Pig Out BBQ – Pickering, Ontario (Canada)

Where do you go when you want to pig out on some good barbecue? Well, a great place would be the aptly named Pig Out BBQ in Pickering. If that’s too far east of Toronto for you, there is also one on Spadina Avenue near the University of Toronto that picked up on the success of this first location.

Pig Out BBQ Outside

The menu features comfort food staples such as pulled pork, beef brisket, chicken wings, burgers, ribs, smoked sausage, tacos (fish, chicken, beef or pork), sweet potato fries, onion rings, poutine, baked beans, mac n cheese, corn bread, warm banana bread pudding and more pig-out worthy dishes.

Collage Pig Out BBQ

Although located on a busy road in Pickering, it’s a real hidden gem. Or should I say, it was… until Food Network Canada’s hit TV program You Gotta Eat Here featured Pig Out BBQ on one of their episodes, which aired in 2014. Canadian readers can watch the episode here. The show airs in a few countries, including the UK, so keep an eye out for it.

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Nosh & Quaff – Birmingham (UK)

Nosh & Quaff is new on the food scene in Birmingham. I had been reading good things about it on various blogs and the photos certainly looked droolworthy so I decided to check it out for myself. I’m pleased to say that Nosh & Quaff lived up to the hype… the three of us agreed! Definitely worth the trip from Cambridge.

Collage Nosh & Quaff

Golden Sign Nosh & Quaff

Building Nosh & Quaff

Nosh & Quaff is located in the heart of the city at Victoria Square. It’s in a gorgeous Grade II listed building on Colmore Row that I can’t believe was left vacant for so long. What a travesty. It’s obvious it used to be a bank as you can still see the vaults in the basement where the loos are located. The building was given a complete refit but still retained its beautiful marble walls and wooden panelling. I have to say, the new light fixtures are spectacular!

Seating Nosh & Quaff

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SmokeWorks – Free School Lane, Cambridge (UK)

Our summer of the BBQ joint took us to SmokeWorks on Free School Lane in Cambridge. I had been reading rave reviews about the place and it was about time we tried it out. We braved the torrential downpour (hence no outside photos) and walked into a restaurant with industrial décor and functional seating. It was smaller than I expected but then realised there was a whole other floor downstairs. We were greeted warmly and boy, did the place smell delicious. We instantly forgot all about the rain as we were shown to our table by our friendly server.

Collage Smokeworks

We knew the portions were big and it was going to be a filling meal so we saved our appetites for this dinner. We had a very early dinner (4:30pm) so the place wasn’t full yet. This gave me the opportunity to take photos without bothering any customers. I explored the basement (and the cool communal loos!) and I admired all of the little decorative touches, the exposed brick, lighting and the seating in the alcoves. They made the most of the limited space they have and it is laid out is a very functional way. The big red button at each table, which you twist when you want service, is an ingenious idea. The table number lights up on a big board, which is very visible to the servers. That way, they don’t have to continuously hover around the tables in the tight spaces and peek around any corners to see if they are needed.

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Cabana – Westfield Stratford City, London (UK)

Cabana Brasilian Barbecue has a few locations around London. The one I visited is located at Westfield Stratford City’s Chestnut Plaza, which boasts the advantage of two outdoor terraces. Whilst Cabana retains the Portuguese spelling of Brazil (that’s Brasil with an ‘s’), it is not a typical Brazilian restaurant, although the flavours and ingredients are indeed Brazilian. In my opinion, this is a good thing as the menu offers up some fresh, decent Brazilian-inspired fare that appeals to a wide segment of the population.

Cabana Outside5

Collage Cabana Outside

The decor is beautifully thought out with some wonderful upcycled furnishings, such as tables made from wooden cheese shelves and seating covered in jeans. The ambience is comfy, cheerful and fun, complemented by the colourful printed posters that adorn the walls and the friendly servers dressed in Brazilian colours. We arrived as soon as they opened for lunch and most people were seated outside on this warm, sunny day so I had the opportunity to take a few photos of the inside while it was still relatively empty. It filled up quickly afterwards!

Collage Cabana Inside

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