Category / Eating Out

Rock N Roll Ribs: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

It might not be what you expect.  A restaurant selling barbeque food, set up by a British man, living in America.  Rock N Roll Ribs is far from the expected.  It’s co-owned by the drummer of one of the most successful metal bands in the world.  Alongside touring the world and playing golf, this is Nicko McBrain’s passion and very serious hobby.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Now, I grant you Rock n Roll Ribs doesn’t look much on the outside.   Inside it’s a cross between an Iron Maiden concert and the Third Circle of Hell.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Rock N Roll Ribs: A shrine to Iron Maiden

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Rock N Roll Ribs: The Music

You won’t hear Barry Manilow, Rod Stewart, Kiss or Guns N Roses; it has to be classic metal, and it plays on a video loop.  There are huge stage props, direct from their concert stage, and include sarcophagus and cats and evidence of the band’s massive success.

Rock n Roll Ribs: The Food

It’s a destination for fans, and locals alike.  For those who are here on a ‘pilgrimage’  hoping to catch a glimpse of him, today they’re lucky as he’s in to eat lunch.

Rock N Roll Ribs: What to Eat?

Next, to the food.  Again, don’t judge when the plastic menus arrive because what comes from the kitchen is something very very different.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

You may be thinking what does an English bloke know about American barbeque. Don’t.  Trust me on this one.

The ‘Road Crew Onion Stack’ ($7.45) onion rings are some of the best I’ve tried.   Huge sweet Spanish onions, cut caveman knuckle-thick, are deep-fried with a seasoned panko breadcrumb.  Dip, if you will, into their spiced Grammy Sauce, think paprika spiced mayonnaise.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

I know, I know, I’m not a huge fan of menus like this but that aside, you can’t argue that the food is spot on and that’s what matters most. Here, a theme isn’t in the least necessary yet on the same hand; I can see why Nicko is taking full advantage of his rock roots.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

As he joins us in our booth, he makes it very clear to me it is all about the food and how it tastes.  Perfecting his ribs and sauce is something he’s always striving for, they fall off the bone, and the sauce is both sweet and tangy and smoked for 7 hours.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

We tried the chilli, mild, with a super not-too-spicy kick and.  ‘Gone With The Wind Beans’ sat in a delicious tomato sauce, sweet yet with a lovely kick of mild paprika.

Sauces are vital to any good platter, and there are a few to choose from, all available to buy at Rock n Roll Ribs.  I particularly liked the tabletop Spice Drums with Moby Rick’s very own secret spice blend.

Rock n Roll Ribs: The Appetite of the Beast

The Appetite of the Beast platter is for four people ($61.95) and features a little of everything.  A full rack and a half rack of baby back ribs, 1/2lb of pork and beef, 1/2 chicken, homemade fries, beans, slaw, corn on the cob and garlic toast.

The Rock n Roll Burger ($10.50) had a nice grind of beef and held together well, topped with candied bacon, sauteed onions and a melted Swiss cheese topping.  I chose to have it without the bun, served medium rare with salad.  A really good burger, without any need for the bread.  The Power Slave Slaw was sweet and thinly shredded, and that alongside the hand cut fries finished this plate of food off entirely.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Others on our table had half rack of ribs, coleslaw, fries and garlic toast.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Generous chunks of hickory-smoked Pork fell easily off the bone.  Coated with a sweet, sticky sauce not too heavy on the sugar.  Great chips or Aces High Fries, superb coleslaw and a garlic-smothered piece of bread made the Baby Back Ribs ($11.50) a joyful lunch.

Service is relaxed, and the waitresses know the menu inside out, many have been with the restaurant since its inception, which says a lot.

Rock n Roll Ribs: Merchandise

Trooper is the Maiden beer, ‘Eddie The Head’ the band’s Mascot is the figure on the label.   Brewed by Robinsons in the UK, it’s on sale as you’d expect with a few other alcoholic and soft drinks.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

There are t-shirts, spice kits and aprons to buy, all featuring the restaurant and some reference to Iron Maiden.

Every year the owners hold a ‘thank you’ concert for locals and Maiden fans in the car park.  This year they’ll be celebrating their eighth birthday.

You’ll need a car to get here, but if you’re in the area, it’s worth a detour if you love good ribs and metal.

Rock n Roll Ribs, 4651 State Rd 7 (US441), Coral Springs FL, 33073

Laughing All The Way to Southwark, ‘Hold The Anchovies Please’ Reviews The Laughing Gravy

When I got asked to come and try the food at The Laughing Gravy, I’d just finished a 12-hour shift.  The prospect of schlepping it over to Southwark filled me with dread, but I’m glad I made the effort. This neighbourhood restaurant was heaving on a Tuesday night, and there was no particular price or discounted set menus hauling diners in either.  I’m assuming they’ve discovered that this restaurant is not bad at what it does, great food at a good price point with a superb drinks menu.  I’m a little bit loathe to bang on about just how good, and the only reason I will is that selfishly I live West.

The a la carte menu offers up some inspired dishes from a pigeon and oxtail sausage roll, a mead-glazed pheasant leg and a veal chop.  A select gathering sampled the a la carte menu and a few offerings from their Christmas 2016 menu.  A three-course meal turned into a series of various courses; thankfully I wore the elasticated pants.

The Laughing Gravy: Starters

A plate comes out from the kitchen looking like a work of art.  It was hot smoked whisky-cured Loch Duart salmon on Guinness and malted sourdough soil with horseradish mousse and truffle snow. What to say? Sweet salmon, that maltiness from the sourdough and beer and sweetness from the horseradish.  Delicious.

The Laughing Gravy

I started with roasted and pickled Heritage beetroot, goat’s cheese, preserved apple with candied cashew (£8.50).  A lovely plate with super sharp apple, gloriously sweet beetroot and that sharp tang of the goat’s cheese was a joy.  Rolled in apple gelee which was amusing and unexpected.

The Laughing Gravy

Another, plate, destined for the Christmas menu, although I wouldn’t wait for December for this one, a lovely pinwheeled roll of wild boar and pistachio with damson chutney and purple potato crisps.  Beautiful.  A reasonable £50 for three courses and not a Christmas pudding or mince pie in sight.

The Laughing Gravy

This fantastic duck terrine and chicken liver and Foie gras pate is a plate of fabulous, complete with sour cherry puree and candied hazelnut.

The Laughing Gravy

Stupid me I went and ordered a main before the outpouring of dishes.

The Laughing Gravy: Mains

The wild mushroom and salted deer stuffed venison fillet Wellington came with tender stem broccoli, horseradish and white truffle celeriac puree, scattered with toasted almonds (£24).  If there were a gripe to be had it would be the pastry.  A little ‘flabby’ for me but this kind of thing is all subjective.   Perfectly cooked, but I wanted a bit more flake.  The venison was just perfect.

The Laughing Gravy

A plate of pan-fried market fish with braised leek, kale, buttered new potatoes and Brixham crab broth arrived.  This Christmas offering was full of flavours brought together so very well.

The Laughing Gravy

The Laughing Gravy

The Laughing Gravy

The Laughing Gravy: Desserts

I was ready to dodge the dessert course.  No chance.  Along came a taster plate of what’s on offer.   Amaretto sour and caramelised banana sundae with candied cashews.   A seven-year aged dark rum soaked raisin and roasted pecan pie with vanilla and nutmeg infused eggnog popcorn brûlée.  The salted caramel mousse with vanilla fudge, shortbread and chocolate rum ganache filled Caramac cylinder was a clever nod to my childhood.  I’m a sucker for salted caramel ice cream, and this was heaven with the chocolate brownie.

The Laughing Gravy, Dessert

The Laughing Gravy, dessert

After all that food, the Chef wanted me to try an ice cream sundae sandwich.  I had to put my foot down, the elasticated pants were at their upper limits, and I had to make it to the door.  

If you live near the restaurant, I’m really jealous.  If you don’t, make the trip before everyone finds it and you can’t book a table for love or money.

This Google Map shows you exactly how accessible it is.  Close to The Cut at Waterloo and a short stroll from Southwark.

Laughing Gravy, Google Maps

The Laughing Gravy, 154 Blackfriars Rd, London SE1 8EN