Porky's has all the right elements: cool branding, funky decor, and a great food and drink menu, with a particularly good list of cocktails and whiskeys. I ordered the Porky burger (£11.75), which came topped with both bacon and pulled pork, as well as cheese. How could I not? The burger was pretty epic. I forgot to ask for it to be cooked medium rare and it was definitely on the well side of medium, but the meat was juicy and the assorted piggy toppings were fab.

My brother enjoyed the chilliburger (£10.70), although my sister-in-law wasn't overly impressed with the ribs (£9.75), which could have been more tender. They were fine, but not must-come-back-right-away-for-an-encore amazing. The bro was also a little disappointed with the BBQ wings (£4.95) he had to start, which he said tasted like they had been microwaved. I would say that the very end of the lunch shift on a quiet, rainy bank-holiday Monday isn't the best time to try out a new restaurant, so I'd like to go back on a weekday evening to give the kitchen another go. And as I said, I was very happy with my burger, and Porky's is doing a lot of things right.

I'd also like to go back to try some of the cocktails — the PB&J Manhattan sounded amazing — but I really enjoyed my Virgin Tex Mex mocktail (£4.5), which involved pink grapefruit juice, mint, lime, chilli and salt, which was refreshing and had an impressive kick for a non-boozy drink.

Afterwards, we spent about 30 minutes wandering in the rain trying to find a pub with a free table, but didn't succeed, so instead we went to the new branch of the Breakfast Club on Southwark Street, just opposite Borough Market. I'd read in The Nudge that if you say, "I'm here to get lucky," you will be ushered downstairs to a secret speakeasy run by Mr Lucky, so we did. We were a little early, so we were Mr Lucky's first guests for the evening, and were taken down through the kitchen rather than the secret back stairs, but it was worth the effort — a little theatre is always fun.

Downstairs, it was pretty dark and there were a number of bar stools surrounding the three-sided bar. You could also grab one of the booths — even darker red-lit bunkers in the back — but we rather enjoyed the fairy-light-filled main bar area.

The cocktail menu is highly creative. I really wanted to order a Warner Brothers — which included popcorn-infused Monkey Shoulder, Licor 43, maple syrup, lemon and wheat beer — but the beer put me off. Instead, I went for the Rocket-Man: tequila, fresh rocket, mint, crème de cacao blanc, coconut water and lemon bitters. It arrived looking like a much healthier drink — kale juice perhaps — but was really tasty. The rocket added a nice kick, but the cacao and coconut notes still came through. It was a Monday so I didn't have a second but I tried some of my brother's Pea Diddy (nice name), which was made with rum, fresh peas & horseradish, lime and pineapple. Again, it tasted great. All of the cocktails are £8, so it's easy to see why the place is rammed on weekday nights; before long, it'll probably be tough to find a seat even on the coldest, rainiest bank holiday Monday.

Porky's BBQ. 18 New Globe Walk, London, SE1 9DR (Tube: London Bridge). Website. Twitter.

Call Me Mr Lucky @ The Breakfast Club. 11 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1RQ (Tube: London Bridge). Website. Twitter.

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