Restaurant review: Dukes, N1
11:02 05 June 2012
Despite the obvious southern states influence, I found something distinctly Nu-Yorican about Duke’s Joint – a new barbecue restaurant in De Beauvoir Town, or Beaver Town as I now call it.
33 Downham Road
Tube: Highbury and Islington
Tel: 0203 0060795
Mains: from £10
Wine: from £18
Disabled access: Yes
Children welcome: Yes
With wood panelling, friendly table service and a proliferation of burgers and ribs, the place has plucked the best bits of dive bars and BBQ shacks from the Big Apple, as well as the Deep South.
It’s certainly a welcome addition to the Hackney/Islington border. The food is pub-priced and delicious, the home-brewed beer is excellent and vibe-wise it is the kind of place you want to spend a lot of time.
I ordered a pint of Smog Rocket – the home-brewed porter – and picked a few grilled goodies from the small but perfectly formed menu.
The cheeseburger seemed to be a must and delivered with aplomb – a high quality, tender patty-cooked medium rare with the trimmings you would expect.
The pork ribs were epic; huge beasts with lots of meat on them, served individually and smothered in a tangy, sweet barbecue sauce.
Delicious, but thank goodness for the wet wipes our waitress brought us, as I was covered in marinade.
The sides were also great – a very creamy creamed spinach and baked beans with pulled pork, gluttons that we are.
For pudding, a Hackney Mess – as you might predict, like an Eton Mess but with more flavour (chunks of chocolate cake and marshmallows and so on).
All very good so far – but more than worthy of a mention is the bar. Aside from the extensive cocktail and tequila list, Duke’s Joint take their ale very seriously.
As well as the three brewed on site (Smog Rocket, Neck Oil and 8 Ball) they have a large collection of bottle and draft that change all the time.
When my girlfriend, not a natural beer drinker, wanted to try one, the manager Hannah was more than happy to bring her samples of three or four before she (eventually) found one she liked.
She also took the time to show me the cellar where they brew the beer under the name Beaver Town, apparently the old Cockney name for De Beauvoir.