London’s love affair with US cuisine has stood the test of time proving it’s no mere teen fling.
It started out many years ago with the odd flirtation with burgers, hotdogs and fries.
But as our taste buds longed for more flavours from across the Atlantic it developed into a fully-fledged romance which we embraced wholeheartedly.
From barbequed foods in all their sticky glory through to the cousin of the humble British fairy cake – the cupcake – and everything in between, we’ve been chomping down with hearty enthusiasm.
Taking advantage of our lust for all things American, Chicago Rib Shack in Clapham promises wholesome comfort food in vibrant surroundings.
We headed down to see whether it’s earned its (stars) and stripes…
Just a short walk from Clapham North tube station, the restaurant is tucked under the railway arches and features classic American diner booths, slick chrome work and stylish lighting.
After settling into our booth my dining partner and I decided to kick off the evening with some of the shack’s recommended cocktails.
We tried out a raspberry-flavoured hard lemonade and a refreshing lychee martini.
The lychee martini had a mellow flavour reminiscent of Turkish delight, while the raspberry cocktail was a sweet homemade lemonade mixed with a dash of Haymans Old Tom gin.
Palates suitably refreshed we plumped for a variety of the shack’s tempting starters – including crispy mac and cheese bites, pulled pork spring rolls and smoky cornmeal-coated calamari.
While the mac and cheese bites were quite plain on their own, the sweet tomato jam they were served with added the colour and lifted the flavour they needed.
The smoky calamari, dipped in fresh chilli and lemon mayo, also rated highly but the pulled pork spring rolls were the standout starter.
They were packed with smoky pork and were accompanied by pickled cabbage and Chicago Rib Shack’s super spicy sauce, which gave the perfect amount of kick.
When we were handed a plastic bib ahead of the main course I felt at home knowing they welcomed mucky pups like me who aren’t afraid to get stuck in with their food.
I chose their signature dish of baby back ribs which, cut wide for more meat, were succulent, tender and full of flavour.
The meat melted in the mouth and tasted even better when dunked in the smoky BBQ sauce.
If you’re not a fan of ribs the menu also boasts salads, burgers and steaks.
My friend tucked into the spicy ‘kiss’ burger served with jalapenos, chipotle mayo, double cheddar cheese and bacon which she described as ‘one for spice lovers but not overpowering’.
We shared some ‘dirty fries’, fries coated in gravy and cheese, and smokey BBQ beans to accompany our main meals.
After this we, somehow, managed to find space to tuck into some of the shack’s signature milkshakes for desert.
I washed down my meal with a classic vanilla milkshake but for those who are feeling something alcoholic, there’s also a great range of ‘hard’ milkshakes which are alcohol-infused versions of your favourites.
I managed to steal a sip of my friend’s ‘Fat Elvis’ alcoholic shake, which was a combination of peanut butter, strawberry jam and Wild Turkey 81 bourbon.It was seriously thick and seriously tasty.
I can see why American cuisine has stood the test of time with us Brits.
Just like a good partner it’s fun, tasty and keeps you coming back for more.
For more information visit www.thechicagoribshack.co.uk