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Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crabshack: the evolution

Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crabshack Covent Garden interior

A new 300-cover, American Bar.B.Q restaurant and bar in Covent Garden

London's Chelsea institution, Big Easy Bar.B.Q & Crabshack will open a new restaurant in Maiden Lane in March 2014. Taking inspiration from its King’s Road sibling it will offer a serious evolution of the beloved 'crabshack’ in a more urban West End setting. The new venue will provide the most authentic, American fresh-smoked Bar.B.Q, seafood, cocktail and drinks offer in the UK. 

In the kitchen taking the coveted and key role of Pit Master will be Pete Daversa, former pit master at Hill Country Barbeque Market in New York. Pete has also worked at Blue Smoke BBQ (NYC and opened in Hong Kong). Big Easy Founder, Paul Corrett’s design vision has been overseen by industry heavyweights Macaulay Sinclair.  

The site has a formidable history: it is located in a former electrical power station built in 1883, owned by the Gatti Brothers and first used to light their own restaurant, 'The Adelaide’ on the Strand. On the back of their success in the electricity business , the Gattis' then formed the Charing Cross & Strand Electricity Supply Company and the site went on to power the first bright lights of the West End. The interior will honour the building’s original heritage, retaining many authentic features, such as copper conduits, brickwork, and steel and concrete girders, complemented by industrial lighting. Exposed timber beams and lots of Big Easy appeal - neon lobsters, Americana and nautical touches will add to the charm – set over three floors and 10,000 sq ft, forming an awe-inspiring space.   

A central feature will be the striking nine metre theatre-style kitchen situated on the lower ground floor. Focus will be on a ‘wall of fire’, comprising two, 2.5 metre Argentinean-style parilla charcoal grills as well as a two-metre rotisserie spit that will roast whole hogs, and a huge 2.5 metre wood burning oven. A dedicated Bar.B.Q pit area will house two, 1.5 tonne J&R wood burning smokers imported from Texas where meats will all be freshly smoked on the premises using a variety of woods, including Oak, Hickory, Apple and Cherry, for up to 18 hours to impart their unique flavours.  Diners can keep an eye on what has just come out of the smoker via the restaurant’s website and social media.  

The menu itself will be based around the finest Bar.B.Q pork and beef cuts, rare-breed British steaks and freshest local seafood.  In addition, carefully sourced beef including Wagyu and USDA and traditional-breed pork will be showcased together with what Big Easy is also renowned for – the very best and freshest lobsters. The lobsters will be sourced all year round from Nova Scotia for their consistency, flavour and quality. A specially designed 1500kg lobster tank has been constructed on the premises to house almost 2,000 live lobsters with sizes ranging from 1 to 10 lbs. As always Big Easy's ever popular daily-changing specials will continue to ensure unparalleled value for money.   

Big Easy Covent Garden are getting serious about their drinks offering too: situated on the ground floor, will be a jaw-dropping, nine-metre bar, boasting over 500 bottles on nine levels with a focus on domestic and imported premium and American whiskeys, as well as rare tequila, rum, liquor and French and Spanish brandy. Imported, purpose built cocktail machines will dispense frozen Margaritas and other well loved cocktails as well as Manhattans and Old Fashioneds on tap. The bar list will also include 'Boozy Juices' and milkshakes with an alcoholic twist and a great list of craft beers including exclusive brews on tap.  

Big Easy will continue to boast live music seven nights a week with two to three sets a night featuring some great musicians, with perhaps a few stars of the future making an appearance.  

Big Easy founder, Paul Corrett, comments: “As London’s love of Bar.B.Q, lobsters and steaks continues, I am absolutely thrilled to offer the evolution of the Big Easy to Covent Garden. No-one in London is cooking with wood and charcoal in such an unprecedented way. Fresh Bar.B.Q straight from the smoker is the holy grail for Bar.B.Q aficionados and we are aiming to provide local residents, workers and visitors alike, with the most comprehensive genuine, quality US style Bar.B.Q and seafood dining experience in the UK. This will truly be a return to extravagant social dining of a bygone age, with great food, drinks and music, in a relaxed, vibrant and unforgettable setting.” 

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