Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there.
It all started out East with doughnuts. Not just any doughnuts; puffy, generously stuffed orbs, freshly baked by Brad Mcdonald and his wife Molly sold outside their yellow front door on Hackney’s Columbia Road Market on Sundays. The next step was to move West to Marylebone to open the much lauded, American South inspired Lockhart. Now the Mcdonalds have branched out again to Carnaby, with Shotgun BBQ, a homage to the low and slow.
The lunchtime menu starts with a selection of snacks to share, followed by a selection of that British staple, the sandwich, each with a little Southern twist. There is also a selection of regularly changing smoked meats, sold by weight or as a combo plate. The latter to which you can add a glass of wine or Four Pure beer for just an extra couple of quid.
'Cheese and chive dip' came with some, rather frightening looking, shards of dehydrated cabbage stuck in the top like sails on a haunted pirate ship. The cabbage was inspired, but sadly too brittle to scoop up the pleasingly old school creamy mixture in which they were embedded with much success. Of course, the Ewing was happy to improvise with a digit. (Is what they are made for - TE)
The smoked meat plate was a simple joy and surprisingly substantial. The pork belly was good (isn’t it always), especially when doused in a little KC hot sauce, but the brisket really stole the show. The red-rimmed strips of beef bringing to mind all the barbecue superlatives; smoky; juicy and, err, meaty; that I hoped they would.
The ox tongue bun with oyster mayo and a heap of melting onions was halved and then pretty much inhaled. Yes, if you're trying to find fault, some may find the potato bun rather on the sweet side (southerners sure love their sugar), and the briny note of the oysters became lost in the background, but for me the slippery, smoky mix of allium and offal - nicely spiked with a punch of pickled cucumber - made the perfect sarnie.
More sweetness came with sides of fondant sweet potato (clue’s in the name, really) that had been topped with crunchy pecans and lashings of butter, and some decent barbecue beans, made with baby pintos and topped with sesame seeds. Coleslaw was a little wan in comparison, but I perked it up with a good squirt of the house made Carolina mustard sauce.
Having spent far too many hours of my life staring at sites like Roadfood, the home made Nana pudding – a southern trifle-like classic layered with chopped bananas, cream, custard and Nabisco wafers (like a kind of round sponge finger), was the only dessert for me. Looks wise it didn’t disappoint, being served tableside from a huge glass dish that put me in mind of Blur’s ‘There’s No Other Way’ video, but set in Charleston not Colchester. Taste wise it was also on the money, as evidenced by my wife snaffling her pudding then ‘helping’ me finish it
Happily for Chekov, we squared the circle by going back to where this story started; with a doughnut. Again, not just any doughnut, this one being a limited edition 'pineapple delight' - the ten available when we visited rapidly being chalked off on the specials board during our meal, much to the Ewing's consternation. And a delight it was, the crisp fritter-like surface pock-marked with fruit-filled craters and glazed with icing. Definitely worth the suspense.