Ditch the smartphone and Facebook living your mad life for one second, and there’s enough 1920s speakeasy-style spots in London to make you feel a little era-confused. Blues Kitchen Camden was one of the first to bring us Prohibition-themed cool, becoming so popular that the owners, Colombo Group, opened two more outlets of the brand. I headed north to see the spot where it all kicked off.

Venue & Atmosphere

Blues Kitchen models itself on the Wild West and Deep American South, bringing bourbon and big plates to Camden. The decor has a sense of polished shabbiness, lights sprout from the end of brass trombone chandeliers, tatty pictures of Southern style gentlemen hang on artfully unpainted walls and a faded mirror reflects from the back of a whisky-bottle lined bar. Mahogany leather booths and long wooden tables fill the entire venue giving no clear break between the restaurant and bar. This may not be a place for a cosy-up and cuddle dinner, but it does promise a rollicking good time.

Arriving before 8pm on a Saturday night and the venue was already swinging, groups of 30-somethings crowded round the bar and towards the stage at the back of the venue swaying with their cocktails. As the night wore on, students and 20-somethings replaced the older crowd, from the dressed-up through to the low-key, people jostled and crammed for a table to chat or cast an eye out to the rest of the restaurant.

Blues Kitchen Camden

Blues Kitchen Camden has made its name as a party venue with its regular live music and DJ nights.

Food & Drink

Blues Kitchen Camden have a one track mind when it comes to food; it’s all about the Texan BBQ. Dishes are defiantly meaty, slow-cooked and dripping in sauce. Goat tacos (£7.50) come as two bite-sized, soft tortilla parcels filled with juicy goat meat. The main menu is split with meat plates from the BBQ, burgers and dishes such as catfish and prawn jambalaya (£13.90) and New Orleans Gumbo (£13.90). In true Cajun style, we went big and we went BBQ, choosing the three meat option (£17.50). Burnt Ends was a meat pile of 18-hour cooked beef brisket that was smothered in a beer and hickory sauce while the pulled pork had a sweet tang from its juicy marinade.

True to its American roots, Blues Kitchen Camden has a whopping selection of bourbon and whiskeys. The cocktail list is a whiskey-heavy selection of concoctions along with a few new takes on classics. Mezcal Margarita (£9.50) was a smokey muddle, mixed without triple sec to lose some of the citrus sweetness of the classic, making it all the more drinkable. The Lychee Martini (£9.50) was a sugary and refreshing blend of gin, lychee liqueur and lime while Zombie (£9.50) came in a great tank of a glass filled with ice, rum, grapefruit and a hint of absinthe.

Blues Kitchen Camden

A BBQ is used to cook the majority of food at Blues Kitchen Camden.

Summary

Our fling with America’s Deep South shows no signs of slowing down and Blues Kitchen Camden is still one of the best spots in London to get a fill of Americana. From the low-lit, hot and heavy mix of blues music, through to the sauce slathered tender meat, a night in Blues Kitchen is more than a cheap knock-off of the wild west, it's wicked, tonnes of fun and utterly delicious.