Reds True Barbecue, Nottingham

Reds was pretty much everything I was looking for in a BBQ experience. The day we visited, a work colleague sent me a link to their website and I spent a while salivating over the images of ribs, burgers and sandwiches. I quickly booked a table for two for lunch on the following day as I knew Siggy and I were going to Nottingham the following day.

When we got there the booking wasn’t listed on their handwritten list but I didn’t need to fish out my booking confirmation email as there was a table for two available. This was at about one o’clock and I would say that the place was about 3/4 full. It seems very popular and is in a good central location on Queen Street a few minutes from the main square.

I was disappointed to find that they did not have root beer on tap so opted for a diet Pepsi. I ordered a Pit Burger with a mac n cheese side (having been warned it came with fries already) and my girlfriend ordered a pulled pork sandwich (essentially a burger rather than a long sub). The food and drinks came very quickly and our waiter was a helpful hipster and not some sullen Saturday-job chav. All the staff seemed genuinely friendly and not in ‘forced-smile-Disney’ kind of way.

The food was glorious with only a few minor faults. Faults first – the two slices of bacon in my stacked burger were not at all crispy and very fatty and also covered in little bits from the dirty grill and the giant onion ring was also quite greasy. The fries were also quite boring – but easily pepped up by one of the six sauces available on the table – most of the sauces were great and the ketchup comes with a sarcastic label telling you it’s not ‘true BBQ’ (as does the bean burger – but then that comes with the option of free pulled pork which I thought was a very clever bit of marketing, in fact all the marketing comparing BBQ to a religious experience was excellent).

That’s it for faults and apart from the bacon all quite minor imo. The burgers, brisket ends and pulled pork were all delicious and on a par with stuff I ate in London at Jamie Oliver’s barbecue restaurant (there will be a post about this at some point). The bun was sweet and even the lettuce was a taste sensation. The mac’n cheese was creamy and cheesy at turns and generously proportioned. The flavours of the meat from the smoking and cooking were spot on and conjured up taste-bud fuelled images of America from my mouth.

It probably all would have gone down even better with some beer and I’ll make a note next time not to be the designated driver!

The restaurant building itself has been fitted out in a kind of industrial style mixing geek chic with scaffolding and lots of stained wood with aluminium tables. The seating is a mixture of leather booths, metal chairs and wooden chairs and table sizes vary from ones for couples to big groups. If you don’t like clowns beware of the model with the light-up nose. There’s lots of quirky neon signage and even the toilets are pretty groovy – and clean.