Here at the magazine, we are known for our love of BBQ with SLOAN! favourites including The Big Easy, Chicago Rib Shack and more recently Orange Elephant. So it was with some anticipation that we ventured to new kid on the block Low, Slow & Juke which is a new subterranean bar and restaurant nestled on Abbey Orchard Street between Victoria and Westminster.
Although Low, Slow & Juke promotes its low and slow smoked meat dishes for lunch or dinner, the vibe upon entering is definitely more bar than restaurant. Bright neon lights and a funky soundtrack surround you giving the space an upbeat atmosphere perfect for after-work drinks in the large bar area. Tables are on the small side in the restaurant area although this makes for a more cosy environment perfect for catching up with friends over a sharing platter. As long as you can hear each other over one of the louder funnier tunes played over the speakers.
From the decent choice of starters we chose Smoked Bacon Fat Popcorn and Chilli & Caramel Chicken Wings. The popcorn was light and fluffy and looked appetising in the dish covered with bits of smoky bacon and drizzled in bacon fat which left the popcorn smoky in flavour whilst texture was a little too greasy got my liking.
The Chilli & Caramel Chicken Wings were delicious and one can easily see why they are a popular choice on the menu. With a crispy batter drenched in sweet and sticky sauce laced with chilli, the chicken was soft and juicy with a core temperature hot enough to ensure that even the last bite was still warm and just as moreish as the first. These are perfect for a starter and would did very nicely in the bar surrounded by cool beers and even cooler friends.
Mains include the St Louis Ribs which are a such a popular choice on the menu that unfortunately they had completely sold out on the night we attended. A disappointing teething problem given that these had been recommended to us by Josh Sugarman, an international judge in the Super Bowl Rib-Off, Austin, Texas, who had described them as: “The closest taste in the UK to true Texan bbq”. I’m afraid we cannot comment but that’s a hefty recommendation should it be true!
If you want to try something different to pork ribs, we recommend choosing the Beef Ribs with Honey BBQ Glaze which were available that evening. Definitely a dish for someone who has arrived hungry, this generous dish of meat includes 5 beef ribs which look truly impressive and could easily be shared if your appetite was not ravenous. Low, Slow & Juke serves mains on trays lined with paper which adds to the Americana aesthetic but can prove a little impractical if the paper gets soaked in sauce and tears whilst eating.
The six House Sauces served on every table are all made in the restaurant kitchen by the chef and include something for every preference and palate. Alongside House BBQ, Smoky Ketchup and Chilli Vinegar is the popular Chipotle Mayo (great with the Skin On Fries), the tangy South Carolina BBQ (try with the Beef Ribs) and the fiery Bastardo which is guaranteed to set your mouth ablaze… definitely not one for the faint-hearted.
Sides include the ever popular Mac & Cheese and the Smoky Pit Beans which come recommended although they were unavailable on the evening we dined at Low, Slow & Juke… a sign of their popularity perhaps or more teething problems with logistics?
Other sides include Sweet Potato Fries, Corn on the Cob and some super loaded Smoked Bacon & Blue Cheese Fries or a slightly more refined sounding Parmesan & Truffle Sour Cream Fries. For something lighter, why not try the healthy Green Slaw made with green cabbage, green pepper, apple, mint and coriander.
The dessert menu is short but sweet (pun intended). The focus in on comfort food from the good ole US of A so don’t expect to see any sign of fruit or sorbets… these desserts cater for dairy lovers of ice cream, chocolate and carb-heavy puddings. In addition to a decadent Chocolate Sundae and Whoopie Pie filled with chocolate & peanut butter cream is Chocolate Brownie served with Maple Cured Bacon – an inspired twist on a classic crowd-pleaser. If you don’t fancy one of these delectable chocolate delights why not try the tangy Lemon Meringue Pie (so popular it too had sold out on the night)… that is if you even have room left after feasting on all the meat!
If you have intolerances or allergies it is probably better to skip dessert as nothing is really geared up for the many diners who need dairy, gluten or nut free dishes. Also the restaurant appears to only list allergens on the main menu and not dessert.
Low, Slow & Juke is definitely a place we would recommend for anyone looking for care free relaxed food and fun. Either after-work drinks with colleagues or a fun night out with friends to savour smoky cocktails and sample a flavour of “true Texan BBQ”.
However, if you’re looking for somewhere with date night appeal or a chilled out vibe then this bar-come-restaurant might be a little too fresh and funky for you.
For the rest of you who want to let your hair down and get funky in the neon-lit buzzing basement bar, this is a hip new addition to the Victoria bar scene.
Low, Slow and Juke
1 Abbey Orchard Street, London SW1P 2LU
020 7222 5084