I’m not much of a snob when it comes to chain restaurants, I do like SOME of them in general, some do it very well, although the service is taught to be the same old jibba jabba in every one, and the menu is never much of a surprise, they’re, y’know, alright.
The brand-spanking, brightly lit Grey’s Quarter in Eldon Square is full of the usual suspects, repeating some of the restaurants we already have in the city. Red’s True barbecue is amongst the crew, keeping up with the ‘dirty food’ trend we have going on in Newcastle at the moment. It’s not a trend I can complain about though, I do love to get my lips around a good bit of marinated and charred meat!
Red’s True barbecue has eight restaurants over the country, each independently owned. I was really excited to try as I had heard mostly good things about it. Jay Rayner didn’t approve of the place in Leeds back in 2013 describing the brisket as a “tragic thing”. But three years have passed since then, so I was feeling hopeful. It was time to see if we would “worship at the altar of meat”
We booked a table a few days before Christmas at an early time of 5pm. So ventured from the blinding bright new Greys’ Quarter and adjusted our eyes as we headed into the dimly lit barbecue joint. It wasn’t dark, of course, but was dimmed with bold lights to brighten up the warehouse-style deco. The music was great a mix of Pearl Jam amongst other classics, we really enjoyed that.
Now I have an almost four-month old child with a dairy and soya allergy my priorities of eating out aren’t just about good taste, but accommodating allergies and our son.
Before we barely sat down, in an area big enough for our pram, we were handed the allergy information for the restaurant, bonus points right away! The allergy information is also easily accessible on their website.
We were also informed that not all dishes are always available due to the fresh ingredients used everyday, so once they’re gone, they’re gone! Luckily for us everything except charred greens were available.
We chose drinks first, and although I was tempted to go for the Georgia Hobo Juice; whiskey, lime, lemon, sugar and 7up fittingly served in a jar and a brown bag, I opted for the Cider Fruit Cup. A mix of raspberry cider, Pimms, fruit juices, Creme de Mure and mint, it was a refreshing start to the meal, and great alongside the food.
The other half had a pint of Tax Evasion lager 4.4% and the little one had milk!
For food I was pleased to see I could enjoy the Black Angus Brisket and Burnt Ends, so I ordered that with a double portion of side salad, as it was the only side I could have. But I was very pleased that the waiter was happy to double-check the onion rings I was tempted by, which did in fact have milk in them.
It was the Swine Fries that were screaming out to me, as ridiculous as they sound! A mix of sweet potato and the fashionable skin-on fries, covered in a mix of smoked pork, grilled cheese, chipotle sour cream, spring onion, jalapeno and salsa. Incredibly messy sounding or, to someone who hasn’t had any sort of dairy pass their lips for eight weeks, heaven!
The brisket, like everything else on the menu, arrived on a tray and a sheet of newspaper. There was also a big dish of salad, filled with the usual typical salad type things you except to see; green leaves, red onion, cherry tomatoes, sweetcorn and pieces of cucumber, covered very lightly in a dressing, which I couldn’t taste.
The main attraction was the brisket which was soft, and so it should be after being smoked for 12 hours! The smokey flavour was there, but not too intense. The edges of fat were beautiful; just melted on the tongue! The smokey flavour of the burnt ends, almost black in colour, was a lot stronger, but just as delicious. Served on a thick stodgy piece of white bread and onions, a good combination, but I could have done with some fries. What is it with restaurants and milky fries?!
Also on the plate were jalapeno’s, which packed a ridiculous amount of heat, and crunchy vinegar-packed gherkins which cut through the fatty meat.
I also had some of the South Carolina sauce on the side as well which had a massive mustard kick, which was nice against the meat. The Triple 6 hot sauce, packed quite a punch of heat, enough to mask any other flavours, not ideal.
Stu went for The Pit Burger, two Black Angus burgers made with brisket sourced in Yorkshire, rich pulled pork, smoked peppered bacon, melted cheese, Dirty sauce, salad, pickles and a gigantic onion ring made with an onion that looked like it was developed in a lab. A huge meaty combination that had smokey-ness, crunch, richness and tang! Served in one of those brioche buns!
On the menu there’s also pulled pork and sticky chicken, which cooked slowly in barbecue sauce would have been my second option and a cheese and jalapeno hot dog which I imagine will be quite popular.
I am not sure about getting on my hands and knees to worship Red’s, but I’ll happily walk through their “pearly gates” again if I am in the mood for some charred meat.
In total it came to £44.65 for more information visit http://truebarbecue.com/newcastle/