Pulled pork, smokehouses, gourmet burgers, corn chowders, American food is having a renaissance and it’s looking seriously tasty. Here’s where to track down the best cuisine from across the pond in London
The Blues Kitchen, Shoreditch & Camden
Camden music hotspot The Blues Kitchen has just opened it second venue on Curtain Road. Along with a fantastic Texan BBQ, both sites hold great live music nights all week and on Independence Day the Southern Rock Special will be bringing the house down (in Camden and Shoreditch) until 2am. If food is more your thing, tuck into the hot dog eating competition at the Shoreditch venue.
134-136 Curtain Road EC2A 3AR; 020 7729 7216; theblueskitchen.com
The Four Sisters Bar, Canonbury
The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel was one of the early establishments to introduce American-style cocktails to Europe. In fact, the term American Bar was used in London to designate the sale of American cocktails from 1878. In celebration of this long-standing institution of the American cocktail in London, this July The Four Sisters has lined-up five faves from the American Bar, available until 30 July. 25 Canonbury Lane Islington London N12AS; thefoursistersbar.co.uk
The Diner, Islington
One look at the name, followed swiftly by the décor, and there’s no mistaking this slice of authentic American life. A vast menu featuring US classics – from burgers to dogs, via pancakes and southern baked meat loaf – always goes down a treat, but special mention to their milkshakes. The peanut butter concoction is to die for, and for those seeking a little kick-start to the night, don’t miss their range of ‘hard shakes’ that add a little alcoholic spin to proceedings.
21 Essex Road N1 2SA; 020 7226 4533; goodlifediner.com
Ben’s Canteen, Battersea
It’s only been running for two years, but we’d go so far as to say that Ben’s Canteen serves up some of the best burgers in Battersea (try saying that quickly). The low-key restaurant has a laid-back vibe and unlike lots of burger joints, it’s the kind of place punters linger. Choose from the pulled pork burger, the crunchy chicken burger or the Mexi burger – all delicious.
140 St John’s Hill, Battersea, SW11 1SL; benscanteen.com
Honest Burgers, Brixton
A trail blazer in the London burger revolution, Honest Burger’s first restaurant opened in 2011 in Brixton Market and since then the empire has exploded across London. Critics rave about the burgers here, saying you can tell the difference between an Honest Burger and any other, the beef is great quality, the chips are insanely good and you can even have gluten-free burgers, now that’s something America would approve of.
Unit 12, Brixton Village, Brixton SW9 8PR; honestburgers.co.uk
Red Dog Saloon, Clapham
Famous in Hoxton for its signature burger The Devastator, a gut-busting 8 inch burger that is rarely finished, Red Dog Saloon recently brought its Man vs Food challenge to Clapham. Smoked ribs, pulled pork and other lip-smacking BBQ food draws in the crowds, all washed down with margaritas, bourbon and plenty of American beer.
27-31 Bedford Road, Clapham SW4 7SH; reddogsaloon.co.uk
Fatboys, Trinity Buoy Wharf
Despite it’s celebrity status (the diner has featured in films like Sliding Doors, Vogue photoshoots and music videos), Fatboys is so relaxed it really is like stepping back in time. There’s the unmistakably 40s counter with red-topped stools, flashes of chrome, old jukeboxes on each table. Order thick shakes, elaborate burgers or the Southern Dawg – two hotdogs, made from a ‘secret recipe’ of blended pork and beef, topped with tomato chilli, onion relish, sour cream and mustard.
Trinity Buoy Wharf, 64 Orchard Place E14 OJW; 020 7987 4334; fatboysdiner.net
Brooklyn Bowl at the O2
US import Brooklyn Bowl has a cult celebrity following in New York and since opening in February this year has seen the likes of Pharrell Williams, Ellie Goulding and Cara Delevingne walk through its doors. The clue is in the title, but along with bowling, the place does seriously good American grub – burgers (obviously) but it’s the fried chicken that’s been getting really rave reviews.
The O2, Peninsula Square, SE10 0DX; london.brooklynbowl.com
The Flying Pig, East Dulwich
This East Dulwich craft beer pub delivers a killer pulled pork burger topped with maple cured bacon and coleslaw. It’s a deliciously messy affair served up between two brioche buns. Other options include the Spicy Pig with grilled chorizo, jalapeno and chilli mayo, the El Poco Loco with buttermilk chicken and chilli mayo, and the Tree Hugger with bean and lentil patty and guacamole. Pair with one of a huge number of craft beers from local brewers and enjoy!
58-60 East Dulwich Road, East Dulwich SE22 9AX; theflyingpiglondon.com
Rox Burger, Lewisham
Founded in 2014 by Brazilian chef Fabrizio Bodnar Pires, Rox Burger is a fun, new take on the gourmet burger industry. Rox Burger serves the freshest homemade food, offering classic burgers with a unique and original twist. First, choose whether you want a beef or chicken burger (or vegetarian Portabello mushroom burger), choose how you’d like it – classic, with salad, with bacon, with chorizo, with mushroom or with blue cheese – then choose any additional toppings (avocado, jalapenos, an extra patty etc).
82 Lee High Road, Lewisham SE13 5PT; roxburger.com
Jackson & Rye. Chiswick
Bringing a bit of Soho cool to Chiswick, not that it needs it, Jackson & Rye’s all-American diner look is anything bu kitsch and naff. Monochrome diamond tiles line the floor, plush leather banquettes curve around shiny booth tables and quintessential diner curtains cover the branded windows. The all-day menu serves jumbo portions of steaks, crab rolls, corn bread and mac ‘n’ cheese, graze on sharing plates or go straight for the mains, but don’t by-pass the cocktails.
217-221 Chiswick High Road W4 2DW; jacksonrye.com
Pickle and Rye, East Sheen
Similar name but nothing to do with Jackson & Rye, Pickle and Rye is a favourite among locals in the know and critics alike, who flock for the infamous sandwiches. Its signature nine sandwiches include The Toronto (slow roasted topside beef, melted English cheddar, leaf lettuce, tomato, pickled hot peppers, red onion and horseradish mayo on toasted sourdough) and the New York Style Salt Beef Reuben (homemade salt beef, sauerkraut and Russian dressing with melted emmental on toasted white rye) – so now you see why the crowds come running. Oh and the burgers are good too.
31 Sheen Lane, SW14 8AB; pickleandrye.com
Outsider Tart, Chiswick
Set up by two New Yorkers who moved to London only to be horrified by our bakery offering, thinking we lacked in good wholesome cupcakes, sweet pies and tasty tarts, so they set about changing that. Now Outsider Tart is an award-winning business. Along with the sweet goodies, the duo has Blue Plate serving all day ‘soul food’ and dinners on Thursday to Saturday. For Independence Day the guys are holding a good old fashioned American BBQ 4th and 5th July), with stacks of ribs, bbq chicken, lobster rolls and coleslaw, along with classic cocktails.
83 Chiswick High Road, London W4 2EF; outsidertart.com
Urban Diner, Richmond & Putney
Thick red leather banquettes, silver retro tables and vintage adverts, Urban Diner optimises the American diner. Its specialities are the pulled pork, ribs and wings, which have been smoked over hickory wood. Throw in a portion of onion rings, some corn on the cob (got to have your veg) and you’ll head home happy.
20 Hill Street, Richmond TW9 1TN & 5 Lacy Road, Putney SW15 1NH; urbandiner.co.uk
The Big Easy, Chelsea
You may think that the fine folk of Chelsea don’t like to get their hands dirty, but you’d be wrong. This deep South restaurant has become a stalwart of the King’s Road serving delicious BBQs to hungry punters for years. It’s even won over Jay Rayner who said “If you like your BBQ – and I do – you will love this.” There’s also live music and two-for-one cocktails. Hell, it’s so popular it’s opened its second site in Covent Garden.
332-334 Kings Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 5UR; bigeasy.co.uk
Avenue, St James
A Boston pig butt challenge might not sound that appealing but bear with us. Avenue’s Man vs Food-esque all-can-eat challenge over Independence Day weekend will see diners eat as many Boston butt buns (actually pork shoulder!) as they can in the hope of winning a meal for two with wine at the American’ restaurant. If you’re not feeling in the mood for a race, just opt for Avenue’s £32 set menu, which includes three courses and add unlimited Californian wine for £15.
7-8 St James’s Street, SW1A 1EE; avenue-restaurant.co.uk
This Southern US restaurant on Seymour Place, Marylebone brings a fresh offering the American restaurant scene. On trend interiors avoid the three Bs, booths, banquettes and bright lights, instead it’s all exposed brick work, vintage furniture and a constrained colour-palette, it’s more New York City than highway diner. Mississippi-born chef Brad McDonald is at the helm of the kitchen serving the likes of catfish gumbo and dirty rice with brown crab. The 1235 donuts are a serious hit too. And the wine list is worth a browse too, with American growers from Oregon, Washington and California featuring highly.
22-24 Seymour Place, Marylebone W1H 7NL; lockhartlondon.com
Patty and Bun, Marylebone
It started as a pop-up and now has two restaurants, both with round-the-corner queues most nights, so you can be sure Patty and Bun know burgers – all different types of burgers. There’s lamb, chicken, beef and mushroom, plus sides of chicken wings and thighs, and rosemary fries. The menu is concise and to the point, so there’s little chance of making a mistake with your choice.
54 James Street, Marylebone W1U 1HE; pattyandbun.co.uk