GNASHVILLE

What to eat as Ca­nary Wharf turns a lit­tle bit Coun­try

The Wharf - - FRONT PAGE -

It is only a mat­ter of time be­fore the Amer­i­can bar­be­cue boom hits Lon­don ac­cord­ing to the Big Easy’s grill Orelle Young. The New Yorker was lured away from a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in the Big Ap­ple to be ex­ec­u­tive group pit­mas­ter of the three-branch com­pany in the cap­i­tal, whose restau­rant dom­i­nates the Cross­rail Place Roof Gar­den.

And he brought with him a love for cook­ing meat born of a child­hood spent trav­el­ling to church bar­be­cues with his fam­ily.

He said: “We got to try va­ri­eties through many states and they would have com­pe­ti­tions to see who could put on the best spread. When I was about five we were at a huge hog roast, I re­mem­ber it looked ter­ri­fy­ing.”

It was only when Orelle, then a film stu­dent, got a part time job at the now renowned Hill Coun­try bar­be­cue restau­rant in New York, that his pas­sion be­came a ca­reer.

“I started front of house but they kept ask­ing me to help out in the kitchen. I ended up be­ing men­tored by all these ac­claimed chefs and, within two years, had been pro­moted to pit­mas­ter.”

He was ini­tially re­luc­tant to up­root his life for Lon­don but once here re­alised he could share his pas­sion for bar­be­cue with a fresh au­di­ence.

The Brom­ley-By-Bow res­i­dent gets up at 4am ev­ery day, of­ten stop­ping by Billings­gate Mar­ket to pick up seafood to serve along­side the brisket, pulled pork, chicken, ribs and other meats smoked and bar­be­cued at the restau­rant.

And he has over­hauled the run­ning of the kitchen. Com­put­erised smok­ers have been re­placed with tra­di­tional Old Hick­ory ones and he changed the rubs for the meat as well as the cook­ing tem­per­a­tures and tim­ings.

“I want to see that dark, al­most black­ened, caramelised sur­face on the meat and that pink beau­ti­ful smoke ring in­side,” said Orelle.

He is es­pe­cially proud of his Texas hotlinks – sausages made with a mix of beef and pork with a high fat con­tent.

“Hope­fully when Amer­i­cans come here they say ‘Wow, the food tastes just like it does back home’. And we do it with a re­ally small team – four peo­ple in the kitchen cook­ing for thou­sands of peo­ple ev­ery week.” Go to bigeasy.co.uk Meet the stars of Ca­nary Wharf’s coun­try mu­sic fes­ti­val / Page 45

The Break­fast Club Cross­rail Place

Start the day in style with a big plate of pan­cakes smoth­ered in maple syrup. The All Amer­i­can (£11.75) is a hefty stack served with eggs, sausage, home-style pota­toes and streaky ba­con. Or get All Shook up with the Elvis Waf­fle (£8.50) topped with caramelised banana, Greek yo­ghurt, peanut but­ter and maple syrup. A nap may be in or­der.

Shake Shack Park Pav­il­ion

Born in the USA, this burger chain ar­rived in Ca­nary Wharf in early 2017 ea­ger to of­fer ex-pats the taste of home and in­tro­duce Brits to its mix of flavours. Burg­ers are true Amer­i­can style with a se­cret ShakeSauce but are formed from An­gus beef. Drinks in­clude a root beer float and fresh brewed iced tea. Ser­vice is swift and gen­er­ally with a sunny smile. Have a nice day now.

Byron Ham­burg­ers Cabot Place East

Serves up proper ham­burg­ers with a mix of Amer­i­can and Bri­tish flavours. Try a clas­sic such as the Un­cle Sam with Amer­i­can cheese, sliced pickle, French’s Amer­i­can mus­tard and ketchup. Or for a more south­ern feel opt for the Make It Buf­falo chicken burger with a coat­ing of spicy sauce. Top it off with a slice of Oreo cheese­cake or Reese’s freak­shake. Worth wrestling a ram­pant bull for.

GBK Ju­bilee Place

Made with Bri­tish beef but comes in va­ri­eties in­spired by Amer­ica such as The Taxidriver with Ca­jun rel­ish and The Don, with Amer­i­can cheese, Gor­gonzola, bac­connaise, onion jam, mayo, rocket and pick­led onions. The Big Mouth Spe­cial gives the op­tion add an ex­tra 6oz patty. Just don’t shout: “USA, GBK...”

Smol­len­sky’s Reuters Plaza

An Amer­i­can steak house where you can get a choice of cuts such as the fit-fora-cow­boy 17oz T-bone and the 8oz flat iron with skin-on fries, gar­lic but­ter and wa­ter­cress. BBQ ribs, Ca­jun spiced chicken and black­ened salmon also grace the menu as does a peanut but­ter cheese­cake. Bring out the stars and stripes.

Wild­wood Ju­bilee Place

Not an Amer­i­can com­pany but with plenty of in­spi­ra­tion from across the pond. Ex­pect meat­ball and shar­ing plat­ter starters, and mains in­clud­ing a Philly steak and cheese sand­wich and rack of baby back ribs. For dessert the sun­daes rule with. Wear those Wal­mart stretchy pants.

Star­bucks Cabot Place, Ju­bilee Place, Canada Place

One of the big­gest im­ports from across the pond – it doesn’t get much more Amer­i­can than this. Go ba­sic with an Amer­i­cano for New York swift­ness, soak up some LA-style fruiti­ness with the Iced Shaken Mango Black Tea Le­mon­ade, or start the day with a yee-ha by or­der­ing a Cold Brew With Vanilla Sweet Cream. No won­der the Yanks are so up­beat.

Man­hat­tan Grill West In­dia Quay

Tech­ni­cally just over the water from Ca­nary Wharf, it’s worth the ex­tra steps as it serves up USDA prime cuts from Creek­stone Farms in Kansas. The pre­mium Black An­gus steers are grain fed for 150 days and wet-aged for 28 be­fore be­ing served up as cuts in­clud­ing a 16 oz Rib Eye Bone In. Mac‘n’cheese and creamed spinach come on the side, while desserts such as a Man­hat­tan cheese­cake are on of­fer. That’s quite a spread, so fill your boots.

Orelle has dis­pensed with com­put­erised smok­ers in favour of tra­di­tional Old Hick­ory ver­sions to cook up Big Easy’s epic menu of meats

Whar­fers com­pete in a rib eat­ing con­test to mark July 4 at Big Easy

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