If you fancy treating yourself to a good substantial dinner, take a trip down to a BBQ restaurant in London, hidden away in a rather residential corner just moments away from Haggerston overground station — Duke’s Brew and Que, a pub convert that may surprise your taste buds with some deep-south style American BBQ flavours. The place will sure to warm you up with a rustic decor of wooden tables and chairs, and decorative antlers at every nook and cranny.
Three Pork Ribs £17
Free-range from Norfolk, smoked over hickory & apple-cherry wood and served with coleslaw & pickled red onion
In contrast to the good level of personal service, the food were essentially no-frills — mainly smoked barbecue beef or pork ribs, pulled pork and burgers.
Having devoured the best pork ribs ever at Pitt Cue Co (another famous BBQ joint in London), I was a little concerned Duke’s wasn’t going to fare as well. Indeed it didn’t. The size was generous but the meat was a bit of a let down; somewhat tough and chewy, and does not fall off the bone as a good one should. It also wasn’t caramelised enough to make up a sticky layer of goodness.
Duke’s Greatest Hits £25
One 12oz. Beef Rib, Pork Rib and Pulled Pork with coleslaw, pickled red onions, BBQ sauce and Texas Garlic Toast
To get a taste of the best of Duke’s, I ordered the Greatest Hits that has a portion of each signature. Ladies, some of this will end up in the doggy bag. Gents, have this with a few pints of lager and you’ll go home a happy man.
The BBQ beef rib was a cut above average, surely surpassed the pork rib — all-round charred with a layer of sauce over an enormous piece with well cooked meat. It could’ve been a perfect ten with more succulence, however, not surprised it was named one of Time Out’s 100 best dishes in London 3 years ago.
Moving on to the pulled pork, and comparing it to Pitt Cue Co’s, I would go for Duke’s. The flavour was sweeter than it was tangy, does not taste over-charred as it did at Pitt Cue Co. Meat was tender as opposed to those on the ribs.
Customer Service — Duke’s were pretty good at accommodating our group of seven. Our waiter was real consistent and efficient serving our table from the start to end; very personal and warm that he could pass off as a part of the group.
I’d have to commend them for a specific after service. It was a great night out with good food overall but unfortunately, some of us didn’t feel too great the night after demolishing those ribs with a few pints. Dropped them an email the next morning and they’ve shown to be really pro-active; extremely apologetic at first and then positively assuring with a generous goodwill gesture to offer our money back. In return, they asked for feedback on what we ordered that evening along with ‘further details’ of when and what didn’t go well. I think this was a stellar customer service, as not only they did not question our claims but offered a generous gesture without being asked. Prompting for further feedback also goes to show that they cared about what went wrong and have the intention to be look further into it, which sadly, most restaurants fail to achieve.
Verdict — Go for the beef ribs or pulled pork, and to Pitt Cue Co for pork ribs. Good customer service. Upside of Duke’s is they take reservation in advance whereas Pitt Cue Co, well, simply does not and goes by a strictly “all parties present” policy before allocating you a slot for a table.
Address: 33 Downham Road, Hackney London N1 5AA
Contact: 020 3006 0795