Last updated: 7th Sep 2014.
Originally published: 4th Sep 2014
Image: Reds True Barbecue
Following a successful run at their Leeds location, Red's True Barbecue branched out suit the needs of Manchester meat enthusiasts earlier this year. The main menu is filled with sticky BBQ treats, juicy racks and mega cocktails, satisfying to say the least, but they have just gone one step further by launching a weekend brunch menu, a prayer answered for those among us who just can't reach for the frying pan when basking in self-pity when hungover.
There's something about American style food that us Brits go crazy for. We've seen the TV shows, we know what goes on over the Atlantic, and we know that more often than not, we can't access food that tasty and ridiculous as readily from home.
Reds True Barbecue brunch gives us a taste of how the Americans feast early in the day, forget the cereal and toast, here it's all about dirty grub and sickly sweet snacks (it's really not surprising the obesity levels are so high in the USA on this evidence).
Brunch at RTB is named The Morning Service, which is more than suitable considering the restaurants tongue-in-check references to their meaty ways as religion. 'Church' sits on the corner of Albert Square, the red neon lighting spelling out the restaurant name, creating a striking contrast against the brickwork behind.
The decor has previously been described as 'twisted fairground' by the owners, the open kitchen is bordered by strips of metal caging, neon signs take center stage on the walls, most notably the design with a nun praying as the text underneath reads 'I Believe'.
Wooden tables are accompanied by red plastic chairs, each eating space has a selection of their famous BBQ sauces lined up. The toilets are designed like confessional booths, for those willing to come clean about the calories consumed. A lot of thought has gone into the interior, and it pays off.
The Donut Burger has become a staple part of of the Reds True menu, so it only felt right to give the Donut Breakfast Stack a go (check it out above). It consisted of, you guessed it, two donuts, which worked as a bun. In between sat rashers of salty bacon, a fried egg, a handful of chips held together with a skewer with a tiny flag reading 'commence worship'.
It's no secret, but the extreme contrast of sweet and savoury is a winner. The sugary taste dominates as the meaty flavours make the occasional punch. The hollondaise sauce had a disappointing watery consistency and was borderline tasteless when put with the rest of the food. Some of the bacon was cooked to perfection, but some was dry and burnt in parts, but overall this was a satisfying yet guilt-inducing dish despite these flaws.
Assisting with the washing down of food was the Marshmallow Heaven Shake, which consists of strawberry ice cream and mini marshmallows, it was lacking in the thickness department and the tiny bits of marshmallow that made their way into every sip spoiled the drink slightly. Milkshakes are best when they're completely smooth.
Next up was the Saddlebags, the final portion to come over. This wasn't close to necessary considering it was 11am, but that's what happens when your eyes are bigger than your belly, and we were determined to go hard.
It was worth it, two giant stacked pancakes, with your choice of sweet or savoury toppings, making a finality which rounded off a disgustingly decadent meal. We opted for the caramelised banana and golden syrup extras. The tooth-achingly sweet dish was a gooey god-send, and finalised our dalliance with the culinary excess American cuisine revels in.
RTB is an experience, not just a place to eat. The impressive decor and the selection of food influenced by the deep south make a visit to the restaurant unforgettable, but make sure you're aware of the overload the food is likely to give you. Your heart won't be happy, but your taste buds will praise you.
The Morning Service is served 9am-12pm Saturday and Sunday; more info here..
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