‘Set in bustling Finsbury Park, Rub will serve marinated, slow cooked meats in a fun, eclectic designed space. Our vision is to bring lovingly seasoned and marinated slow cooked food, killer milkshakes and delicious cheesecakes to the masses.’
So declares the new Rub Diner, riding the wave of enthusiasm for Southern Comfort food currently swilling over the country like the contents of an upended KFC fryer. Everything you’d expect is there – pulled pork, burgers, milkshakes, more pulled pork, jerk chicken, the now ubiquitous macaroni and cheese (or Mac’n’Cheese as our American cousins so quaintly put it) and of course did I mention pulled pork? The price is reasonable and the portions are large enough to give you that authentic American obesity feeling and, as long as you can overlook the stark decor and brusque and occasionally incompetent waiting staff, the food itself is passible. Sure it’s not going to win any awards, but when you stack 5 pancakes with crispy bacon, pulled pork and maple syrup you’re probably too awash with saturated fat and sugar to care.
On the occasion we visited we tried several dishes from the brunch and dinner menus. For our taste the brunch menu hit the mark more consistently than the dinner. ‘Piggy Back Pancakes’ – a tower of pancakes, egg, crispy bacon, pulled pork and maple syrup – went down very well – with the sweetness of the pancakes and syrup sitting very well with the smokey pork. We tried two burgers – the Piggy Back Breakfast Burger and a Chilli Burger. In both cases the topping – of Pulled Pork for the former and Chuck Steak Chilli for the latter, was more impressive than the burger itself. In neither case were we asked how we’d like the burger cooked – with the inevitably overdone hunk of dry, bland ground beef the result. Is a medium rare burger really too much to ask? Finally the baby back ribs bucked the ‘supper sized’ trend – a rather meagre offering of overly dry meat with overly sweet sauce. Not recommended.
Side dishes came in good sized portions – we went for classic fries (it’s amazing how a simple thing like not supporting an illegal invasion and occupation can have your national moniker expunged from a food stuff – though thank god the alternative ‘Freedom Fries’ never caught on…) and onion rings. It’s hard to go wrong with fries and they didn’t. It is much easier to go wrong with onion rings – as the greasy heap of batter and burnt onion we were served proved. Ho hum, I guess one out of two isn’t so bad.
All in all a restaurant that prides itself on quantity over quality – if the menu is indeed as American as Apple Pie – that’s presumably the same pie featured in chorus ‘who ate all the…’. I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to visit Rub, but if you find yourself in need of syrup drenched brunch there could be worse places to find yourself.
Rub Diner – 121 Stroud Green Road, London, United Kingdom