Despite the revered location on King’s Road, there is zero ostentatiousness at the culinary institution that is Big Easy which has been opened since 1991.
The owner Paul, opened it to resemble the 19th-century crab shacks & Bar.B.Q of the American Gulf Coast and you do very much get that vibe with the heavily distressed walls with American motifs painted on them. There is also the unmistakable sound of live American country music often permeating the venue. They have a roster of over 8 performers that frequently entertain the diners at Big Easy, Chelsea.
The food hasn’t changed much over the years, but why would you tinker with a winning formula? The popcorn shrimp served with tartar sauce, my guest ordered for his starter has always been a pint-sized Southern favourite from the States. It is the kind of uncomplicated dish that goes well with a pint of beer and great conversation.
My preference is for something marginally healthier in the form of steamed mussels. I picked the hot ‘n’ spicy sauce version with the flavours being readily absorbed by the mussels. It was a decent-sized portion for a starter, but you will find most of the space taken up by the shells.
Although, the same couldn’t be said of the lobster California roll: at £20 you almost expect a whole crustacean packed inside your bun. Nevertheless, it was scrumptious-tasting (the lobsters have been flown in from Nova Scotia) and the accompanying avocado chunks, cherry tomatoes and mayo really combined well with the lobster meat. This price does include chips, house salad, and a drink.
Much better value was the lobster bake: at £27.50, it included half 1 pound lobster, peel ‘n’ eat giant shrimp, mussels, crab claws, and new potatoes and served in a garlic white wine cream sauce. It was a messy affair demolishing this platter but they did supply me with utensils and a bib. The quality of the seafood was generally very high and that was unsurprising given their high turnover of customers, so they constantly got new supplies of seafood.
Look out for the numerous specials throughout the week at their venue such as limitless bar.b.q on Mondays, which is £20pp and comes with 2-pint stein of big easy brew or shrimp Tuesdays where you get unlimited deep-fried shrimp.
They have done so well in recent years that they’ve opened branches in Canary Wharf and in Covent Garden.