During the last couple of years following programmes such as Man vs Food competitive eating and food challenges have travelled across the Atlantic. Restaurants in the UK have introduced numerous food challenges such as monster 8000 calorie Full English Breakfasts, jumbo 80 oz. steaks and daunting metre pizzas in an attempt to cash in on this growing craze. Often such menu items include a challenge and if the valiant diner completes it within an allotted time the meal is free. After watching these kind of shows it is quickly apparent that when tackling any of these challenges it is imperative to have a strategy – something I foolishly forgot before trying Big Easy’s unlimited boozy brunch.
Whilst not a challenge, the guys at the Big Easy Bar.B.Q and Lobstershack Covent Garden have gone one step further than most by adding bottomless beer, prosecco and wine into their brunch offering and I was eager to give it a shot. I arrived for my infinite feast confident of devouring 4 or 5 plates . The words of Man vs Food host Adam Richman were ringing in my head, I wanted to be as triumphant as him when receiving rapturous adulation at the end of a demanding food challenge. This was my time. I was seated and informed that I get a choice betwen The Big Pig Gig or the Lobster Fest. I opted for the former which comes with North Carolina chopped pork, pit-smoked Bar.B.Q chicken and St Louis pork ribs served with slaw, pit-smoked beans, fries, and fresh baked cornbread – all served with fries and house salad.
Whilst waiting for my feast I sipped on a Big Easy Brew draught beer and had a walk around. This was not only to give the very cool looking venue the once over, but also to work up more of an appetite. Split over two floors the restaurant space is massive and it’s focal point is an impressive grand and imposing bar stocked high with unusual and exotic spirits. Be warned though, if you require the gents toilets an adventure awaits you. You will encounter more than one flight of stairs and numerous long winding corridors that make even Bank stations dazzling never-ending walk-way seem like a mere stroll.
When my Big Pig arrived I realised this all you can eat gig was going to be more difficult than I imagined. The Big Easy certainly do not attempt to deter or prevent you from eating as much as humanly possible – that is evident from the size of the initial portion that is placed before you. My plate was overloading with BBQ goodness which quite simply looked amazing, if not slightly daunting. My five plate projection quickly became three. Without a thought I dug in to the ribs, as they fell away from the bone I continued to devour the succulent chicken and the chopped Pork, stopping occasionally for a swig of beer until it happened, I hit the wall.
I was three quarters of a plate in. I was filled with embarrassment, sorrow and dejection. There were groups of BBQ eating heroes surrounding me. Insolently accepting the waiters offer of more meaty goodness and here I was, with an unfinished first plate. I never made it to the second plate and I only have myself to blame. All those hours of watching Adam Richman had abandoned me at the vital moment. Even simple techniques such as not drinking too much of the unlimited booze before the food arrived had been forgotten. Through my disappointment I took solace in the fact that as far as BBQ food goes, Big Easy do it extremely well – and even if you complete just one plate you would have tried some of the best in London.
I would definitely recommend Big Easy’s Unlimited Boozy Brunch. It’s a lot of fun and is perfect for gathering with friends or for food challenge enthusiasts. If you do go and give it a try, do not make the same mistake as me. Ensure you plan and strategize to ensure you enjoy as much of the delicious BBQ goodness as possible!
Big Easy Covent Garden
12 Maiden Lane
Words by Jack David