After a three-year residency at the Hackney pub and music venue the Sebright Arms, now legendary pop-up Lucky Chip has packed up and moved on. With oodles of national press and legions of fans, as well as trendy if not wholly tasteful branding (see, for example, its Breaking Bad menu with “meth hot sauce” and free rock candy for all diners), it helped the Sebright become a destination for hefty late-night burgers.
Enter Bunsmiths. This new food venture has been developed by Sebright owner Charles Ross. At first glance, it is intended to fill the gap that Lucky Chip left behind: many of the items are identical. However, with plans to expand into a standalone restaurant in the next year, Bunsmiths is also presenting itself as a new contender on the scene. “When do you think we’ll hit peak burger?” my dining companion asked, as we were perusing the menu. It appears no time soon.
Bunsmiths, however, has a barbecue twist. Ross imported specialist smokers from the United States and as an American transplant in London who often feels bereft of proper soul food, I was heartened to see beef brisket on the menu, as well pulled pork – although I drew the line at a bun that combined the two.
The bacon cheeseburger and the brisket bun we ordered came accompanied by a tower of serviettes that were quickly used up: meat juice and sauces from both sandwiches ran through the bottom bun, down our wrists, and onto the food tray: this is not first date fare. While the barbecue perhaps didn’t quite reach the dizzying nirvana that it does in the States (my search continues), both sandwiches were ample, greasy and satisfying, appropriate fare for booze-soaked gig goers.
The sides are also worth a mention: homemade onion rings, fried chicken strips with chipotle mayo, and a crème fraiche coleslaw. There is a salad option but truly, this is not the place for salad. Along with my meal, I had a shot of decent Mezcal and a beer back, and my partner chose from the numerous craft ales on draught. Looking at the busy Thursday evening bar suddenly drain of people as they all headed downstairs for a gig, I was happy to see that despite plans of expansion, the Sebright has retained its unpretentious charm and local atmosphere.
Bunsmiths at The Sebright Arms
31-35 Coate Street, E2 9AG