BY PALOMA LACY
I felt sure Boxpark Croydon had admirably ticked every box when it came to variety of cuisine, but it seems there were a few gaps after all.
One of the newest restaurants to fill the breach is Chicago Rib Shack and there are no prizes for guessing the cuisine.
While there are others peddling rather good burgers, few offer such damned fine pork and beef ribs, that’s for certain.
We’re off to a good start when I realise this is proper dining, with inside seating, so you can get away from the melee and cacophony of the central seating area.
I instantly spotted a Coke float, last seen in the 1980s, this combination of soda and ice-cream is unbelievably good.
The uninitiated may well baulk at the mere suggestion of the concoction, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
The float and milkshakes start at an acceptable £3.50, a far cry from the £5 price tag I found at a very well-known gourmet burger chain, recently.
My friend and I decided upon a two-starter sharing approach – jalapeno poppers (£5) and chicken strips (£6), served with a chipotle mayonnaise.
Both hit the spot, but do ensure you arrive hungry. This is heavy food, best consumed in the cooler weather when you’re on the lookout for more than a few extra calories.
It was then time for the main event, baby back ribs, “cut wide from bacon sows for extra bite”, according to the menu, (£12).
I was pleasantly surprised to find myself tucking into lean meat, juicy from a whole lot of rubbing and marinating.
The end result was lightly dry smoked and succulent meat, served on a metal tray, upon a sheet of greaseproof paper.
This is simple dining. The ribs and wings combo was going down a storm, with a £4 supplement for beef ribs.
Tender and colossal, smoked for up to eight hours with a dry herb rub, a rack of these beauties, with fries, will set you back £15.
Despite the emphasis on ribs, that’s not all that’s on offer. A number of delicious-looking starters stood out – pulled pork spring rolls and veggie quesadilla.
Burger lovers are more than catered for, most notably the Big Mic (£11), mimicking that famous burger from the Golden Arches, and Spicy Kiss (£9.50), packed full with jalapenos and fiery chipotle mayo.
Dessert wise, honeycomb crunch sundae looked just the ticket and, if you’re feeling really wicked, Oreo Doughnuts.