Bukowski Grill in Soho
Bukowski Grill recently opened its third site, this time on D’Arblay Street in the heart of Soho. This flagship 70-seat, all-day restaurant and grill puts the American diner back on the map with high-quality cuisine, revamping the theme by using responsibly sourced British produce and top-notch ingredients.
A large bar occupies nearly the entire length of the restaurant, while exposed brick ceilings, roughened concrete flooring, low lighting, large windowpanes and mismatched wooden chairs muster an industrial-come-rustic vibe. A large, pink neon sign proudly asserts to Bukowski’s patrons where they are and what they are in for.
On our waiter’s recommendation we begin our evening with the Puck Nuggets/Kimchi Remoulade. Densely packed with shredded duck and pork, these are unusual little bites that have a crisp outer shell and a juicy interior, with a welcome hum of heat with every mouthful. The addition of pork adds a lasting taste that is more obvious in flavour than in texture, yet still seems redundant and could be left out of the mix. The kimchi remoulade offers little extra, lacking the typical funky fermented flavour necessary to add much interest.
In contrast, the Half Rack Baby Back Pork Ribs/Spicy Red Onions & Pickles deliver well over expectations: tender and sweet with a lovely smoky flavour and charred areas of skin that have been in close contact with the charcoal grill. Each bite is a pleasure, the meat falling effortlessly off the bone and showcasing the care with which the dish has been executed.
The Fried Chicken Thigh & Buttermilk Waffle with Green Chilli Maple Syrup promises all the indulgence of Southern fried chicken, but the end result does not deliver. The decision to use thigh meat is worthwhile, with pieces of moist chicken served up in a well-seasoned and perfectly crunchy Southern-style batter., but the dish’s accompaniments are less satisfying. The buttermilk waffle is overly crispy and hard, offering little textural variety to the plate, and the dressing of maple syrup is too generous, resulting in a sweetness that is overpowering.
Bukowski is famous for its signature range of well-loved hamburgers, so, keen to experience the smokiness from the grill, we opt for The Smokey Beast. Comprised of a beef patty topped with smoked pulled pork and tobacco onions, smoky honey and chipotle barbecue sauce, smoked gherkins, lettuce and a smoked garlic/scotch bonnet mayonnaise, this burger proudly lives up to its name with layer upon layer of smoked elements. The result is deliciously moist, made even juicier by the addition of the pulled pork topping. The tobacco onions add an enjoyable sweet/salty kick and another textural element to break up the well-seasoned meat, while the gherkins add further sweetness. Unlike its competitor on our table, the sweetness here is well balanced with the other contents, and fits in very comfortably.
With little room left, we decide to share the Salted Caramel Soft Serve Ice Cream with Peanut Butter Brittle. This is a real highlight of the evening: milky and sweet with little surprises of peanut brittle and crunchier elements from a hardened praline-textured topping.
With the use of high quality meat, house-made condiments and an impressive list of burgers and mains to try, Bukowski establishes itself as a place well worth stopping by if you’re in Soho and after American diner food and a tasty, smoky meal.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
To book a table at Bukowski Grill, 10 D’Arblay Street, London W1F 8DS, call 0203 857 4756 or visit here.