By Koray Hussein
Who doesn’t like a good ol’ barbecue? There’s just something about that smokey, flame grilled taste that forces a smile on to even the pickiest bastard’s face. Maybe it goes back to our ancestors who cooked everything over an open flame… or maybe it’s just our subconscious that realises that there’s something very badass about cooking something with flames, and flames alone.
But where do you go for a barbecue when your garden may as well be made of ice? If you answered “Just go out into the garden and make your own.” then you’re a much manlier man than I am. No, the only place that I’m going to be eating any flame grilled meat at in the next couple of months, is going to be in a restaurant. A restaurant like Q Grill.
I’d been meaning to visit Camden’s Q Grill for quite some time but had been holding off until one of my friends (a man who loves nothing more than flame grilled meat) was free… And thankfully earlier in December I got a call from him asking if I fancied going to Camden that evening. Needless to say we ended up grabbing another one of our friends and heading over to Q Grill.
When we arrived at Q Grill, we were kind of surprised at just how empty the place was. The entire centre of the dining area was empty and there was only one large group of people by the window with a smaller table of three seated in one of the booths. Sure we had ended up getting there roughly an hour before closing but still, it was 10.30pm and we were in Camden… Where the hell was everybody?
We took our seats and skimmed over the menu, in all honesty, I knew what I was ordering before I even left the house. You see, I’d already been doing my Q Grill homework and had already settled on the pit smoked beef hash and fried duck egg… Why was I so sure? Because I had literally no clue what the first half of that sentence meant. What the hell were they going to pit smoke? Beef hash? What the is beef hash? Is it a drug made out of meat? Is it legal? Am I going to have to ask for a waiter called Rusty before I order?
Yes, I know I write about food for a living and I’m meant to know what the hell a beef hash is but the fact of the matter is I didn’t and I don’t want to sit here and lie.
Mark also went for the beef hash while Curtis ordered a half rack of ribs, which the kind folk at Q Grill upgraded to a full rack. This wasn’t one of those “let’s butter up the guys writing a review” moves either. They had no idea I was doing a review so it wasn’t to score any points. It was either because we were close(ish) to closing time or these guys are just generous. For sides we all plumped for their seasoned fries.
But what was it going to taste like?…
The beef hash turned out to be a large, circular hash brown with beef mixed in and… I’m still not sure if I liked it. Flavourwise everything was spot on. The beef was as juicy as beef can get and was absolutely bursting with flavour. It struck the perfect balance when it came to richness too and never overpowered the potato and onions in the hash… But texturewise my brain couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Every bite felt like it was physically confusing my mouth and I ended up feeling like I was eating last nights leftovers all mashed into one circular lump of meat and potatoes. It was truly bizarre.
The seasoned fries were really quite nice. The seasoning may have been a tad on the salty side but apart from that, I had no complaints whilst I finished the lot.
Likewise with the ribs. Curtis managed to get through the entire rack (even though it was twice as much as he had ordered) and on the single rib I tried the meat simply fell off the bone.
It’s really hard for me to write down my general thoughts on Q Grill because even now, almost a month after I actually ate there, I’m still not sure what I thought. It all tasted fine and the portions were decent enough but it’s just the texture of the beef hash which had me stumped. I will be going back again (to try their buttermilk chicken) but would I go back for a second swing at the hash? Probably not.