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The Blues Kitchen (Bar)

Picture of The Blues Kitchen in Camden, London

111-113 Camden High Street, Camden, London, NW1 7JN
Cuisine: American
Tel: 020 7387 5227 | Email to The Blues Kitchen | Transport: Camden Town | Write review

The Blues Kitchen Review

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Best for: Live music; hearty portions, bourbon lovers.

Great: Taste; décor; service with a smile.

I am Leo Owen, the female Adam Richman (only without my own TV show), a food fanatic on a mouth-watering journey to find the UK's biggest pig-out spots and take on London's most legendary eating challenges. I'm no competitive eater, just a regular girl with a serious appetite. This is my ultimate hunger quest. This is (Wo)man Vs Food. If I win: eternal food glory.

My race for taste has brought me to The Blues Kitchen in Camden, where I'm taking on the ludicrous ribs and wings challenge. Taunting me from the kitchen: St Louis pork ribs, alligator and buffalo wings drenched in sauce so spicy it's defeated thousands of challengers.

Here on Camden High Street, Blues Kitchen Bookings Manager, Liam Hart, explains how “The Blues Kitchen was born out of a life-long obsession with Rhythm n' Blues and an inspirational trip to Hamburg late in 2005.”

Opening in October 2009, The Blues Kitchen has since built a reputation for its nightly live music and extensive rye and bourbon menu. Tonight, however, I'm lured in by the authentic Southern American (USA) food its kitchen cooks up with dishes from Louisiana, Mississippi and St Louis.

Locals flock here for live music and ribs and tonight is no different with the bar and restaurant areas already crowded. I have two hours to take down a sizeable hunk of their menu.

Waitress Sophie unsurprisingly recommends the ribs and the cheeseburger but fires out some more unexpected suggestions as well, including the lightly spiced Creole bean burger (what, no meat?) and a chicken chopped salad that's apparently so filling, it'll win over those normally adverse to salad.

Sitting in one of the open booths on comfy light brown leather benches, we pre-order extreme meat babies and admire the restaurant's junkyard chic, combining quirky retro mirror pictures with awesome steam punk light features.

In my head, the crowd cheers, and cries of encouragement can be heard as the clock ticks. Awaiting the wings and alligator starters, I'm apprehensive, already overheating, well before my body has been subjected to meat sweat triggers.

The Prohibition Jam is an off-menu “special” bootlegger cocktail, appropriately served in a jam pot stuffed full of crushed ice, sugar and marmalade, topped with lime and apple juice. Although refreshing, it's not enough to turn down the heat of the buffalo wings who announce their imminent arrival through their distinct aroma.

These fleshy chicken wings are a messy eat, smothered in vinegary, rather acidic, hot sauce, that's thankfully neutralised by a blue cheese dip. I look like a Texas Chainsaw Massacre survivor with my red-stained, rather sinister, clown mouth, but Sophie has already anticipated this, providing me with a refreshing body wipe.

All cleaned-up, I decide to ignore the optional cutlery basket and think “What would Adam do?” Opting for traditional hand power, I tuck into round two: crispy breaded tender alligator pieces. The fiery aftertaste of the wings almost completely smothers the initial taste but after several palette-clearing water gulps, the coating has a slightly sweet quality and I'm able to detect a hint of salt before a smokey after-linger.

With only one hour left, the soundtrack in my head drowns out the live honky-tonk band playing on stage to a packed out bar area. I hear the kind of music associated with westerns right before the showdown. Chants of “Do it!” grow louder as the ribs arrive.

On first inspection, the St Louis pork ribs are deceptive. Smoked on site for eight hours in Blues Kitchen's BBQ pit, they are modestly stacked, appearing as merely a small hurdle in my march towards victory. Although a little fatty, the meat falls off the bone and it's a relief to eat without caking my face in sauce again. Accompaniments are full of surprises too with the thin cut fries avoiding over-saltiness and the BBQ Pit Beans, including additional meaty chunks. Where's my sweatband?

Already crowned rib master, this girl is not finished yet, ordering a monster of an ice cream sundae for dessert. Chocolate brownie pieces, marshmallows, crushed almond and pecan nuts sweeten up generous scoopfuls of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla ice cream to take me to the very edge of my food threshold. As the countdown sounds, in a white hot blaze of glory, Girl prevails!
...read more

Customer Reviews for The Blues Kitchen

Average (based on 5 votes): 5 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of The Blues Kitchen.

“Some pretty ridiculous portions of tasty authentic Soul Food. The cocktail list is fantastic and the waitresses friendly and well-informed. Some awesome bands too!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Gina, London (5 years 4 months 13 days ago)

“Big tasty portions. Great for meat lovers but some veggie options too.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
John, London (5 years 4 months 14 days ago)

“Three essential reasons to love this Camden bar: (1) the impressive array of bourbon (beers aren't even labelled so I wouldn't bother. Although a 'small' glass of Pinot Noir is massive; worth dabbling in); (2) top guitar-slashing music (a rockstar's heaven); unbelievably hot girls EVERYWHERE (if you like them with funky hair, tasteful tattoo, and tight jeans then this is the bar for you). The food? Meh.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Doni Lanarkshire, Blackheath (7 years 5 months 21 days ago)

Show all user reviews for The Blues Kitchen

“I found this bar lacking in hospitality, very pricey and has got, probably the most ignorant, rude and obnoxious member of staff in Camden town. I did`nt feel welcome in the bar at all. He should take another lesson in PR skills and manners. I wonder how many customers don`t go back. K”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Keith, London (7 years 8 months 20 days ago)

“The Blues Kitchen is great for music and drinks, but I think the food isn't different to TFI Fridays or other such chains.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Chris Villeneuve, London (8 years 1 months 7 days ago)

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Food

Soak up the fantastic blues and soul music with the bar’s authentic home cooked soul food, served every all day. Tuck into Blackened Shrimp, Seafood Gumbo and the infamous Po’boy Sandwich (only for the seriously hungry!!). Indulge your sweet side with Key Lime, Pecan and Mississippi Mud Pies, washed down with one of The Blues Kitchen legendary Thick Shakes or add a shot of liquor to make it a Hard Shake.

Updated 13/07/2010

Drinks

The cocktail bar at The Blues Kitchen stocks a 40 strong list of Kentucky’s finest, designed to appeal to those looking for a light sip after a dish of sweet soul food, as well as to blues devotees looking to knock back until the early hours. Noteworthy varieties include Evan Williams (the first commercial distiller in Kentucky - 1783), Heaven Hill Distillery, Gentleman Jack, Van Winkle - 12 year, Rebel Yell, Heaven Hill - 4 year old, Old Crow (named after James Crow who invented the sour mash process).

Updated 13/07/2010

Additional Information

Events and other great things going on at The Blues Kitchen

The Blues Kitchen is already at the forefront of London’s burgeoning blues scene, with the eclectic mix of vocal talents it hosts. With live music every Thursday to Sunday.

Updated 13/07/2010

The Blues Kitchen Hire Details

We love a party at the Blues Kitchen so give us a call and we will do the rest!

Updated 13/07/2010

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