It’s a funny thing, the bandwagon. It gathers pace slowly at first, then – boom! – all the seats are taken, and everyone’s on board. Honky Tonk is the most recent to join the party. The ‘posh junk food’ party, that is: with a burger and a plate of ‘not’ fried chicken (except, it is) kicking off the main courses.
The rest of the menu is squarely rib-shack, and so it should be, with a name like Honky Tonk. This is where the kitchen’s strengths lie: pork ribs (there’s a beef option too) came slathered in a sweet, smokey barbecue sauce, the lean, tender flesh coming easily away from the bone. A trio of dinky breaded crab cakes were equally enjoyable, the full flavour of the coral nicely offset by a delicate sweet chilli mayo. Likewise, the pudding of pecan pie might have been a little ‘neat and tidy’ for a crab shack, but delivered on taste with its sweet, squidgy filling and crumbly, good-quality pastry.
By contrast, our main course foray into fast food disappointed. The house burger was perfectly fine, but the accompanying handcut chips were a touch soggy. That ‘not’ fried chicken was on the greasy side, though we enjoyed the Cajun kick in the ‘secret’ topping.
The short list of cocktails is perfectly pitched to the groups of young friends and twentysomethings on dates: they may lack finesse, but boy, do they pack a punch. Just as well, as the diner-by-numbers decor (exposed bare bricks and lightbulbs, scuffed floors, cute waitresses in denim hotpants) looks best through the bottom of a glass.
And don’t pack your line-dancing boots: sure, you’ll hear some good ol’ fashioned honky tonk, but in between Elvis and The Killers. Not that the locals are complaining: on our visit, it was a full house.