Po-boy purveyors, Division 194, have set up shop in the kitchen of Clapham pub The King & Co for the next several weeks with a menu oozing with New Orleans inspiration and a dash of American gourmand excess.
Truth be told I’m a rather harsh stickler when it comes to New Orleans’ famous sandwich, the po-boy, and often find issue with what folks say is a po-boy here in London. Much of what gets passed off to Londoners just ain’t po-boy material. Usually the bread is wrong or the fillings veer too far from the origins and spirit of this humble working class repast.
So I was pleased to taste Division 194’s more than reasonable representation of what a London po-boy should be. I went halfsies on the beef shin ‘debris and bone marrow gravy sandwich (£9) and the NOLA-style shrimp (£12). Both were awesome and filling. The bread – essentially a decent quality baguette – wasn’t quite there with respect to the ‘French loaf’ you’d find keeping your sandwich together in New Orleans, but close enough not to argue over the symantics of what I ate.
Other yummies I especially enjoyed from the menu include super indulgent devilled eggs – Burford Browns topped with chunky bits of pork rinds (£2.50); chicken wings “confit’d in duck fat, fried until crispy, tossed in pickled chilli butter and served with a Stichelton blue cheese dip and celery” (three for £5, six for £9 and 9 for £12); and a chocolate mousse dessert with peanut praline and crème fraiche (though I think I’d rather have had a scoop of vanilla ice cream instead of the crème fraiche).
I was at the pub during a tap takeover, with Berkshire based Siren Craft Brew (sirencraftbrew.com) providing a tasty assortment of beers. I glad to try the Yu Lu (“loose leaf” pale ale brewed with Earl Grey); the Ryesing Tides rye IPA; and the high alcohol (11% ABV) Bourbon Milkshake imperial stout.
Service was friendly, informed about the food and drink on offer and notably swift during my visit, on a particularly buzzing early Tuesday night.