The Scottish beer behemoth’s new pop-up restaurant has potential, but fails to deliver on its promise
Brewdog’s pop up restaurant come bar, Punk Kitchen, has been open in its current form since August of this year. The concept behind the Kitchen is simple: Take the Scottish brewery’s formidable range of craft beers and pair them with food from some of London’s finest street food vendors. Sounds good, right? Last week we headed down to the restaurant on Essex Road to see what all the fuss is about.
The restaurant’s interior is synonymous with that of almost all UK Brewdog bars, with a simplistic and rustic decor. Tall bar stools and open fittings are order of the day, with the focus on creating a modernistic and minimal rather than warm and cosy environment. As in most Brewdog bars, the beers on tap are displayed on a board at the back of the bar. All of the usual suspects are present, with the likes of Dead Pony Club, 5AM Saint and Vagabond Pale all featuring (although on the wrong side of £5 a pint we might add). There are also a number of Brewdog’s core range of cans available.
October’s resident chefs are barbecue aficionados Billy Smokes, who have designed a menu that combines the very best of UK and US styles of cooking with an emphasis on homegrown British ingredients. Chicken wing platters, beef melts and broccoli wraps all appear on a menu that is a little limited but has is enough variety to ensure even the fussiest of eaters won’t go away disappointed.
We opt for the Hot smoked beer and pork sausage made with IPA, served with citrus slaw and house bbq sauce in a brioche roll. At £8 alone, or £12 with sweet potato chips & chipotle ketchup, this certainly isn’t your classic cheap and cheerful fast food joint. Nonetheless, it’s hard to deny the food is somewhat of a higher standard than a Big Mac & chips, even if perhaps not quite as filling as we would have liked.
On the whole, it’s difficult to know what to make of the Punk Kitchen. It feels at times as if it can’t make up its mind whether it is a restaurant or a bar. With no table service offered and food ordered from the bar, We’re more inclined to think it is the latter. In which case, the range of drinks available ought to be slightly more exotic and interesting than merely the brewery’s core range, most of which can be bought significantly cheaper in Tesco’s across the road. The food, although extremely tasty, was not good value for money, and isn’t really a massive step up from what is usually offered at most Brewdog bars already. The concept is good, but the execution is lacking.
Punk Kitchen is at 29-31 Essex Rd, London N1 2SA and is open Thursday-Sunday.
Words by James Beeson @jdbeeson16