Common Room’s New Menu
Common Room used to be somewhere I wouldn’t usually go. As a sports bar and a student bar, it really didn’t really appeal to me and it certainly wasn’t on my foodie radar… that was until their new menu arrived.
Having imported two ‘giant pit grill smokers from the US’, Common Room claims to have nailed the authentic American BBQ flavour and their menu states that pork, beef and chicken is cooked low and slow in these smoke pits with a combination of hickory and applewood chips. For added flavour the Common Room chefs mop their own BBQ sauce onto the meats. With so much effort going into this style of cooking, it only seemed fair to give Common Room a go when suffering from serious meat cravings the other week.
Heading over on a Friday night, I wasn’t surprised to find that the bar was busy. Thankfully they had a table free and we were soon sitting comfortably in the dining section, which is set off a little from the main bar area. We ordered drinks; a pint of Brooklyn for him and a bottle of Goose Island Honkers Ale for me.
Having already visited here a couple of times, once for a quick lunch of a veggie chilli and another for a bloggers event, I was quite familiar with the menu and I already had an idea of what I wanted – ribs! Thankfully the husband shared this desire and we ordered the Big Rib Tickler (£24) which is a selection of ribs with fries, burnt ends, coleslaw, corn bread and beans. We then greedily added a mini side order of mac & cheese (£2) and a small portion of fried pickles (£2).
Of course we already knew that we’d ordered too much but, had we been in any doubt, the fact that it took three servers to deliver our food would have driven that point home. It was a good job we were hungry!
The meat on the Beef Long Rib ranged from meltingly tender, fall of the bone, moist to the crust that forms during the smoking process (and although these crusts are too tough for my liking, this one did a wonderful job of protecting the rest of the meat). Moving on to the pork samples, both the St Louis Cut Ribs and Baby Back Ribs were tender, juicy and full of flavour, but for me, the Baby Back Ribs came out top in terms of taste.
Burnt ends are double cooked chunks of beef brisket glazed in BBQ sauce. Given this double cooking, I was glad to find that the meat was still quite tender. The BBQ Pit Beans were smoky and packed with a good selection of three or four different types of beans. As for the rest of the sides, fries and coleslaw were as they should be and corn bread was sweet and light.
Onto our greedy additions and the mac & cheese was spot on with a good cheese to pasta ratio. It was a good size too and would make an ample side dish to share with another. Fried pickles are dill pickles (or gherkins as we call them in my house) sliced and lightly battered before frying. They’re strangely moreish, so be warned!
Unsurprisingly we couldn’t finish everything and I think that we could have easily fed another. With our food bill coming in at just £28, I thought our meal was really good value. And it’s not just the sharing platters that are reasonably priced at Common Room; hot dogs, with fries, start at just £5 and the large veggie chilli (and it is large – I’ve had it) comes with sides and is just £4.25. With food and pricing this good, I can’t but recommend Common Room, especially as we had friendly service thrown in too.