10 Restaurants With BBQs (When You Can’t Be Arsed To Host A BBQ)Avoid that call to the London Fire Brigade. Make a booking at one of these fire-focused restaurants instead.
Barbecues are all fun and games until one of the following things happen:
You accidentally allow the Quorn sausages to touch the beef burgers and ignite a civil war between a couple involving the phrase “meat juice”.
It starts raining. Hard.
You have to place a super chill call to the London Fire Brigade. “Nothing says summer fun like filling out an incident report right lads? Haha, right? Right?”
Yes, like getting a fringe or buying a canal boat, barbecues are great in theory but deeply impractical. That’s why we prefer to hand all of the responsibility over to restaurants so we can focus on the important stuff, like sinking pints and seeing how many ribs we can eat without feeling like a human hyena. Read on for all the big barbecue energy restaurants that will offer you maximum flavour and minimum faff.
Mangal 1 has a red frontage, the same colour as the blistered peppers that garnish plates of their barbecued meat. Which means we’re always hungry the minute we arrive at this Turkish spot in Dalston. But soon the sound of rumbling stomachs is replaced by stacked plates of lamb kebabs and mackerel pide clattering onto tables and satisfied “hmm” noises from neigbouring groups. If you can manage any more food, get some of the chicken wings to go.
Alhaji’s yaji is takeaway only. Which is good because you aren’t going to want to share the food from this Peckham spot, and you’re likely to shed a spice-induced tear or two. Their homemade spice mix of chilli, peanut, ginger, and garlic covers their freshly grilled suya. You can choose from lamb, beef (get the tozo), or chicken—and it’s the reason you’ll likely find a new found appreciation for raw tomato and white onion. Both offset the fiery spice and savouriness that comes as standard from this melt-in-your-mouth Nigerian barbecue spot.
Thai barbecue—two words that give us happy shivers. Which is ironic because Kiln in Soho is all about heat. Heat from the open kitchen, from oak logs being thrown on the kiln, and from the wood-burning ovens. Curries bubble away and charred meats and fresh grilled fish are slid across the stainless steel counter. This isn’t just one of London’s best Thai-influenced restaurants, it’s one of the city's best restaurants full-stop.
F.K.A.B.A.M is a tiny and riotous restaurant on Highbury Corner. Inside the dark, moody space there’s heavy metal blaring from the speakers, cans of beer cracking all around you, and the scent of smoky stuff coming from the oven. Check their Instagram for the latest fixed price, sharing menu. It changes monthly and includes Turkish-inspired dishes like lamb offal flatbreads, blistered mackerel, and oxtail gratin. If you’ve got the stomach for it, finish your meal with a borscht back—a vodka shot, a borscht shot, and a bit of frankfurter on a stick.
London, for all its big park energy during the summer months—the disposable tin, the burnt sausages, the suspect chicken—is not a BBQ city. At least, not in the cuisine sense. So everyone should be happy that From The Ashes is a thing. The BBQ spot is best-known for its sweet and savoury doughnuts (handmade sugar-coated pillows packed with smoked pork and ‘nduja) but everything here is moist, smoky, and all-together delicious. The smoked pork and beef buns are easy go-tos and sides of crispy beef fat potatoes and burnt end beans add up to a fantastic pavement meal. Catch them at The Ram in Wandsworth and Hackney’s Five Points Brewery. And keep an eye on their Instagram for pop-up announcements and market stints too.
The first time we left Acme Fire Cult we smelt of the one scent that is truly more erotic than Lynx Africa: smoked lamb. A ‘live fire concept restaurant’—hint: fancy way of saying barbecue—located inside Dalston’s 40FT Brewery, it covers all the fan favourites and more. Hefty slabs of charred meat? Check. Icy alfresco pints? Plenty. A fermented squash hummus that functions as London’s most satisfying macadamia dish? Well, not your classic barbecue number but we’ll very much take it. You should also know that the terrace is covered so you don’t even need to obsessively check your weather app before visiting.
A meal at Cue Point—inside Elephant and Castle’s Orbit Brewery—is a massive step-up from your average backyard BBQ. Instead of sitting on a broken plastic chair and being served a slightly charred Richmond sausage, you’re getting some of the best brisket in London. The British-Afghan fusion menu means you’ll be eating brisket buns, loaded fries, and BBQ roasts on Sundays. And the brewery's outdoor space means that like the smell of sunscreen and people in bikinis discussing their “type on paper”, this is a spot that feels exactly like summer.
Brat’s location in London Fields is one of the places to be, rain or shine, during the British summer, spring, or any season. The Basque grill-inspired restaurant is a relatively bougie take on barbecue. Sure, you’re sitting in a glorified gazebo but the open flames from the kitchen are hitting charred anchovy-topped flatbread, smoky potatoes, and whole vinegar-washed turbot. The combination of the paired-back courtyard setting and high-end flame-cooked food make for one of London’s best barbecue-ish experiences.
We mean, it’s in the name isn’t it. A popular Shoreditch restaurant that is really, really into corrugated iron, purposeful rust, and importantly, barbecue. Smokestak’s brisket bun is the stuff of London meat legend. But it’s not just this towering beef-meet-bread and pickled chilli fest that gives this place the title of carnivore connoisseurs. It’s the charred pork belly, crispy ox cheek, and 30-day dry-aged ribs too. You can even get a whole beef brisket to share, which, let’s be honest, you wouldn’t be able to fit on that sad little disposable barbecue from Tesco even if you tried. FYI there’s also a terrace out front.
Approaching Ewarts is an always-happy sensory overload. There’s the perma-throb of reggaeton and dub coming from different corners of Gillett Square, the roll of skateboards on concrete, the crack of tinnies being opened, and then the smell of Ewarts’ smoking jerk drum. This is east London’s most legit jerk chicken. It’s rubbed dry, cooked fresh, and has that smokiness and crisp char that can’t be replicated. In fact, with everything else thrown in, this is east London’s best cookout experience.