Big Easy Bbq & Crabshack
12 Maiden Lane, London WC2E 7NA – Close to Covent Garden and Leicester Square tubes
I found the dark entrance intriguing rather than off-putting. I wanted to know what it was like at the end of the corridor. To my surprise you enter a large, open, bustling dining area with soft lighting and country and blues music playing. At 12:30pm there were many diners here already, some wearing their plastic bibs, in preparation for the ribs they are about to receive.
Story Behind the Restaurant
The 3 Big Easy restaurants in London were inspired by crabshacks and barbecues of the American Gulf Coast in the 19th Century. They were lively, friendly places offering good wholesome food with friends getting together over great food, drinks and music… I like that!
I was greeted by 2 hosts who showed me to a row high chairs at a bench looking out over the restaurant. It was a great seating area for solo diners and the perfect place to people watch discreetly too (we all do it!). The tables and benches were wooden with worn looking, padded, comfy seating. Other tables were a mixture of sizes for couples or groups. In addition, the downstairs area has a band set up for the evening entertainment. This area is closed for dining weekday lunchtimes.
Big Easy has an extensive a la carte menu, express menu, daily specials, bar snacks and brunch choices.
These included chicken wings, rib tips, jumbo shrimps, mussels and hush puppies – deep fried balls of cornmeal batter with a smoked chilli dip. I chose the jalapeño peppers stuffed with cream cheese, served on corn chips with fresh tomato salsa and sweet chilli sauce. These were delicious! Starters were priced between £6.90-12.90 with the exception of a grand appetiser sharing platter.
The restaurant claims the lobsters are received within 24 hours of being harvested off Nova Scotia! Seafood dishes include lobster mac ‘n’ cheese or the crab shack combo with peel ‘n’ eat shrimp, crab claws, mussels, clam and new potatoes, hot and spicy or with white wine cream. Choose from a selection of hand cut steaks of different weights, smoked bbq foods, chicken dishes and various sandwiches. Click here to see the full Big Easy menu. I chose the ‘home-smoked bar.b.q. taste-o-rama’ from the express menu. This included pulled pork, chicken, Texas hot link sausage, pork rib, beans, slaw and cornbread. The main courses ranged from £10.50-33.50.
The cornbread was quite dry but had a buttery flavour. The smoky flavour of the beans complemented the tender, quite spicy, pulled pork. The meal offered a great combination of flavours and textures.
Side dishes such as wood roasted mushrooms, creamy mash or a house salad are available at an extra cost ranging from £2.90-5.90.
Pure comfort food! Try the banana cream pie, DIY ice cream sundaes or a variety of waffles. Desserts are priced between £2.50-6.90.
There is a massive choice of drinks available… thick shakes, boozy juices, cocktails, slushies and all the regular drinks from the bar. Some days there are happy hours, sometimes two! So check the website for days and times if this is of interest.
I chose the cocoa pops milkshake and felt like a big kid. I was on my own so who cares… one of the joys of solo dining! Actually I’m not sure if it was a drink or a breakfast. Thick, creamy and large, it was hard to drink at times as cocoa pops got stuck in the straw.
Hosts were friendly and attentive. Sitting in the high chair area meant that I had to order my meal from the bar. But I was frequently asked if everything was OK with my food and if I wanted more drinks etc.
Would I Return?
OK so I need to be honest here. I am not a massive meat eater nor am I a big milk drinker but I chose a meat feast and a milkshake… However, I enjoyed what I had and would love to return to try the lobster one evening and to hear the band play.
Big Easy is a fun, lively restaurant in a busy part of London. The food was tasty, service was good and it offered my preferred type of seating area as a solo diner.