Big Easy, Crossrail Place, E14
The third – and largest – Big Easy serving “low and slow” meat and seafood cooked in pit rooms that house two tonne US smokers. The sheer size of this venue – to give you an idea, it employs 170 staff – means it also accommodates an American breakfast menu, featuring brisket Eggs Benedict and Nutella Smores Cronuts, and a takeaway service for a quick lobster roll or pulled pork sandwich during your lunch hour.
You can’t miss its red neon signage as you cruise into Norman Foster’s gleaming latticed Crossrail station on the DLR. The painted wooden signs and artfully splintered tables give it the air of a Texan saloon bar housed in an 18th century dockers’ warehouse.
The menu may be overwhelming, but this is finger lickin’ food so choose meat or fish, then platter yourself up to the eyeballs in it. The Bar.B.Q Blow Out will keep you well-stocked in tender, mouth-melting pork and chicken served with smokey beans and spongey homemade cornbread. If fish is your dish, the Lobster Bake from the Wood-Burning Oven is a good showcase as it adds an abundance of jumbo shrimp, mussels and crab claws into the garlicky white wine mix.
BUSINESS OR PLEASURE?
It’s ideal for a business breakfast or lunch, but live music in the evening might drown out the deals. There’s always the option of booking the 26-seater “Captain’s Table” private dining room if you need something more intimate.
NEED TO BOOK?
With a whopping 400 covers including an outside terrace area, it’s unlikely you’ll have to wait for a table if you’re a walk-in. The alfresco dining terrace will fill up in the summer though. Visit bigeasy.co.uk.
There’s nothing refined about the Big Easy, but as long as you go in with your sleeves rolled up, ready to dig your way through a mountain of honest, hearty meat, then you won’t be disappointed. The name probably refers to how easy it is to over-order.
ONE MORE THING...
The bar boasts one of the most expensive cocktail shaking machines in the world. It’s based on a 19th century etching and there are only 10 of them in existence.