As the new venture and heir to the Pitt Cue moniker sees them stepping things up a gear in size and ambition (see my previous piece on that here), you’d think the last thing the group would want to do is go running back to the tiny, sweaty basement where it all began. At least, not so soon. It’s the kind of thing you expect after a few years of overblown sellouts are taking their toll, like a fading stadium act going back to their underground roots in an attempt to make us fall in love with them all over again. It’s a risky strategy that often backfires; sweet Jesus, has anyone heard any of Green Day’s recent output? Red Hot Chili Peppers? It’s so terrible it sends you back to the ‘classics’, only to discover that time’s moved on and it was all shit, all along. Pitt Cue’s latest work is sublime, they’ve more than earned their place in the ES Progress 1000 List (and no doubt more accolades will be on their way) but nevertheless here we are with the cement barely dry on the exposed brickwork of Devonshire Square, and already they’re reissuing the debut. What gives?
Well, this being Pitt Cue, nothing. Little Pitt is excellent. Better than before, even. Not because of added bells and whistles and bonus tracks – the venue’s had a do-over but the menu’s shorter if anything – but because the luxury of having a big sister to share the load and take on the more experimental side of things means this natty hovel can get on with what it does best without having to carry the weight of expectation (not that they’ve ever seemed phased by it). It’s a typically pragmatic, uncynical approach that might just mean you can eat there when you feel like it once in a while, rather than having to employ your most sophisticated queue-busting technique for the pleasure. I went on a Tuesday lunchtime by myself, so am in no position to comment on what the evening wait times are like, but I can tell you that the shade in the bar provides welcome respite from the heat, the velvet green/mahogany colour scheme is both welcoming and sophisticated, and the beer you’ll drink while you wait is excellent.
And the food? Streamlined. Buns, sides, extras, no pudding (yet, I’m told). That’s it. I went for one I never had first time round, the Chicken and Anchovy Bun, plus Caramel Ribs and Grilled Hispi Cabbage. A light lunch, then. The chicken was juicy, crunchy, ever so slightly under-sauced for me, but the molten caramel which came with the ribs, two gigantic weapons of tender shortrib whose filing under extras must be a contender for understatement of the century, more than compensated. It was glorious, sweet’n’sour heaven. I ordered Grilled Hispi Cabbage with herb dressing more out of embarrassment than anything else, just to prove I can handle a vegetable, but it was lovely and fresh.
By now everyone knows what a pulled pork is and whether they like it or not. If it’s too much for you, Little Pitt won’t change your opinion, but if it is your thang it’s still the best example of it’s kind in London; well-sourced produce arranged in hugely agreeable combinations, where the natural harmony of tastes and textures makes it easy to forget how early someone must have been up in the morning to get the fires going. It may no longer be the destination it once was (that honour goes to the Devonshire Square outpost), but that’s surely the point. For a no-frills, quick fix eatery that does exactly what it says on the tin you could hardly do better.
Monday – Saturday:
12pm – 3pm
5:30pm – 10:30pm
(Food from 6pm)