We’ve had a fantastic welcome from everyone at The Lansdowne; from the customers loyal and the new and the super efficient staff team and management. Seems with their quality drinks (anyone attempted Binki the Landlady’s speciality Rum collection yet?) and good lookin’ pub, everyone’s a happy with the new move. We’ve added a few new team members to our staffing on the nights we’re there. BBQ lover and social smoker himself, Anthony Jenkins, an established chef in Cardiff approached us last year to see if he could lend a hand (and boy did we need it!) plus we’re about to take on an apprentice of whom to teach the dark arts of BBQ. We’ll probably blog about his tutelage with us as we go along.
It’s been so busy at The Lansdowne that we’ve bearly had time to do any specials. However, we’ve sneaked a few into the smoker. Namely delicious Cajun style stew called Étouffée. Traditionally served with catfish or a shrimp garnish, but we added brined and smoked a turkey crown and pork ribs, both over fired cherrywood, to create a hearty, end of winter, fiery stew. This recipe we learnt in a backstreet kitchen in New Orleans by a great family cook (an ex chef) we met whilst on holiday, hiking in California. We later caught up with her in New Orleans. She taught us a bunch of other Southern staples which we’ll be trotting out over the coming months. Hold onto your tastebuds!
So we popped up on MSN the other day, in the company of Pitt Cue, Red’s True, Lockhart, Grillstock no less as one of the UK’s best soul food restaurants. I think the thing we all have in common is that we’ve all been on the pilgrimage to the US and absorbed the very food and culture that we wanted to try produce in the UK.
In our opinion, soul food can’t be taught from a cook book or learned from a You Tube video. You need to feel it in it’s true context and cook from the heart (then possibly exercise after it!). Food trends come and go and whether we’re part of that, we don’t know, it wasn’t our intention to be. However, we think if you have passion and have experienced first hand exactly what you want to create then you have good grounds for making a good go of something. However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with replicating these dishes at home, buying a smoker etc – this should be positively encouraged, you don’t need to go to Tennessee to make your family pulled pork! But to be in the cooking business, to sell folks fayre from foreign shores and say ‘It’s this good because I say so…’ - you, me, all of us, need a real reason to believe in what we’re doing and that reason comes from experiencing it first hand.
And that leads us nicely onto a lovely blog piece about unposh nosh (aka sould food). Great review by a local blogger Nikki Vivian, really sums up the eating experience beautifully and reiterates all the points we’ve clumsily tried to say!
Ok, I think that’s all for now, promise not to be so slack about the next update. Exciting, smokey times ahead, see you at The Lansdowne
Sticky BBQ sauce hugs
Sam & Shauna