Contrary to popular opinion, the majority of bloggers are not just after freebies. There is sometimes an expectation you’ll be full of praise if you’ve been invited for a ‘free feed’, but those who read my blog know that isn’t something I can guarantee. We can only speak as we find here at Canny Food! There have been times people have told me they’ve had an amazing meal somewhere we’ve not been keen on, and vice versa. Recently a friend told me they’d eaten somewhere I’d not been positive about and completely agreed with what I’d said. It’s horses for courses. At a ‘soft launch’ you may also not experience the best of a restaurant as it takes a while for them to get up to speed.While BBQ is blinking *EVERYWHERE* in Newcastle – and I personally feel like we’ve reached (fat) saturation point – I really wanted to try out Red’s True BBQ. In my meat-eating days I loved nothing more than feasting on a rack of ribs down in their Leeds eatery. Any shopping trip to the city started with a meal there, which invariably meant a food baby for the rest of the day. When I heard about their impending opening in Grey’s Quarter, alongside recently reviewed Pizzastorm, George’s, and the forthcoming Smashburger, I knew there’d be a good few happy carnivores. But what about vegetarians with a tag line like #lettherebemeat ? I decided to take Red’s up on their kind offer with the purpose of trying out the meat-free options. Laura, one of our contributors, gamely volunteered to give her critique on the ribs and brisket.There was a huge queue to get in which we managed to jump thanks to our reservation. We were told by our lovely server that we’d be given ‘The Feast’ to share, which featured all manner of meaty stuff. As this was a soft launch night the full menu wasn’t available, but there was enough pieces of BBQ offered to get an idea of what they were about. It definitely had the feel of the original Red’s, which I was pleased by.
I informed them about my vegetarianism and said I could order either a Bean Burger or a Salad. I don’t think anyone would go to a BBQ restaurant for Halloumi Caesar so opted for the patty.
The restaurant was super busy but the food arrived quickly. There appeared to be a difference between the menu description and what was presented to Laura, with the inclusion of a Mac-N-Cheese Ball instead of onion rings as one of the noticeable changes. I was quite happy with the switch as I got to try out this delicious little morsel too. With a crisp shell and macaroni inside that actually tasted of cheese, they are definitely worth ordering as a small plate on their own.She gave the thumbs up to the brisket, pulled pork and the sausage, as well as the pit beans. Their sauces were authentic and smoky, as you’d expect from these guys. There’s no delicate way to eat ribs and wings, but thankfully they give you wet wipes to sort yourself out with afterwards.
There were a couple of bum notes though. The raw onions included were acrid and unnecessary, while the sweet potato cornbread tasted ‘strange’ according to the lady who has eaten in some of the top BBQ restaurants of the US of A. The food got cold really quickly too, which is a common problem in places like this. Tin trays and scran don’t mix well. With so much grub, you’d have t act like you were part of an eating challenge to make sure you Hoover it up while it still has some warmth about it.
My burger (£9.95) was served mayo-less and without the caramelised onions mentioned on the menu. The patty was substantial, but definitely needed some sort of sauce to stop it from being dry. The sweet potato fries seemed overkill on a tray already filled with regular fries but hey, Red’s do not do things by half! For the price I thought it was good value for money.
Served on a brioche bun, the burger was made with a mix of kidney and black beans. It’s a shame there is nothing other than salad leaves for vegans to eat, and hopefully Red’s will take this on board. Their website helpfully allows you to filter out allergens, which is something other restaurants should follow suit on. It would also be lovely if those tasty Mac-N-Cheese Balls make it into a burger option. I know the Teen would be all over that like a rash!
Red’s were clearly popular on this soft launch night and I feel this may have impacted on the standard of food they served up. The bar area was packed and we were entertained with some great music and an impressive magician. It got a bit much for us having to shout over the music, so we left without using up all of our drinks tokens. Those cocktails were pretty potent for a lightweight like me! Hopefully the little niggles will be ironed out once they get into their stride with service. Having experienced the queues of their Leeds restaurant, and the demand for our home-grown Longhorns not long after they opened, it seems like the fascination with BBQ food isn’t going anywhere soon. I’d anticipate Red’s will continue to draw in the punters over the next few months so be prepared for a wait, as currently there’s no online booking system.
Thanks for reading,