Big. Brash. Bright. Bold. I’m talking about the venue as equally as I am the food. This place is a BBQ restaurant tipping its hat to the South of the gloriously-fat capital of the world.
There’s a great view of Regency Wharf when you get up there. There’s also awesome graffiti on the walls, light bulb signs and all the quirky fixtures which scream, “MURICA!” Very highly Instagrammable (which they like). The seating surprised me somewhat; for somewhere with monstrous portion sizes, you want to be comfortable. The bigger tables are wooden benches, and the smaller tables have what I can only describe as those bright seats with the hole in the back that you had at school. My ass wasn’t all that thankful.
The Food and Drink
We were presented with an array of cocktails, each one amusing me more than the last. These aren’t just drinks, they’re theatre. I grimace a bit sometimes when it’s all style over substance, but I was thrilled when these drinks were all actually very good. I’m a massive Reese’s fan who loves whisk(e)y, so the Peanut Butter Jelly Thyme (£7.50) was glorious. Buffalo Trace, Thyme, Peanut Butter, Raspberry Jam, White Chocolate syrup, Lemon Juice & a whole Egg. Served with a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup on top. The Jack and Rose (£7.25) was clever, and remarkable. Not just because of the Titanic and iceberg shaped ice. Jack Daniels, Spiced Apple & Rose Syrup, Lemon Juice and Pomegranate Juice. I’m told it’s a top seller, and I can see why. Ditto the Lady Liberty (£8). Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Sauvignon Blanc, Apricot & Chestnut syrup and Pineapple Juice. Served in a giant “Lady Liberty” glass with an American Flag sticking out of it. Incredibly well-balanced.
As for the food, where do you even start? I was presented with the lunch menu, which is a bargain. For £4.95 you can pick from 5 options, add pretty much whatever extras or sides your heart desires (for an additional few pence), and/or a pudding, and you’ll walk away happy and full, for under a tenner.
I had the tacos: one burnt ends, one pulled pork, one veggie. Generously stacked with mixed bean chilli, sour cream, cheese and guacamole and full of flavour. For a meat-based menu you expect great BBQ, and of course that’s what you get. I was presented with a Donut and Waffle Burger Love Child; ready… Southern fried chicken, pulled pork, dirty burger with cheese, served between one chocolate sprinkle Krispy Kreme burger and a Belgian waffle. Oh, and a gigantic pickle and candy floss garnish and (I’m sure there was some token-gesture salad, somewhere). It also came with skin-on fries, y’know, when you need a side too. In the silliest, dirtiest and insane ways, it was amazing. Everything is like a food challenge and you keep going not until you stop tasting the food, but when the food is finished.
The Atmosphere and Clientele
I would bet it’s amazing for groups of twenty-somethings or mate-dates. Personally, I would totally take a date there to see how well they cope with it, but people may not judge a partner’s worth by how easily they put away a colossal burger like I do. I read that it’s been described as ‘loud’ and it took me less than two minutes to see that’s the aim. Rub is trying to create that party atmosphere, and it does that perfectly. I don’t think I stopped laughing or smiling at the truly outrageous items coming to the table, and I mean that in the best possible way. Every table seemed to be doing the same thing.
Rub Smokehouse is an incredibly friendly place with decent food and great drinks, all in a lively atmosphere. Go, make a mess, take all the photos of the food you desire, have a laugh.