I’ve been very excited recently about Buckingham’s recent welcome onto my local eating consciousness with Nelson Street leaping to the heady heights of my ‘Places Rob tells people to go for a posh dinner out without spending enough money to make a Russian oil oligarch cry’, and that’s a very popular list let me tell you. But, that’s not where the fun ends, oh no. Because Nelson Street is only one half of Louis and Tom’s most excellent plan to haul Buckingham up by it’s blue rinsed, Daily Mail veined trouser braces. They have also decided that we need a new smoke house. And do you know what? They’re right.
This time, it’s Tom taking the reins in the Binn on Market Street and with his previous life down in London at Texas Joe’s this is a man who knows his smoke. The Binn is smack down in the centre of the town and because Mrs P and I are well known lovers of the meat we couldn’t resist the chance to fill our boots. It’s wrong to call the Binn a former pub because when you go (and I fully expect you to after this review), you’ll see that it hasn’t lost any of the community feel that a good pub has. It’s just added the opportunity to also eat something amazing as well, thumbs up from me so far then.
The décor is perhaps a little unusual but certainly not objectionable and says brilliantly that this place is not going to sit down and be quiet. If there is life in Buckingham yet then you can be damn sure that the Binn is going to find it. And if my experience of a Monday night is anything to go by then find it they are, the place was full – and I mean full. That’s really good testimony for a town for whom change is scary and should be extinguished as quickly as possible – in other words, it’s a tough crowd.
But anyway, we gave the Binn’s menu a bloody good going over and that started with a pretzel milkshake, some truffled mac and cheese as well as a bowl of hot wings. As I know all too well, the Ying to my blogging Yang SuburbanGent loves him some dirty mac and cheese. He also loves life’s luxuries so without doubt, the Binn’s version of this filthy classic with added extravagent truffle shavings would bring a big bouncy smile to his little spa-moisturised cheeks. This top notch addition bring such a great earthy base to the bowl of deep cheesy pasta based pleasure that it’s worth coming in just for that. The hot wings were also tasty and I devoured them at speed – apparently they do a bucket of these bad boys too. An actual bucket. I would order these even if I just came in for a drink – just as perfect for a snack as they would be to kick start your meal.
Now, I know I said that we love the meat and as true as this fact is (it’s very, very true), it is for this reason that we knew if anything is advertised as being served in a tray there is going to be a lot of it. Therefore, to make sure that we tried as much of the kitchen as possible, we took the Binn Meat Platter on between the two of us and as predicted a beautiful collection was brought out to the table. On there was beef rib, smoked chicken, smoked pancetta, hot links (spicy sausages), pulled pork and beef brisket. Also in attendance was house made ‘slaw, pickles and a pot of smoked beans.
The chicken, pancetta, pork and beef rib were all great. Delicious examples that can hold their heads high with the best around. The smoky beans, creamy ‘slaw and tart pickles were balanced and beautiful, all much better than anywhere else in MK by a country mile. These are made with skill, care and it shows; accompaniment dishes are as much a part of any meal as anything else and personally I think that these little sideshows demonstrate a lot about how a kitchen approaches their customers. Order any one or all of these and you won’t be disappointed. You’ll pay up and leave happy and secure in the knowledge that you’ve had as good an evening as any that you might have liked before.
But the brisket. Oh, the brisket. That brisket though. It deserves a paragraph all to itself because hot damn that thing is good. If you’ve had as much BBQ as me, you’ll know there are three things that are always on a BBQ restaurant menu. 1) Pulled pork, 2) Hot wings and 3) Beef brisket. Both the pulled pork and hot wings you get in the Binn are good, they’re yum, you’ll like them – I promise. But, if you want to know what true American BBQ tastes like, order up some of this brisket and it will blow. Your. Mind. You will not get as soft and velvety plate of beef this side of Bermuda, it literally melted on my tongue into smoke and beef flavoured clouds of ecstasy. Mrs P always tells me that beneath this iron hard shell of emotional rejection beats an almost sensitive heart but I have to say that that brisket very nearly made me cry sweet, sweet beefy tears of joy at the table.
After I had taken a little moment to recover myself, Tom sat down at our table for a quick chat and explained that while sourcing local top quality produce and ingredients remained a focus at the Binn, he realised that he had to ship in US grade beef for the brisket because nothing else he tried could get the same result. I’m not surprised because any brisket I’ve tried over here hasn’t been anywhere close to the level of our American Cousins and the results here speak for themselves. If Tom could produce this then why would he choose to cook anything else? After a little persuasion Tom agreed to take us out to see the smoker. It was the end of service so the guys were just putting in the next cut for tomorrow but the smell was unbelievable with that beef sitting over the lumpwood charcoal. I love this job.
So there you have it; Buckingham prepare yourself, the food scene has arrived. Tom and Louis are here and they’re not taking any prisoners. I’m sure you’ll see much more of them in the future as they have just entered the MK Chef of the Year at the MK Food Awards and even with the quality of some of the other competitors, for my money, they are a good tip. Nelson Street and the Binn Smokehouse, have started a reputation that Buckingham should embrace, God only knows they need a bit more passion in the town!
My meal was comped but I’ve been back and enjoyed that brisket moment all over again, because well, just because.