Poor showing at Porky's. Great atmosphere and good service, but food was an epic disappointment for this American. Yes, as a yank I may be pickier about my BBQ than other Londoners, but as this city's current culinary market is infatuated with American-style BBQ options, I'd expect a little more effort from the kitchen. My side house salad was probably the best thing we ate - which is sad considering that a salad of that sort, though delicious, wouldn't be found a within a mile of proper Memphis BBQ back home. It had no business so the menu. The meat (we had ribs and tips) was ok. The slathered sauce was tasty, but I have no idea what they are using to smoke the meat for 18 hours considering that it came out chewy and very fatty. 18 hours of smoking should result in fall-off-the bone goodness, not a wrestling match between my teeth and and a piece of pig. The sauces were watery and lacked depth of flavour - the chef has definitely missed the mark on understanding the the premise behind Memphis vinegar-based sauces.The mac and cheese was pretty good (hard to go wrong with hot cheese), but the seasoned fries we're soggy and tasteless. I literally had three and stopped eating them. The most epic blunders, however, were the "BBQ baked beans" and the "hush puppies". The beans were horrendously undercooked. Other than a hint of BBQ sauce, they better resembled a sad attempt at some kind of Italian bean stew than anything you'd experience State side. The hush puppies were a travesty. What should be unctuous, cake-like balls of sweet and savoury cornbread were instead balls of fried pasty masa mashed together with chunks of corn (maize). Whoever is responsible for the recipe misunderstood the basic ingredients of what goes into a hush puppy, and has clearly never tasted one. The only reason I can imagine why Time Out has given this place such a high ranking is because it's trendy, not tasty. With so many decent American-style BBQ joints now available in London, why not make the effort to be both?
© Tina Jui
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Wed Sep 18 2013
From Carolina ‘cue’ joints to rough-and-ready pop-ups, southern US barbecue has captured the hearts and palates of hungry Londoners. We’re now spoilt for choice, but Porky’s needs to be on your radar.
This Camden Town joint, where the vibe is low-key and the service friendly, produces Memphis-style cooking that’s true to its roots: portions are massive, prices reasonable, flavours full-on.
Enter and you’re transported to the Deep South. Elvis and Carl Perkins croon through the speakers as diners devour vast slabs of meat in a casual, stripped-back setting of exposed brick walls, vintage posters and ambient lighting. As you’d expect, pork is the main attraction.
Tender, perfectly seasoned, 18-hour slow-cooked pulled pork, and plump, juicy wet ribs are the most popular dishes, but you’ll also find spit-roast barbecue chicken, fried catfish and quinoa chilli, a polite nod to vegetarians.
We went the full hog and ordered ribs and pulled pork with scrumptious sides of creamed spinach, barbecue beans and the most sublime corn and cheese hush puppies we’ve encountered outside the US. To make the experience complete, we smothered everything in the own-made chilli-vinegar dressing and drank a couple of Fordham Helles lagers from the extensive British and American craft beer menu. Porky’s is a must-visit for soul food lovin’ meat-eaters: arrive ravenous, and admit defeat if need be… doggy bags are at hand.
Reviewed by Chloe Dickson
Porky's 18 Chalk Farm Road
- Venue phone:
020 7428 0998
- Venue website:
- Opening hours:
Open 5pm-10pm Mon-Thur, noon-11pm Fri, 9am-11pm Sat, 9am-10pm Sun.
Tube: Camden Town
Meal for two with drinks and service: around £60
- 18 Chalk Farm Road
- 020 7428 0998
- 18 Chalk Farm Road
Average User Rating
3.6 / 5
- 5 star:8
- 4 star:0
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:2
- 1 star:3
Slow staff, watery sauce, no shakes, cliche music and decor and worst of all over-priced bog standard BBQ food. Honest Burger is 2mins away and much better food/value. Even the Diner in Camden is better than Porkys and thats saying something. Head to Pitt Cue for real BBQ food.
Big big failure. I had high hopes for this place but it didn't deliver. The cocktails came out watery and not really alcoholic and starters of calamari and cheese hush puppies were fried, lukewarm and uninspiring shades of brown. One of my hush puppies had even been broken into to check if it had cooked all the way through! Terrible. The pulled pork was the best thing and nicely flavoured but not enough to warrant giving this place another chance. So many better Deep South places in London, head to those instead!
In our opinion the pork was not long enough in the oven and therefor not "soft" enough. Additionally it was too fat. The fires were a bit smushi and the coleslaw was not good at all. The corn and the garlic bread was ok. I think for that value they should make smaller plates but higher quality therefore.
Promised so much, delivered so little. Pork was little dry and a little charred, fries under seasoned and undercooked... Won't go back
Great place with a brilliant attention to detail and vast array of beers and cocktails to compliment. The main star of the show, pork, is obviously excellent, but the standard of the side dishes are the unsung heroes. Would definitely recommend to others and go back again.
I would definitely recommend Porkys as a great place to eat. It is a favourite place to eat when I visits my son. Food, service and atmosphere are all great
A wonderful place, friendly atmosphere the staff make you want to stay there and continually eat! Right at the outskirt of camden its moments away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a moment of southern serenity. The food is exquisite and perfectly seasoned, you can tell that whoever cooked it throughly enjoyed doing so, a place I will constantly recommend to anyone visiting London.
After a long walk around Camden I stopped here for a hearty meal. The food was hot and delicious and the waitress was friendly, quick and efficient. Would highly recommend a visit. I know I'll be back!