Rub Smokehouse – BBQ – Nottingham

The Adams walk site that Rub occupies hasn’t had a history of successful ventures. A couple of years ago a concept restaurant named Barolo offered only bowls of pasta for two and carried out no appreciable marketing. Following that, and for reasons known only to Tropiero, the chain decided that they needed 2 sites in Nottingham and opened their second here. Neither lasted long. Rub always seems off to a more successful start although it brings an assault on the senses. From their aggressive twitter activity, including promotional videos, to the poppy tunes blasting from their sound system, to the meaty odour emanating from their vents. The dogs of Nottingham could probably sniff it out from a mile away.  Their brashness is carried across to the decor with a combination of school canteen, stereotypical Americana and graffiti combing to overwhelm. The menu reads like they are desperate to impress and the PR campaign continues. Sections of it use hashtags to encourage you to take to twitter with pictures of comments. I also note something called ‘dirty rice’; I must have missed the day that dirty became a positive descriptor. (I’ve since been educated that it is a well known dish in the US but think it warrants some explaining over here!)

Rub Smokehouse & Bar - Nottingham

Rub Smokehouse & Bar – Nottingham

Happily the bold statements that Rub make flow through to the food. Starters were considered, but upon consultation with those who had been before me I was told they wouldn’t be necessary. Straight to the main course choice and the options are as you expect. Burgers are a popular choice, the pin-up the Belgian waffle burger; a double cheeseburger, pulled pork between two waffles. Yours for just £18 though, hmm. I went for a more modest option, if there is such a thing here. A burger doesn’t test the restaurant too much but good ribs can be hard to come by. I opted for a half rack, fries and a side of bbq beans. Rub-fever took over and I ordered a portion of pulled pork to accompany my already substantial meal!

Ribs at Rub - Nottingham

Ribs at Rub – Nottingham

Chips were good, some of the best examples in Nottingham crisp and fluffy with a little skin left on to add that extra bit of texture and flavour. Similar attention to detail had been paid to the beans with the addition of some pulled pork and a little red pepper to keep things interesting.  Talking of pulled pork, I had plenty. The extra, and wholly unnecessary addition was significant in size, so much so I didn’t finish it…sacrilege at a place like this! Having said that it wasn’t for the want of trying. The pork was a pleasing level of pulled-ness, the strands punctuated by bigger chunks with a sweet bbq flavour. Sadly I haven’t saved the best till last. I was hoping the ribs would be the star of the show, the meat fell of the bone well enough but the glaze just lacked any punch of flavour. With everything else at Rub in your face I expected more and they just didn’t deliver.

Despite my whinges about some of the elements that define Rub the food was a redeeming factor. It was good enough to think I’d like to return and with its large menu there is plenty to try. With Reds True BBQ opening at the end of Jan though it will be interesting to see if Nottingham can sustain these, as well as the more relaxed Jim’s Smokehouse.


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