By Raj Singh
Porky’s in Camden – just a stone’s throw from the market – promises “classic, slow-cooked Memphis barbecue at a diner-style restaurant with craft beer and Tennessee tunes”.
So how does it (and presumably sister restaurants in Bankside and Bethnal Green Road) live up to that?
It does not take reservations but it managed to squeeze our group of six in on a Saturday night although not in the warm cosy, interior – very Camden with a rock’n’roll decor to match the Memphis theme.
Instead, we sat at a large table outside the restaurant. This was fun for people watching but on a crisp spring night, somewhat cold despite space heaters.
We started with the creative and innovative cocktail menu, with a great selection of bottled beers and ales. But forget the wine – it’s very limited.
We ordered the Ultimate platter, That’s ribs and tips, pulled pork, half a bbq chicken. We also went for the warm up consisting of house chilli, bbq wings, crab cakes, hush puppies, and pulled pork croquettes. Plus a few sides including fries, pit beans and sweet potato fries, and threw in a Chiili burger for good measure.
What followed was an overwhelming amount of tucker – we were amazed at the portion sizes. Within the “ultimate platter”, the pulled pork looked appetizing, and lived up to expectations, it was soft, succulent and aromatic. The ribs were juicy, meaty and satisfying. The bbq chicken was cooked well, but wasn’t sure if its rightful place was to be nestled in with all the pork dishes.
The warm up dish was an intriguing mix of sides. The cheesy corn hush puppies seemed like an unrequired overdose of carbohydrates, the croquettes, wings and chilli beef were all good,but the crab cakes, although tasty, went against the flavours of the other sides.
The chilli burger was a decent gourmet burger, but although I had probably over-caloried myself for the day, I found the sweet potato fries exceptionally tempting – I couldn’t stop picking at these no matter how much I had stuffed myself.
The bill was a very reasonable £22.00 each including a couple of drinks each although none of us had room for dessert.
For all you carnivore junkies who need a meat fix, with some hearty sides, and a good informal Camden style atmosphere this is for you. Come here for big food served in generous portions, for the pulled pork and some interesting sides and a dollop of good atmosphere. Don’t come here for your five a day, culinary sophistication or fine wines. We might well return – there’s a generous loyalty card!
**Verdict If you want no nonsense, no pretence, filling fare – then this ticks all the boxes.
Chalk Farm Road, Camden NW1 8AG 020 7428 0998 (no reservations)