By Jonathan Hatchman, Food Editor, @TLE_Food
Branded simply online as “E17”, thankfully there’s absolutely no connection to Brian Harvey’s band, of the same name, present at the latest outpost of Grillstock. Just a short walk from Walthamstow Central station, the chain’s latest Smokehouse follows the success of the music festival of the same name: taking places across three cities and bringing a weekend of “meat, music and mayhem.” This year’s music headliners include Grandmaster Flash (Manchester), De La Soul (Bristol), Razorlight (London) and The Heavy (Manchester and Bristol), as well as some BBQ competitions and Chilli Pepper and Hot Dog eating contests. Unfortunately, TLE’s previous trip to the restaurant’s Bristol outpost failed to blow us away, however it seems that they’ve upped their game considerably with the opening of their first London venture.
First off, E17 is considerably bigger than the 24-seat Bristol restaurant, although they still don’t take bookings so be prepared to wait for a while if attending during busy times. However, we can assure you that the slow cooked gargantuan portions of meat are certainly worth the wait. Vegetarians, however, won’t be quite as impressed, being that there’s only one veggie friendly main course – Mac ‘n’ Cheese. The carnivorous gluttons among us, on the other hand, are in for a treat. Reasonably priced menu additions include a selection of Burgers, Sandwiches and Hot Dogs, meanwhile there’s a handful of “Homestyle Dishes”, including a portion of Hillbilly Chilli (£10) and Meaty Nachos (£8.50). Yet it’s the BBQ Plates (actually served on metal trays) that are the most tantalising.
Opting for the BBQ share plate as suggested by the helpful staff, priced at £30 and comprising a heap of succulent Pulled Pork, some sliced Brisket, half of a surprisingly scrumptious BBQ Chicken, a full rack of Ribs, which were ever so slightly overcooked. What’s more, atop the already mighty meat feast, there’s the inclusion of a pot of Meaty BBQ Beans, a colossal heap of heavily seasoned Fries, some Coleslaw and House Pickles, just for good measure. The menu tells us it’s big enough for two, yet three diners could’ve easily been satisfied by the overwhelming portion sizes.
The menu doesn’t contain any starters or desserts, allowing for a quick turnaround, but after chowing down portions of meat to this caliber, there really is no need for any accompanying puddings. Instead, there’s a range of tasty cocktails to wash away the delicious smoky aftertaste of the meat. The Kentucky Hard Iced Tea (£7) is a winner, which features your choice of spirit, being either Sailor Jerry’s Rum, Jack Daniels’ Bourbon, or Jack Daniels’ Honey. While the Lynchburg Lemonade that’s filled with JD, Triple Sec and Lemonade is also impressive. Beware it doesn’t taste at all alcoholic but it’ll catch up with you upon exiting. On the other hand, there’s also a Grillstock Pale Ale that’s well worth a try. Refreshing yet bitter, reasonably priced at £3.80.
All in all, the general dining experience at Grillstock is a fun one, not necessarily suitable for first meetings or intimate dates, but perfect for a family feast or for lining your stomach before a hard night out with friends. Just beware that you’ll leave so uncomfortably full you’ll just want to go home and sleep, recoiling at the thought of any other food for days to come.
Grillstock Walthamstow can be found at 198 Hoe St, London, E17 4BF.