Finally the closure of the soulless Broadgate Circle drinking establishments in the city of london has forced local city types to venture more than 20 yards to quench their thirsts. The lack of ‘convenience’ has finally convinced (read forced) some to expand their horizons to such places as The Crown and Shuttle on Bishopsgate. It is marvelous to see a pub pouring a variety of local ales (meantime on draft, hackney brewery as well as a host of other cask and bottled beers) to city folk. Not that this is unusual, but clearly the choice of ales, fantastic smelling food van and huge kitsch beer garden has convinced many to flood here for after work drinks, and this place really hits the spot.
I can safely say The hype that has been around Pitt Cue for the past 12 months is most certainly valid. After hearing about it some time ago I’ve been wanting to visit to sample their inventive BBQ menu served just off carnaby street. A few times I have attempted to go my companions have been put off by the necessity to queue, but in fairness I didn’t find it too much of an inconvenience when I finally got round to it. Arriving at around 6.30pm on a glorious summer evening probably made it a more pleasant experience and after chatting to other patrons waiting patiently in the line, the queue ticked along happily enough.
Once inside the small bar area (After about 45 minutes) you can order from a decent sized drinks menu specialising in cocktails, whiskey and a few decent beers.
I was delighted to see they had Kernal Brewery’s Pale Ale, a brew I’ve read a lot about and have been yearning to sample. I absolutely loved the fruity nose, bursting with flavour. I could have happily spent the evening with the glass glued to my upper lip! Trying to single out specific smell was tricky but I identified a type of summery-fruity-sweetness which i can only match to the lychee fruit. It had a lovely bite to taste and but slipped down with a pleasant smooth finish.
They also had ‘Whatever’ on tap which was described as a red ale brewed for them by the Meantime Brewery. For me this was a little bland. I Struggled to pick up much from the nose, to taste it was slightly bittery sweet without delivering much oomph or distinct flavour. I guess you could describe it as a friendly drinkable ale but lacked the punch I am looking for a beer at present.
Once we were ushered downstairs to the restaurant I couldn’t get over the size of the place. Literally tiny with only about four tables! The food was described to us in mouthwatering detail by the waitress leaving us wanting every dish! I went for the Ox Cheek special which we all agreed was the best of the lot. Succulent, soft with huge flavour enhanced by juicy fats which had melted into the meat. It was so tender it was practically falling off my fork on its short journey from table to mouth. I ordered the bone marrow mash side to go with the pickled cucumber garnish which all set off beautifully against one another. The sharpness cut nicely through the richness of the cheek and creamy marrow mash. My other Kernal Pale Ale was also a nice fruity accompaniment to the dish.
We probably didn’t need the cheeky additional home made sausage we ordered but it was a darn tasty sausage. Warm and smoky like a chorizo, very ‘naughty’ as my friend Ed described it!
Despite the portion sizes not being large to look at, We all left completely stuffed full and very content having completely forgot about the minor inconvenience of the queue to get in. Well worth the trip for some amazing BBQ treats!
I was looking for something new so tried the Harbour Brewing Co Amber Ale (4.4%) which had a sweet nose complemented with a little spice to taste. Fizzy and drinkable like lager but with still the flavour that a lager drinker could appreciate. I could certainly taste the bitter after, giving it a well rounded flavour. The caramel it advertised on the label was not quite evident enough on my untrained palate.
Of course next up I had to plump for the IPA (5.2%) from the same purveyors. For me this was much more what I was after…. Filling your nose and palate with big hopy IPA flavours. I can see now that these flavours are what I’m about at the moment. It was lovely but the flavour mellowed out a little as the drink heated up.
From here on in the Brooklyn lager seemed to dominate. This served as a perfect measure of how my tastes have evolved since I was drinking this stuff in New York back in 2009/10. It was certainly a lot mellower than I remember from back then!
Things got a bit more loose henceforth with shots and spirits more forthcoming but the Crown and Shuttle evolved with it. Bar staff seemed knowledgeable despite the occasional beer served in a warm glass. Great pub which combines east london character with good after work refuelling. And not just your usual overpriced eurolager.