The Blues Kitchen in Brixton is a restaurant/bar/gig venue just off the well beaten track of Brixton Road. Indeed as you walk up Acre Lane to The Blues Kitchen, which is housed in the former site of Electric Social, the lights of the Ritzy – which once famously declared joy at the death of the tyrannical Thatcher – become a mere twinkling memory.
The exterior of The Blues Kitchen, with its fading signage and exposed brickwork, is immediately welcoming and when the big glass doors are flung open for you it feels like you’re walking into an American bar where everyone knows your name – just without the kitsch. I sat down in one of the booths and chose a nice cold beer from the range of local beers that they have on offer, and ordered my food.
The Rad Stack is The Blues Kitchen burger of the month. It’s a 7oz T-bone steak patty, topped with Applewood cheddar, brisket, bourbon onions, baby-back rib, lettuce, tomato, pickle and DJ BBQ’s sauce from Planet Damn. It sounds impressive and so I decided to make it mine.
I’ve never been to New Orleans, in fact the closest I’ve ever been was a week on the west Florida coast where I could have waved, and probably, days later that wave would have ended up on Bourbon Street. However, I hoped this burger might take me there. If it didn’t though I figured I’d be back for their Gumbo or Jambalaya soon enough anyway.
I sipped my beer, and tapped my fingers and feet in time to the tunes that made the atmosphere of the venue just so, and as such I was in a perfectly relaxed mood as a selection of meats and accompaniments in the middle of a bun and speared through its heart with ribs, with fries, coleslaw and a side of brisket beans, was delivered by my waitress, along with a second beer.
I wisely decided to tackle the Rad Stack with a steak knife rather than hack it with a butter knife, or worse, pick it up and try to bite into it whole.
The t-bone steak burger (I’m not a fan of the word patty – it’s not McDonalds after all) came rare and it danced on my tongue as the juices and BBQ sauced fought with the Applewood for attention. The brisket fell apart, and the bourbon soaked onions were magnificent.
The coleslaw was made with red cabbage which added some much needed colour. Fries, buns, and burgers aren’t the rainbow of visual delight as we all know, so this touch was welcome. I also had a side of brisket beans. Beans, with brisket in…like beans and sausages from your childhood – but amazing and made with real meat.
For my final beer my waitress, who was truly the friendliest waitress I’ve met, decided to order a beer for me based on my previous choices and I have to confess, it was the best of the three I had and the first two were pretty good.
When I got offered the dessert menu I had to regretfully decline, but not before instructing the very friendly waitress to go to YouTube that evening and search the words ‘Wafer Thin Mint’.
The Blues Kitchen is a great place to go with friends for a really positive and relaxing evening, and you should also check their event listings for some amazing live music.