Meaty goodness at Bukowski, Soho
Friday night in Soho and pubs and bars are overflowing with creative types who are at the beginning of a huge session to let off steam from the heavy week of work that they have just endured.
I arrive at Picadilly Circus and meander up through the narrow Soho streets, past me favourite Georgian townhouse buildings and arrive at Bukowski, the third outpost from the charcoal grill specialists.
My late friend is late again, so I browse the menu before he arrives and ask the friendly South African waiter for a glass of wine. I ask him which is better, the Cuvee des Galets (syrah/Grenache/carignan), or the Black Ink (sweigelt/st laurent) and his response got us off to a great start. “Are you old enough to be drinking wine?” he smirked. I wasn’t sure whether he was joking or not, but presumed not as I have been ID’d more in the last year than I ever have in my life. “I’m 30 this year”, I laughed and proceeded to nervously tell him about having been ID’d for a scratch card last week.
After a little taster I settled on the Cuvee des Galets. It was sweet, juicy and had a delightful taste of summer berries. It was incredibly easy to drink, so much so that I had three glasses throughout the evening and couldn’t even be swayed by a frozen margarita.
When my late friend arrived, we ordered a couple of salads to begin, followed by a piece of meat with tobacco onions for me, and a burger for him.
On first glace of the menu I knew this evening could go either way. I could either do what my heart was telling me and order meat for starter and even more meat for main, followed by a disgustingly rich dessert, or I could be wise and order something light, followed by a big chink of meat. For once I listened to my head and I’m so glad I did.
My slow cooked beef rib was one of the best pieces of meat I have eaten in a while. For a mere £12.25, diners can enjoy the more flavoursome, tenderest melting pieces of beef imaginable. The texture reminded me of the salt beef that I so dearly love from Brick Lane Beigel, but it has more to it than that. I asked the owner what they do to make it so delicious and he said it’s as simple as using pepper and basil leaves and letting it do its thing for 72 hours on a low temperature. That’s three whole days of cooking! No wonder it’s incredible.
My late friend had the Calafornia burger, but substituted the beef for chicken. He devoured it and gave small groans of excitement, but I knew he wasn’t on the same level as me. I saw a mere mouthful of his burger as I couldn’t take my eyes of my beef.
The salads were also tasty as hell. Pickled watermelon, feta and japelenño? Yes, please. Even what should have been just a boring green salad was delicious – maybe it was the subtle jalapenño dressing. I don’t know but I was in heaven.
The dessert menu arrived and I was sold on the salted caramel soft serve, which was 100 times better than a Mr Whippy. Andrew went for the waffle and I sense by the look on his face that he may have regretted it when it arrived – it was HUGE! You could definitely walk out of Bukowski with the imminent risk of heart attack – let me tell you that much.
The only negative from the evening was the service. As someone who has worked in manic restaurants as a waitress, I understood and they looked a little short staffed. It took a while for drinks and to arrive and a little to long to flag down a waiter to order more drinks, but we weren’t overly fussed because the place was so buzzy and we were enjoying the food and chat so much that we could let it slide.
Bukowski gets my thumbs up. Well priced, good quality and great atmosphere. I’ll definitely be back.
A meal for two with drinks costs around £60