As I sit on the jubilee line home drafting this post I can detect a slight scent of meaty smoke on my clothes and in my hair. I have the Big Easy‘s Bar.b.q & Whisky Masterclass to thank for this.
On receiving the invite for this meaty feast I immediately knew I had to take my brother with me. With neither smoked meat or single malt coming in high on my list of favourite things, I was a little bit apprehensive but considering both come in pretty much at the top of his, he was the obvious choice as my plus 1.
I’m never one to turn my nose up at free food, especially when I’ve eaten nothing but soup and lettuce leaves for 9 days, so I decided to scrap the healthy eating and suck it up for one night only.
So as I said, I’m not the biggest whiskey fan, but Matt Critch (head bartender) somehow managed to make me want to try every single one. I’m not going to lie and say he converted me (I have a pretty stubborn palette when it comes to alcohol) but he definitely made me want to like it. He also seriously educated me, better than I thought possible, on everything you need to know about the stuff. He knows what he’s talking about and somehow made it all extremely interesting to someone who can’t even stomach a Jack and Coke.
The food surpassed itself. We started with chilled Atlantic crab claw and giant shrimp. The pure size of the shrimp was mind blowing. It had such a delicate, fresh taste and paired with the INSANELY delicious honey and mustard dressing meant that this dish was high up there on my list of favourites. Matt teamed this with a Swedish whiskey which apparently is called a Mackmyra. In case you were wondering.After the fish we had more fish. Wood roasted West Country Mussels to be precise. Served with a Scottish whiskey that goes by the name of Islay – Pork Asksig 19 (apparently). Before tonight I had only actually ‘enjoyed’ mussels once and that’s putting it lightly. Up until a couple of weeks ago, mussels were on my (very, very small) list of things that I ‘don’t eat’ but thanks to chef Mike Boulos, things have definitely changed. He created a creamy, peppercorny, bacony, whiskey laced sauce that was so good I had to ask for a spoon to demolish it. Words cannot describe how ridiculous it was and it hands down won me over as dish of the night. The crispy fried bread they give you to mop up the sauce is partly to thank though!Following on from these two gastronomic delights was a trio of meaty treats. Pit-smoked BBQ chicken, St. Louis ribs and my favourite the Carolina pulled pork. Now like I said, BBQ isn’t my favourite cuisine so I can’t give the fairest judgement on this but if my brothers reaction is anything to go by it was a fucking delight. He demolished it and quite literally looked like he might cry with happiness whilst doing so. Pit master Pete Daversa explained in detail how it was all cooked and talked us through how the meat is supposed to taste and how it should be eaten. He made me feel like I actually got to know each animal before I ate it, which I’m not necessarily sure is a good thing but it worked. I definitely enjoyed the meat more than I did the last time I went to Big Easy and it really made me appreciate the flavours. Matt teamed the chicken with a Japanese Nikka Coffey Grain, the ribs with a Corsair Triple Smoked batch 66 from Kentucky and the pulled pork with a Scottish Speyside Arberlour a’Bunadh#48 – I wish I could say I knew this off the top of my head like he does, but clearly that’s not the case.The dessert couldn’t have been more perfect if it tried. I myself have a rule that if sticky toffee pudding is on the menu, I get it. This was like sticky toffee pudding on crack. It was a rich and stodgy but DELICIOUS cornbread pudding drizzled in toffee sauce and served with vanilla ice cream. It was sensational. This was served with an American Mellow, Corn Heaven Hill Distillery whisky.All 4 courses were a delight and the service was exceptional. Matt and Mike especially went above and beyond to make sure we had a good time and we really did. If Big Easy open up the experience to the general public then I couldn’t recommend it more. Thanks guys!