FoodIssue 19

Little Pitt

1 Newburgh Street W1F 7RB

Brash, aggressively masculine, and with a predilection for pandering to down home, to the good old boys. ‘Oh, we’re back to the US election already?’ you ask. ‘Still belabouring that topic?’ Rest assured – while both tend to blow a lot of smoke, we’re talking about Little Pitt and not a certain titian politician.

Little Pitt, thankfully, is a bit more nuanced and far less fearful of foreign flavours. A reincarnation of the dearly departed Soho barbecue joint Pitt Cue, Little Pitt is nestled snugly into the old space set up by Tom Adams, Simon Anderson, Richard Turner and Jamie Berger. A bottle green façade fit for a gentleman’s club leads into a hazy, boyish interior heavy with mahogany and verdant velvet.

Sleek subway tiles stack to form the backsplash behind the bar, and slender raw wood tables flank the shuttered windows. If you’ve knocked back one too many of their Picklebacks (a shot of whiskey chased with one of pickled brine), trot to the loo for a reviving splash of freshwater. You’ll be greeted by the utterly charming wallpaper – sporting udders of all shapes and sizes ripe for the squeezing. The whole restaurant is quite cramped – and sure to induce a panic attack for the claustrophobic – but, really, that’s part of its appeal.

The team has opted for a streamlined menu which changes as fast as Trump’s truths – that is to say, daily. Fewer options means quicker turnaround, as well as an increased likelihood you’ll be pleased with your order. If lines are your thing and your plastic surgeon told you to be careful of that deviated septum, slip over to Bao around the corner, as Little Pitt’s prompt service and no-frills nature will have you in and out in no time.

Like the political leader we all know and love (to hate), not everything can be authentic, but that doesn’t mean that the ersatz doesn’t have its appeal. When hunger strikes, grab ‘em by the buns. With a choice of pulled pork, smoked beef and kimchi, or chicken and anchovy, these buns are a far cry from traditional bbq offerings. While the breads do manage to provide sturdy structural integrity to keep the sandwiches together, they are a tad too dense and a touch too crisp. A good barbecue bun should be pale and squishy like a potato roll; a vehicle for the delivery of juicy, visceral meat and nothing more.

Both the chicken and anchovy and the pulled pork are under-sauced, though the meat is so tender you’d think the animals had lived a life luxuriating in Trump Tower rather than toiling away at a farm. The smoked beef and kimchi is rich and meaty, and the latter bites back like any good, nasty woman.

The grilled hispi and herbs is a bracing foil for all of the intensity of the buns and other sides. It’s crisp and vegetal, its bitterness tempered by the heat of the grill. The bone marrow mash tastes just as you’d hoped it would: fatty and salty and capable of causing a heart attack, if just a small one. The caramel ribs crackle and shimmer in the honeyed glow of the light fixtures, and they leave a deliciously sweet trail behind them as you shuttle them into your gob. The pig’s head scrumpet is as close to DT-approved MacDo chicken nuggets as you can get, but they are so, so much more. Cobble a meal together from the sides and extras for a veritable melting pot of a meal, and you’ll likely be more satisfied than if you’d ordered a simple bun.
It is thus that, with a bit of tweaking and a continued dedication to the quality of ingredients, the Little Pitt team will certainly be able to make barbecue great again. Because we would be heartbroken to see them impeached, tossed out of their Soho spot, and running for the hills back to Devonshire Square.

 

Monday to Saturday 12:00pm–3:00pm,
5:30pm–10.30pm
Sunday closed
£20 / person