1 Abbey Orchard St, Westminster, London, SW1P 2LU
“Don’t you just love those long rainy afternoons in New Orleans when an hour isn’t just an hour – but a little piece of eternity dropped into your hands – and who knows what to do with it?”
The words of Tennessee Williams seem so fitting as I enter Low, Slow & Juke for their launch night. I looked for the glow of the neon sign to indicate I had arrived and as I approached it I felt as if I may have stepped into the world of Raymond Chandler’s Marlowe. Perhaps a hidden world where guests may embrace a clandestine meeting…
Let’s go in.
I descend the stairs and I am delighted to be greeted with a pear fizz cocktail, whilst not immediately helping my cold hands, certainly warms me up from the inside out. It was as if the heat of New Orleans had come forward to meet us.
This basement bar and restaurant, which has recently opened in between Westminster and Victoria, is full of jazzy, smoky south american charm. Karim Mezeli, head of design, at Concorde BGW, who are responsible for the interior design, describes their concept:
“Low, Slow & Juke welcomes you with a vibrant and characterful ground floor reception. Textured, reclaimed panelling salvaged from British Museum display cabinets adds warmth, and rusted corrugated tin snakes over the walls and ceilings. Neon signs, light boxes and Deep South curios add detail, and a vintage oil BBQ acts as the host desk.
As you descend the wide staircase, the main space opens out as a vibrant subterranean boulevard. Metal street furniture sits on concrete pathways, alongside a working smokehouse and loops of festoon lighting overhead.
The centrepiece is the huge resin and concrete bar which appears built into a colourful New Orleans tenement.
Timber shutters hide away the mysterious occupants.”
This bar just eminates cool and has a great buzz and excitement contained within it. I really felt very special to be sampling the delights it has to offer.
Pear Fizz Cocktail– a tall, supremely cold pear and prosecco thirst quencher! I drank it so fast, I didn’t take a photo!
Second cocktail lined up, Rosemary and Rhubarb Daiquiri. Rosemary smoked Havana 3yo, rum, rhubarb liqueur, lime juice, sugar syrup. Now don’t freak out, take a deep breath, as this really does work! Honest!
You will see a theme with the interesting ingredients in these concoctions, but they are so tasty and expertly crafted by the mixologists.
Cocktail number 3 (starting to get a little slurred 😊) the supremely elegant Pink Duchess. Rosemary infused Haymans old Tom Gin, yellow chartreuse, basil, strewberrys, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, sugar syrup. By far my favourite- the addition of basil is inspired!
Next up on the cocktail conveyor belt (I was sitting down for this one) was the Princess Jasmine, applewood smoked brokers export gin, manzana verde liqueur, lemon juice, jasmine sugar syrup, teapot bitters. This was really smokey and sour and delicious. Close second to the pink duchess- sorry jasmine.
Chilli and caramel Chicken Wings that were joyfully sticky and spicy and so moreish, only issue being that I tend to get very messy when devouring any kind of wing or rib.
Deep Fried Mac + Cheese – why oh why have we not thought of this before or more to the point, have I not eaten this before. Its a game changer.
Smoked Couscous + Halloumi, Giant couscous, smoked halloumi, maple beetroot, roasted peppers, harissa dressing
Then arrived the meat feast -a tray of ribs, chicken, burnt ends and brisket all laid out enticingly on a large platter. All the main meat dishes are hand rubbed and rested for 24 hours before being smoked low and slow for 16 flippin hours!
After some standard British pleasantries were exchanged of ‘gosh what a lot of meat’ then’how on earth shall we manage all this’ and ‘can you pass a napkin?’ we all just got stuck in, with a silent understanding that we shall not judge each other for the meat eating frenzy that was about to ensue.
The Low slow & Juke House sauces were there to be slathered all over your meat (excuse me?) and with a choice of House BBQ, Smoky Ketchup, South Carolina BBQ, Chipotle Mayo, Chilli Vinegar and Bastardo, we had serious saucey decisions to make. (photo courtesy of Low, Slow & Juke)
A fantastic night, hosted by the fabulous Su-Lin Ong, and I certainly will be back to get a couple of crates of those chicken wings, all to myself.
Thanks for your readership, as always