I had been meaning to try it for some considerable time. I am, as they say very late to the party. Better late than never.
It was one of those days when I needed to leave the office and do something else, something normal, after ploughing through 5 sets of licences for alterations and listed building consent documents.
It was 12.15 and it struck me that 12.15 is not a time when sensible people go out for lunch. It is a time when I go out for lunch having not managed to organise myself in time for breakfast and when the Little Shop of Horrors voice in my head saying “FEED ME” gets too loud to ignore.
And for some reason, maybe the biting cold, I thought ribs. I don’t queue. I don’t go to places with loud music as a general rule and I really don’t like to stand around groups of 30-year-old Soho-esque trendy types who look at me with pity, thinking that perhaps some ill-guided hispter has arranged to meet their mother at an inappropriate place.
So I thought that 12.15 would be safe. You’d probably walk past it if you didn’t know. Funny lace net grandma curtains, and an upstairs bar, with seven or eight seats at the window, it looks like it was an old and tiny Soho pub.
I felt it was absolutely necessary to have the ribs, to see what all the fuss was about. It comes with coleslaw and pickle and some decent bread. It also comes with a side and I chose the green chilli coleslaw.
The coleslaw was without a shadow of doubt the best I have ever tasted. It was a sort of Thai version of coleslaw hot, sweet sour, lime and crushed peanuts. It was fabulous. Thinly sliced cabbage, radishes and I don’t know what else.
But the star attraction was of course the ribs. Show-stopping, luscious and wonderful. My neighbour struck up a conversation with me (this is what happens when you dine alone) and told me that he had been torn between the ribs and the pulled pork. I told him that I had had the same dilemma so we both decided that we had to come back to do the menu proper justice. But the ribs were just wonderful. The sauce was not too sweet or sticky and the meat was tender and crispy and in part, fell off the bone.
A very friendly chap, who turned out to be the owner, asked me, no, implored me to have dessert. I told him about the 10% wardrobe problem and he let it go. But we did have a very interesting chat.
I have never before heard of the Mangalitsa pig. Who has? This is a special breed, whose fat does not go rancid as quickly as other breeds. The intention is to create dry-aged ribs from these pigs. It has never been done and you heard it here first.
Not only that, but the lovely Jamie Berger (for it was he) recognises that the noisy, bustling, queueing thing is not for everybody and is considering a proper grown-up restaurant where they will take reservations. We love him.
This is not hype, this is real. The ribs are superb. From what I could see other people’s food it also looked excellent. I will be going back very soon to work my way through the rest of the menu. Because I really need.