All over London, dedicated swallowers of fashion are stuffing themselves silly with the latest hipsterised American fast food. Burgers, hot dogs, wings and ribs have all been given the trendy street-food re-rub and served up as the new, cool alternative to our own fish and chips or doners.
The food of the Lowcountry (the coast of South Carolina) is one of the distinctive regional culinary styles of the States, similar to that of the Deep South and Louisiana. So here in the swamplands of Fulham there’s ribs, gumbo, grits (ground corn) and ‘chicken-fried pork’. A lot of seafood features: lobster, clams, oysters, crabs and scallops.
‘All of our ingredients are either local or from the Southern and East Coast wilds of the US,’ proclaims the menu, before listing Dorset crab meat, Canadian bacon and Black Forest ham. Geographic haziness aside, what we ate – prawns with grits, braised ribs, ‘voodoo’ wings – was all decent, but let down by the venue. There was no music on the quiet night we visited, although there were big screens with Sky News on silent – a real mood killer. The decor looks like an afterthought. Waitresses were well meaning, but were unable to describe the dishes: inexcusable, even in the first week of service.
It’s in the shell of a fairly sizeable old pub, and advertises itself as a bar as well as restaurant: ‘We don’t just serve food, but also some of the best drinks in town!’ the website claims. I didn’t see them. In an age when every new bar in the city seems to have its fridges rammed with US craft beer, Lowcountry’s authentic taste of the US is restricted to… Budweiser.
Just over the road in the Fulham FC shop is a cut-out of their big Texan forward, Clint Dempsey, looking typically mean. I can’t help thinking that if he ever gets cravings for the food of the South and stops off on his way home from the Cottage one day, he might leave looking even meaner.