21 August 2014

Q Grill

29-33 Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8AJ

£40.00 North American Regent's Park, Camden Town
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  • Wine: £15.00
  • Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 12N-11.30pm (Fri -12M) Sat 10am-12M Sun 11.30am-10.30pm

Square Meal Review of Q Grill ?

The Q in the name references BBQ, and this eatery from ex-Caprice Holdings CEO Des McDonald celebrates all things smoky and grilled. Bare wood, dishevelled metal, hanging cleavers and industrial lighting contribute to a carefully created, shabby-chic design that feels ripe for a roll-out. Salads and raw dishes provide the warm-up acts on a menu that has Deep South soul, but is willing to travel: steak tartare wins points for its judicious use of spice and capers, while tuna crudo with avocado and pomegranate is a textural funfair. To follow, a sumptuously moist pit-roast half-chicken hits the spot – although the same can’t be said of the signature rack of ribs, which was dry and devoid of stickiness when we visited. Still, the bourbon-infused pecan pie makes amends, while the drinks list runs to diverse cocktails and locally brewed Camden Town beers. In short, a fun prospect that could be a class act with a little more polish.

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  1. Published : Monday, 21st April 2014

    Samphire and Salsify :: Q Grill, Camden

    Located on Chalk Farm Road in Camden, Q Grill is the latest venture from professional Jason Statham look-a-like, I mean restaurateur, Des McDonald – he also owns The Fish and Chip Shop and Holborn Dining Room, both of which I love. It was a large and beautifully done-out restaurant. There was a long bar with comfy stool seats to the right hand side, large semi-circular booths to the left and an open plan kitchen out the back, plus even more seating round the corner and up the stair...
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  2. Porky’s larger, better looking but shallower neighbour You wait months for a new American-style barbecue restaurant in London and two arrive at the same time. Q Grill in Camden arrives hot on the heels of One Sixty in West Hampstead, but while One Sixty has a fairly short, focussed menu, the menu at Q Grill lurches around like the leery drunks on the streets outside. A handful of barbecue dishes are joined by everything from a burger and a hot dog to steak tartare and even a ceviche. A meandering, wiffley-waffley menu doesn’t fill me with confidence, but at least the service was friendly and reasonably efficient. It can be prone to inattentiveness though – waiting 20 minutes to order a dessert and another 20 to settle the bill, when the lunch time rush has petered out, is not my idea of a good time...
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  3. Published : Tuesday, 1st April 2014

    Gingle lists everything :: Q Grill, 23rd March

    Reviewing a place while it is in its soft launch might not be entirely fair. But I'm going to do it anyway. However, please do bear in mind that it WAS their first week and so I'm sure any little niggles will soon be resolved.I hadn't intended on heading to Q Grill so soon after its opening but we happened to be in the area (after seeing the Scene and Heard plays) so it seemed silly not to take advantage of the 50% discount!Stephen and I did our usual of ordering a couple of things to share. The menu isn't exactly extensive but each of the seven or so choices under each section sound so good that it took a while for us to settle on something.Eventually the wild garlic sauce on the southern fried chicken dish called to us and of course, choosing to have short rib wasn't a hard decision to make. I knew I wanted beans, and we thought a good measure of a place is its fries so we had some of those as well.The chicken arrived and I was a little disappointed. Instead of maybe a thigh and a breast a la KFC, what arrived was basically a chicken escalope which had been cut into slices. It really wasn't the most appealing presentation I had ever seen. And no sign of the sauce which had prompted us to order it!The short rib on the other hand looked delicious and easily fell apart as we portioned it out. It came with a sweet potato (we think) puree and two strands of cime de rapa which were like a cross between brocolli and celery. In layman's terms it turns out they're turnip tops and they were a nice bit of veg. The short rib was beautiful and full of meaty, savoury flavour. I didn't even bother adding any BBQ sauce to it.We called our waiter over to ask about the lack of sauce with the chicken. He took a look at the menu and agreed it ought to come with some and said he'd go back to the kitchen to ask. In the meantime I decided to give Stephen his share of the chicken and as I moved a strip I saw that the sauce was underneath it all! This seems a bit odd to me as it's such a pretty vibrant green, why hide it? I felt a bit silly and tried to call the waiter back. However when he reappeared it was with a whole pot of the stuff. Must admit, it was wonderful so I was rather glad we'd wangled more of it without meaning to. The chicken was fine – nicely breaded and not greasy at all, though a little pedestrian. I wouldn't order this again, though I might ask for the wild garlic sauce as extra to whatever I did have!Peekaboo! Hiding sauceSo, it was pretty evident that our waiter was new to the waiting game and the whole place hadn't quite found its feet yet. He checked and double checked our order, and obviously had yet to completely get to grips as proved by not knowing that the sauce was served underneath the chicken. We did notice a little confusion over where orders were going, but like I say, the soft launch is all about figuring this stuff out so they deserve the benefit of the doubt. I thought the beans were perfect - a good texture and a nice BBQ taste, and the chips were crunchy and came with a smattering of chip spice on them, which was slightly sweet and very moreish. The only point of complaint I would have about the food is that most of the dishes could have been warmer in our opinion. The chips especially. The prices are average for this kind of food, though we thought the chicken, at 13.50, was a little expensive for what it was. Overall I think they're onto something good here - the josper ribs we saw as we left looked fantastic.And the restaurant itself is a good-looking place, classy but with the woody feel you expect of a BBQ place. It actually feels like a mid-level New York steak restaurant. And it's huge! I loved that they've really thought about the space you need if you're eating at the bar, not a table. And I got a kick out of my swivel chair. A while ago I went to Porky's and wasn't too impressed but said they'd probably do alright as there was no competition in the area. Well, now there is, and Porky's ought to be worried.
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