Big Easy Canary Wharf

Restaurant in London

Southern States American Dining Restaurant

David Harfield gets thoroughly into character at the indulgent and enjoyable Big Easy, Canary Wharf.

Type ‘The Big Easy’ into Google Images and you’ll come up with two types of pictures: chrome-filtered shots of Deep South-style food porn and stills from an ’80s detective movie featuring John Goodman, an actor who’s clearly not averse to chowing down on the odd rack o’ ribs between takes.  I channel the archetypal chop-busting cop as I head over to the eponymous Barbeque and Lobster Shack, determined to crack the case of why so many weekend diners are congregating in Canary Wharf, an area of London that up until recently had been a ghost town on the weekend.  Get ready for a lot of spurious accusations and ham-fisted declarations as I dig down to the bottom of this mystery: “Can you handle the truth?!”  “Goddammit, you can’t make that stick!”  “You ain’t half the man I am!

Being quite literally half the man Goodman is, I have to get into Zen-like focus in order to prepare my body to make the most of the East London branch’s Bottomless Brunch offer, which gives punters two hours to gorge as much of the BBQ meat buffet as they can, along with a limitless selection of drinks, including a particularly agreeable Prosecco with which we toast the late January midday sun that soaks the restaurant’s stylish, spit-and-sawdust-with-a-shine décor in a warm sepia glow.  We climbed a few floors to get to the top of the North Dock complex where our venue is situated, passing a ‘Play Me’ piano that will get one hell of a tinkling once the guests burst out from above, full of bubbly Dutch Courage and hazy memories of Year 8 music lessons (‘guests’ = me).

The huge saloon is packed to the exposed wooden rafters with brunching families and friends, illuminated by the vintage Edison light bulbs that sway overhead.  Our friendly and personable waiter leads us to a table by the window and hands us our menus, but we already know what we’ve come here for and once we’re halfway through our first bottle of fizz – hung off the side of our table in an ice bucket and replaced as and when is necessary – the evidence is placed in front of us.  Exhibit A is the meat feast that truly lives up to its name: an enormous oven pot contains blacken-sinned ribs that cover tender flesh, a large roast chicken wing and half a breast and a sweetbread that’s ideal for dipping into the tangy slaw that sits in the middle of the tray.  Thick-cut chips lie alongside a pot of spiced beans and the pièce de résistance of this carnival of carnivory is a mound of soft and chewy pulled pork.  Exhibit B is just as exciting, as it comprises a full lobster, chopped in half and drizzled fresh lemon juice with an accompanying jug of garlic butter.  And more chips.  The pot of salad almost seems sarcastic, but it’s welcome roughage to go along with one of the most decadent lunches I’ve enjoyed in recent memory.

While we let a day’s worth of delicious calories settle in our body, I peruse the scene of the crime one last time, fingers drumming on belly and (imaginary) cigar clenched between teeth.  It’s a comfortably chaotic tableaux of a flourishing restaurant at peak time: kids wash their hands in the tub-like sink that’s situated in the middle of the restaurant as adults’ chatter mixes with the molasses-sweet licks emanating from the blues soundtrack that posits the joint more south of Alabama than east of Canada Water.  Even the sandbags piled over the barrels serving as a room divider don’t seem contrived.

Well, this appears to be an open-and-shut case, ladies and gentlemen; the mysterious disappearance of weekend diners from Shoreditch-type areas can be explained by the arrival of this enjoyable and eminently affordable surf and turf venue.  It’s big, it’s easy and I for one will be returning to solve the enigma of the ever-expanding waistline very, very soon.

David Harfield is a freelance food and travel writer and the director of the social media solutions company PepperStorm Media

Photographs courtesy of Big Easy Canary Wharf

Reviewer's Rating
Cuisine American
Need to book Advisable
Clientele Friends, parties and families
Restaurant good for Families with children, Bar scene, Small groups, Meeting up with friends, Outdoor seating
Cost per head Medium
Dress Code Casual
Dining Options Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch

Additional Ambience Information

A very lively and fun atmosphere.

Additional Price Comments

They run several offers, including the £29.95 Bottomless Brunch – bargain!

Last updated on 02-02-2016

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