Eat/Drink: A Love Letter to Cue Point and Brave Sir Robin
Written by: Tavia Davies
Warm globes of light hang above intimate booths, specially commissioned wall design offers a rich backdrop and cosy sofas, deep armchairs and plentiful cushioned stools ensure no one is without a seat.
A sultry nymph-like portrait gazes across the room at you whilst you order from one of Brave Sir Robin’s 20 rotating taps, the comforting scent of a smoking BBQ filling every cavity of your being with hunger. We attended Brave Sir Robin’s official launch party last month and can’t stop talking about it.
I’m a pretty fussy drinker, ironic considering I started my drinking career off with asking bartenders to put some blackberry squash in my pint, but I’m a changed woman. For me, in my progressed state, it’s now all about sour beer. Sour beer is the jam to my toast, the pickle to my cheese and the applesauce to my latke. L’chaim. Once upon a time in an independent brewery far far away, a bartender urged me to try Austmann’s Disco Sour and I was hooked. A kettle soured Berliner Weisse screaming peach, smoothness and extreme refreshment – like one of those fizzy peach sweets but in beer form. Heaven. I’d tasted nothing like it before and my English sensibilities for piss-poor piss-tasting beer had been ruined forever.
Your average Peroni, Amstel and Heineken just couldn’t do it for me anymore. Moving far from this brewery, I became part of the white wine brigade, with just a glimmer of hope for a good beer becoming a dying ember in my sad, drunken eyes. Everywhere I turned for help I saw IPA’s and they paled in comparison to my baby sour. That was until I found Brave Sir Robin…Oh, my knight in chicken-adorned shining armour. You’ve brought me together with so many gorgeous beers; so many that I’ve lost count of the names and all I need to do now is give Dan the bartender a wink and he knows exactly what to bring me.
One that has really stuck in my brain is Wild Beer Co’s Jambo!, an imperial stout infused with raspberries and cocoa nibs. You know it’s going to be good when they put a gosh darned exclamation mark in the name. It’s almost like those clever fuckers got a stout and stirred some raspberry compote all around in there, with the end result being this light, tangy stout, tasting like raspberries dipped in dark chocolate. Shut up and take my money already!
Fuck it, you know what, I’m just going to shape shift into my true form: one of those middle-aged blokes with snakeskin cowboy boots who read the newspaper with a pint by the bar side from dawn til dusk. It’s who I really am and Jambo! made me do it.
Hard as it may be to believe, this particular imperial stout was the first dark beer I’d ever enjoyed before. A half pint of pale ale the shade of Colman’s Mustard was probably the darkest I’ve ever gone before, and I think I poured that into a mate’s glass. Who knew a dark beer could be light and refreshing? I know, I’m an absolute beer philistine. But brave, brave, Brave Sir Robin has given me this Jambo! gateway beer and I’m well and truly done for.
In runner-up position is a number that currently resides on their menu, Titanic’s Vanilla Chocolate Stout. Loaded with Madagascan vanilla, it’s a rich yet mellow stout that tastes like an alcoholic version of Bruce Bogtrotter’s chocolate cake with a side of vanilla ice cream.
If you’re not a weirdo sour beer drinker or stout lover like me, all you’ve got to do is tell the charming bartenders a thing or two about what you like and they’ll sort you out with as many tasters as you need in your quest to find the right beer for your particular palette. Trust me, they have the right beer for everyone here. You know what else they had up until the 31st December? The Cue Point kitchen residency.
This London smokehouse takes the BBQ scene and turns it upside down, side to side and all around, serving up unbelievably tasty hunks of meat alongside a fantastic array of accompaniments, all made from scratch. Being in such high demand, these smokey genii have already been whisked away by Brave Sir Robin’s sister pub The Rose and Crown in Kentish Town, but thankfully everything you’ll see here can be devoured there until March 2018.
Cue Point co-founder Mursal Saiq caught up with us when we arrived and recommended their special 16 hour smoked brisket, veggie poutain and pulled pork croquettes.
Waiting very patiently for our photographer Mike to get the perfect shots of this glorious array of food before us, I eyed up that sexy little brisket. I was seduced. I made love to it with my eyes. Moist, spicy, saucy love… Sorry, give me a minute please. See that cheeky pink tinge at the edge? That’s when you know the people who’ve cooked it know what they’re doing. Low and slow smoked brisket, 16 hours over oak. I can hear you salivating on the tube back from Old Street as you visualise it now.
When our Mike finally finished with the photography (ah the crushing realities of being a food writer) I was like a greyhound bursting out of my starting box. Hitting me first was that juicy meat; so exceptionally tender it fell apart in my mouth with thick, succulent strips of fat revealing a new level of depth to this dish. It’s not often I am lost for words, but this brisket really takes this biscuit. Layered atop this otherworldly meat was Cue Point’s own kohlrabi, gracing me with a fantastically executed level of crunch; a flawless combination of textures all round.
The brioche bun was springy, slightly sweet, toasted and soggy as all hell; the perfect type of sogginess where it absorbs all the flavour but still manages to keep its shit together. The lower half had been slathered with homemade BBQ sauce and the upper half in the most fantastic jam I’ve ever shoved into my mouth – jalapeno jam, which we’ve managed to score a recipe for (please see the end of this article and you can thank us later). Flecked with tiny bits of peppers, this vibrant green concoction is sweet heat. That’s the only way to describe it. It’s perfectly balanced and amazing with everything. I even nicked off with some and ate it on it’s own later that night.
Once I had processed the magnificence that was the special brisket burger, I moved onto the veggie poutain – a dish I’ve always wanted to try. I mistakenly believed it was like the chips, cheese ‘n’ gravy you get up north but a bit more fancy pants. I was very wrong, this was a dish all of it’s own caliber. Cue Point took some potatoes and cooked them thrice, attacked those potatoes with Quebec cheese curd, dumped a load of meaty Portobello mushrooms atop and drenched the whole thing in their signature gravy.
That gravy fucked me up and I know my gravy. I’m the type of lass at a roast dinner to ask for more gravy before even starting because I want my food to be swimming in it. I’ve been known to just dip sliced white bread in gravy for a snack. Wow, I’m disgusting – but I know you’re going to head home after the pub tonight and try it out for yourself. But this gravy-drenched cup of carby-cheesy goodness is not. I have no idea how they managed it, but those potatoes soaked up all that gravy and all those curds whilst still retaining a damn fine crunch. Hats off to you, Cue Point, you absolute wizards.
The last thing we tucked into were the smoked pulled pork, potato and cheese croquettes served with a side of smoked aioli. These fluffy little parcels of delight were a perfect side dish that allowed for the star of the show, the brisket, to shine brightly. To be perfectly honest by this point I was done for – my mind could no longer process the greatness in front of me. I knew those croquettes were damn good but my memories of it have been stolen by that brisket. I’ll just have to go see Cue Point in The Rose and Crown to try them again. What a shame…
As our photographer concisely summed the whole experience up for me, ‘It was amazing’. This is why he does the pretty pictures and I do the words, but nevertheless I think I can agree with that. As for you guys, you can find the moist, spicy, saucy Cue Point at The Rose and Crown in Kentish Town, NW5 2SG, until March 2018. Brave Sir Robin will be hosting a wide array of other fabulous pop-ups in the future too, with Scandi-style smokehouse Kjot and Eldur currently in attendance.
And that jalapeño jam I told you about earlier? Well paint me green and call me a pickle, we’ve only bloody well got the very recipe used to make it from the folk at Cue Point! For the handy dandy Cue Point chef, he goes by intuition, experience and personal preference for the measurements so this is your chance to experiment the heck out of this recipe for your very own personal blend of jalapeño jam.
Cue Point’s Jalapeno Jam Recipe
– Lime juice
1. Wood fire the jalapeños (Cue Point uses Oak wood) until nicely charred.
2. Blitz those charred jalapeños in a food processor until you have a semi-smooth texture.
3. Place your gelatine leaf in a pan filled with cold water.
4. In a heavy based pan over a low heat, add in your jalapeño mixture, lime juice and sugar.
5. Reduce the mixture until there’s no liquid left.
6. Add in the gelatine to the hot mixture and stir slowly.
7. Boom, you’ve got jalapeño jam.
8. Can we have some?
Photos by Michael Barry at The Barefaced Movement
It’s pelting it down, it’s cold, the Arsenal v Everton match just finished. We raced to Hammerton Brewery for their monthly taproom opening, dodging and weaving our way through the masses of footie fans emerging from the Emirates Stadium after a good two hours of watching a bunch of blokes kick a ball around a field. Football fan I am not. After sweeping through a maze of cobblestone side streets on a forced detour, we finally arrived to Roman Way. We wiped away the sweat and rain running down our faces, parked our bikes up and headed into the darkness. Hidden away from prying eyes in an industrial estate just a few streets parallel to HMP Pentonville, you’d never even know the brewery was there. Thankfully, our contributor Emmie informed us of this piss-up in a brewery last year so we’re in the know, you know?
National disability charity, Sense, has championed the development of arts activities tailored towards individuals with sensory impairments. Coining the term ‘sensory arts practice’, their latest project explores the relationship between music and art through the creative expression of nine artists to be showcased iat artsdepot in Finchley next Thursday 1st February.
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