The Blues Kitchen Camden

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Bars, North American

The Blues Kitchen Camden
The Blues Kitchen Camden
The Blues Kitchen Camden
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SquareMeal Review of The Blues Kitchen Camden

There’s no need to feel blue at Camden’s spirited soul shack, where food from America’s deep south, nightly live music and a bumper crop of bourbon combine to make a lively New Orleans-style night out. Drink and music take centre stage. Liquid enticements include cracking old fashioned and whisky sour cocktails, as well as milkshakes spiked with booze; aural stimulations comprise an impressive roll-call of bands (Seasick Steve and the Mystery Jets are past performers). Food is less impressive, though big booths, 1950s' memorabilia, neon signs and gingham wallpaper form an appropriate backdrop for a menu that will horrify calorie counters. Fatten up with buffalo wings and blue-cheese dip, seafood jambalaya, smoky barbecue ribs, or stacked pancakes with bacon and maple syrup for Sunday brunch.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
Bars, North American
Ambience
Fun, Lively
Special Features
Live music / dancing, Wheelchair access
People
Group dining [8+], Special occasions

Location for The Blues Kitchen Camden

111-113 Camden High Street, London, NW1 7JN

020 7387 5277

Website

Opening Times

Mon-Fri 12N-12M (Thurs -2am Fri -3am) Sat-Sun 11am-3am (Sun -12M)

Reviews of The Blues Kitchen Camden

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9 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Mr. Rich M

Ain't nothing like the Blues
26 June 2013  
When I was a young man, there was a weekday evening TV programme that reviewed computer games. This was back before gaming became mainstream ‘popular culture’ and were just the thing that little boys did after they'd graduated from Panini stickers but before they had discovered Rebecca Burley's cleavage and the intense joy of illicitly obtained cigarettes. One of the many features I remember from the show, other than the venerable Patrick Moore as the titular Gamesmaster dispensing advice on how to reach previously unachievable levels and slay end of dungeon bosses, was the hilarious Viewer Reviewer section. Each week a pasty faced young limb from the provinces would be given the first play of a new game before reporting back in the way of any normal twelve year old confronted with adults and a TV camera: “I liked this game, it was good.” they'd intone nervously. “The graphics were good and the sound was, um, good”. Warming to the theme, “overall this game is recommended. If you like that sort of game”. Hardly Giles Coren, but then who am I to talk? The Blues Kitchen on the Camden High Road makes all the right noises, and some of the things it tries, it manages to pull off perfectly. On a Wednesday evening at 7.30pm, it's slick, reclaimed brick and artfully themed interior is packed out and booked out, so much so that we're told by the chipper and efficient front of house that there isn't a table until 9.30. We slink back across the road for another pint before being called with a cancellation. Staff are universally friendly, funky and devoid of the 'tude one might expect given the locale (and the crowds). Beers from a slim list of US crafts are pricey, but a wonderful set from house singer Katy Anderson and her band the Rumours is as deliciously well done as it is unhyped. In hindsight, I'd have opted to sit nearer, have a couple of beers and enjoy the set more. The menu is, unlike the bar, a pretty straight summary of good ol' Louisiana stylings. And the selection of burgers, fried or BBQ'ed goods and gumbo certainly fit the design theme. Like the teen reviewer of my youth though, I can't get round the fact it was all good, but ‘just’ good. Despite the potential to be so much better. A shared platter of sliders were fair enough, perfectly adequate support to the band and the beers, though the new house special of deep fried alligator tail fillet could have been chicken or pork given the level of cooking it had endured in it's panko crumbed prison. The mains were united in three aspects; great ingredients, cooked well but woefully underpowered with their seasoning. My St Louis pork ribs were perfectly juicy and tender, cooked perfectly over (allegedly) aromatic wood chips, but just didn't have any flavour to them. Lovely meat, but someone had totally missed the marinading stage. Cooked nude, without the thick umami kick and spice a good sauce should have brought, they were just ‘nice’, sadly no more than that. The same, even less forgivably, was true of the gumbo… A deep slow cooked stew of seafood, meats and spices shouldn't need to be liberally salted and peppered just to render it edible, especially when otherwise it was so well prepared. It was puzzling though maybe that's ‘fine’ if you're not a big fan of the duurty BBQ experience. Sadly, despite the stunning rhythm ‘n’ blues and the friendly staff, I can't see that I'd be back in a hurry for the food. It's a great option if you are unlucky enough to find yourself trapped in Camden of an evening and more than adequate for a night of music and drinks, but the food feels very much ancillary to that. “Overall this place is recommended. If you like that sort of thing”.
Food & Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Mr. Chris T

28 May 2012  
Working in Camden we're not short of places for lunch, and I walked past the Blues Kitchen many times before I ventured in. Having been there once, it's now on my list of regular haunts. The decor is artfully dishevelled, with that lived in look that takes either years or money to achieve. The booths are very comfortable and widely spaced, enough for 6 if you're very friendly (and/or Camden chic skinny), or they can fit 4 porkers like me. The menu is comfort food all the way. The pulled pork sandwiches I think are the highlight of the menu, with the meat melt in the mouth tender and not a hint of dryness, and the right amount of apple sauce to complement the saltiness of the meat. Also highly recommended are the buffalo wings, hot enough to put a zing on your lips but not so hot you struggle to finish or are crying by the end. Chips come in ain interesting tin cup and are well cooked, though better to go for the coleslaw which is creamy and suitable chunky. The only disappointing item I've had on the menu so far has been the burger. The Bun and the toppings are excellent, but the burger itself just didn't deliver, it seemed a touch anaemic and flaccid. That said, having one of the best Burger joints in London just up the road may well mean that my internal burger bar is just set too high… Service is generally good, with the food coming quickly, however even when it's quiet the staff tend to be a bit far away for you to get their attention should you need something. They advertise themselves as the best lunch in Camden. Well maybe not quite, but certainly in my top 5.
Food & Drink
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Ms/Mrs. Holly P

31 January 2012  
I have to say, when my friend said we were going to the Blues Kitchen, I was not that excited. I had been before when it opened and it was not all I had hoped for. But what a difference! The food is amazing! We stared with some perfectly made killer cocktail. Then followed the sharing meat platter. Ribs, prawns, beef – all slow cooked and moist. The BBQ sauce was to die for. Pulled pork sandwich for main – another triumph, especially with a rum and vanilla milkshake. It is now a great restaurant with a fantastic bar and live music – I can’t wait to go back
Food & Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Mr. thomas L

22 March 2010  
LOVE THIS PLACE! Being from the states can straight up say this is some of the best soul food ive had across the pond! Seafood Jambalaya is a particular fav but hot wings also up there with the best. Also a great vibe about the place from the bands through to the staff who are super cool. Thumbs up from me!
Food & Drink
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Ms/Mrs. Sally P

26 February 2010  
I went into Blues Kitchen for Valentines day. The band was amazing and they sang some tunes I could relate with like Mojo Rising, play funky music Loud. The bouncer was friendly and kind.Drinks were normally priced but the service was slow tho. But the music at the venue override the bad service at the bar!Good place to be if u enjoy live music!
Food & Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Ms/Mrs. zoe B

18 February 2010  
Went to Blues Kitchen last night for the first time with a group. we booked ahead and were seated in large booth, which was perfect for us. The place is beautifully decorated and has a very cool and vibey atmosphere. There is a very impressive bourbon list and some great cocktails, after sampling both we were all up and dancing with the band! The food was great, buffalo wings to die for, Seafood Jambalaya was fresh and packed with seafood and my friend's burger was cooked to perfection. great place to go with a group of friends and party. Staff were really friendly and attentive too, nothing was too much trouble. cant wait to go back
Food & Drink
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Ms/Mrs. Emma C

04 February 2010  
When a colleague first invited me to the Blues Kitchen for a quick drink, I was a bit apprehensive. Having read many disappointing reviews, I did not really know what to expect when I visited it yesterday, surely not good service. But perhaps because I went in with such low expectations, this place really surprised me. It was not too busy when we entered & were immediately asked by one of the waitresses if we’d like a table. We asked to look at the menu first. It didn’t look too bad, quite appetising actually. The place also looked comfy with cosy looking booths, a nice ambience & so we agreed to be seated. We ordered a bourbon smash, recommended by the waitress & a large glass of Organic Sauvignon Blanc. They arrived in quick succession. The bourbon smash was unbelievably good, smooth, light and a bit fruity! One of those things, I’d never expected bourbon to be. Now being quite new to soul food, I went for the most South American looking item on the menu – which for me was the seafood Jambalaya. My colleague ordered the BBQ Ribs which I got a sneak peek of from the next table, and it looked massive. Our food arrived within 15mins and we tucked in instantly. The presentation was good & except for the Jambalaya being a bit dry, dinner was a treat. The BBQ sauce on the ribs was amazing & I couldn’t help pick on my colleagues food every now and then. The portions for both were very good & excellent value for money. What made the evening better was the waitress who looked after us very well, constantly inquiring if things were OK and if we needed anything else. It was something I never expected. Finally, we finished off with some gorgeous Mississippi Mud Pie. My colleague & I had a lovely time and would recommend it definitely on a weekday when it isn’t too busy & you can sit, relax & enjoy your food.
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Mr. Alan B

06 January 2010  
A great bar in Camden for after work drinks or a relaxed evening session. For me it was the latter yesterday, when we walked in to the bar and decided to sample some of their bourbons. Started off with one and before I knew it, I had five! And although I have a terrible hangover today, I cannot deny that yesterday was a good start to the new year. The soul jam session was very good and recommended to all those who want to showcase their talent and/or those like me who like their whisky with some soul. I will be going back to try those BBQ ribs and more.
Food & Drink
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Ms/Mrs. Doreen S

30 November 2009  
I've been to the Blues Kitchen a couple of times now, what with it being quite close to my work place and it only gets better with time. Its predecessor the Oh Bar was a disaster and the change the management of the Blues Kitchen have brought in is tremendous. Right from the decor which includes trumpet shaped chandeliers and garage lamps to the cosy booths that you can enjoy a hearty home cooked meal, this place does not disappoint. I was here last Friday at about 7.30ish with a couple of colleagues. The atmosphere was warm and quite welcoming, with the hostess/waitress offering us a table, should we want to have dinner. Having looked at the menu, which was very interesting we decided to take her up on that offer and were quickly seated. I had never tried soul food before so it was quite looking forward to eating here. The starters we ordered, which included some corn bread, blackened shrimp and devilled eggs arrived almost immediately and much to my satisfaction, were gorgeous! We were almost full, but the surf n' turf sounded so appetising that I had to order one. I wouldn't say that it was one of the best I've had but it definitely could get there, the steak was well cooked and for a medium rare person like me, that was my only grouse. We finished off with some gorgeous key lime pie. As the band started playing, we were ready to down a few cocktails and party. Brilliant. Will be back.
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