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12 Maiden Lane
A spin-off from the original King’s Road rocker, Big Easy Covent Garden also aims to celebrate New Orleans in all its sinful glory. Located in what was a Victorian power station, the new site
struts its stuff as a good-timing crabshack and BBQ restaurant with lots of original features intact and a massive ‘wall of fire’ kitchen below stairs featuring two Argentinian parrilla grills,
rotisseries, wood-burning ovens and suchlike. Over 500 bottles are on display in the formidable nine-metre bar, which dispenses draught negronis plus a raunchy line-up of ‘boozy juice’, pickle
backs and ‘X-rated shakes’ to get you primed for some juicy stateside hits. Pit-smoked chicken wings and spicy voodoo prawns with blue cheese dip make way for Nova Scotia lobsters, rare-breed
British steaks and finger-licking St Louis-style ribs – all served up by chatty staff. There's also live music every night at this fun feast.
Proof that big (500-700 covers on a Friday night) or informal (BBQ/crab shack) needn’t mean a thoughtless drinks list. From cocktails to Condrieu and shakes to Champagne, this list packs more of interest into its five pages than most other lists do in 50. The by-the-glass selection is short, helpful and food-friendly while the ‘full list’ is wide-ranging yet compact and, for Covent Garden, fairly priced. How many Southern grill venues, we wonder, offer reds from Etna or Croatia or Madeira by the glass…
12 Maiden Lane
020 3728 4888
Covent Garden Tube Station 264m
Charing Cross Tube Station 319m
Vaudeville Theatre 68m
Adelphi Theatre 81m
Mon-Sun 12N-11pm (Fri-Sat -12M Sun -10.30pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
For a special occasion this is a super restaurant. Live music, glittery decor, slush cocktails (the margaritas are a divine mix of tequila, lime tang and pepper). The food was epic in taste and portions. A group of 5 shared a Lobster Fest (this covers whole 1½lb lobster served with fries, house Salad & a free drink. Additionally to this we had a large Caesar salad, Lobster Bake which included half lobster, peel ‘n’ eat giant shrimp, mussels, crab claws & potatoes, and a choice of sauce. We opted for hot ‘n’ spicy. As well as this one whole Atlantic crab steamed with drawn butter. Our waiter advised us that this would not be enough for 5 people; however, having been out for lunch, we stuck to our guns and were suitably stuffed. Especially after we'd cracked every claw and pincer’d out every bit of edible shell fish.
For dessert we shared again between 5 the boozey ice cream and waffles with apple and cinnamon. These were scrummy and a great end to our monster meal.
Highlights were the candle in the pudding for Mr N's 30th Birthday treat, as well as the delicious cocktails and fab food.
A low point has to the be service. Our waiter advised us once we'd been waiting to order for 20 minutes that we only had a 2 hour slot at our table. We know this is standard in London especially at a relatively new restaurant. So we suggested our starter of calamari be served with the meal. This was unconsciously ignored. After finishing the starter we waited 25 minutes before our main arrived. By which time we had already used almost half our time allowance. This added unnecessary stress to the meal.
Additionally the waiters English seemed to be a barrier, as we requested a Caesar salad and were served a chicken Caesar salad at an additional cost of £4.00 which wasn't ordered. Equally our boozy ice cream dessert was replaced by plain ice cream pudding. Irritating when you're aware of a time pressure on the table.
Big Easy CG a great restaurant, but one tip for future bookers, make sure your order has been correctly interpreted.
Food + drink: 3
I was amazed by the size of this place! The walk from our table to the gents toilet felt like a journey to the centre of the earth and I wish I'd taken a water bottle (of which more later…). Once there, the toilet was tiny and a bit grotty, with staff needing to be told to refill toilet rolls. Not great.
Serving staff were friendly and helpful, but a bit slow to attend to us, which I suppose is understandable in a venue this size.
The food was OK, but not very sophisticated. Fair enough I suppose, you don't go somewhere like this for haute cuisine. The chef definitely knew where the salt was, which meant I needed that waterbottle again! I left thirsty and needed to drink litres of water afterwards just to slake my thirst.
The drinks offering in the venue was fun, with good beers, a good bourbon selection and a reasonable but somewhat uninspiring wine list (who drinks wine in these places anyway?!). They did make me an outstanding Old Fashioned, at which point my enjoyment of the meal definitely increased.
In summary, this place delivered exactly what you would expect, but isn't somewhere I would rush back to. There are smaller, more interesting US barbecue places on offer in our great capital which feel less gigantic and corporate, and possibly a bit more deserving of your hard-earned…
Food + drink: 0
I've been a fan of Big Easy on King's Road for years. When they announced the new restaurant in Covent garden I like many others was excited. Great location, great food. Or so I thought. What a disappointment! This is like a completely different restaurant, with a different vibe and different food.
The food was oh so disappointing. We had the appealingly entitled “Bar.B.Q Blow out” and “Taste-O-Rama”. All the meat was incredibly dry. The succelent, moist ribs you get at King's Road were missing. The chicken arrived stone cold! The menu says some rubbish about the food being slow roasted. Apparently that means the food will arrive “warm, not piping hot”. I wasn't aware that a slow roast oven is not hot. Anyway, is that a reason to serve chicken cold? We ended up smothering all the meat with barbecue sauce which improved it only a little. and the fries are appalling. Tasted like oven ready, but not as good.
This is destined to be an additional toursit trap in Covent Garden. I'm sure that no amount of poor reviews will dent its popularity. This place is even worse than its competitor with the three initials and the last working day of the week in its name. I think it's obvious that I will not be returning.
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