I’m jumping belatedly onto the meaty bandwagon with this post, just as we could say that Red’s True Barbecue has jumped on the current Americana obsessed culinary zeitgeist. I know everyone’s already blogged about. I know most people cream over it. Whatever.
Red’s True Barbecue has apparently come to Manchester to rescue us from the bad British BBQ (what, who doesn’t like burnt sausages in soggy white baps?). Located on Albert Square in what used to be Livebait, they’ve installed traditional American smokers and grills and decorated the whole place like a bad 90’s barn dance.
|St Louis Ribs|
The menu consists of a range of meats, dry rubbed, smoked and finished with sauce. There’s the traditional ribs, chickens and wings padded out with burgers, steaks and some salads (most of which contain meat from the smoker). The sides are pretty traditional Americana fare – mac n cheese, fries, slaws, hush puppies ad nauseam.
Taste wise, Red’s food is perfectly ok; if you like salty, smoky, sweet meat doused in slightly cloying sauces. It’s the cooking skill that’s all wrong – one meat item being dry would be passable as a fluke mistake, however all three (starters and both mains) was unforgivable.
|Half a chicken|
Luckily the sides were bang on. Mac and cheese was nearly as good as my Mum’s, thick cheesy sauce and a good crispy crust; the slaw added a nice tang to the dishes and the heavily salted fries hit the heavily-salted-potato-products spot we all have. But for somewhere that bangs on relentlessly about how bloody good their food is and the religion of the meat etc etc needs to step up to that rhetoric and deliver.
Apart from that we were served by a series of nonchalant and not very tuned in servers, who must have been hired for their looks because that was the only thing going for them. And I’m not even going to start on the enamelled dishes.
All in all the only thing I like about Red’s is their clever marketing campaign, which says a lot about the place – all style, no substance.
Cost for one starter and two mains (sides come as part of the mains) – £30.40 plus drinks and service.
Ps No photos, it’s way too dark in the venue to take any so I’ve nicked ’em off Red’s website. Please note, our food didn’t look anywhere near as good as these staged shots.
Food – 5/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Service – 6/10
Value for money – 7/10
Total – 25/40
Go again – No thanks, they’re not doing anything special.
Reds True Barbecue, 22 Lloyd Street, Albert Square, Manchester M2 5WA – 0161 820 9140.