In A Word
People not looking for a healthy meal (perhaps better said as people looking for an indulgent meal)
People looking for the kind of meal where the odds of ingesting something that could be defined as healthy are really quite small
People who’ve just finished their diet and want to go off the rails and have a lot of fun doing it
People who like to eat well AND bowl on the same day (I recommend bowling before eating – Brooklyn Bowl don’t scrimp on portions and you might not feel like bowling after being in posession of a belly that feels like it’s full of led)
People with kids. It seems kid friendly and you can anaesthetise them with the desserts if things stop going to plan
People who can have a food coma and dance at the same time. God bless you, genetic mutants.
Birthday party people. Or regular party people. There’s Nutella and bourbon milkshakes you know…
Bowling for Soup (and by ‘soup’ I mean chocolate brownies, banana splits and Bourbon Street shakes)
Again, going for a review on Tasting Britain puts my preconceptions to the test, and my preconceptions lose. Fuck you, preconceptions – stop with all the preconceiving. Brooklyn bowl is not what I thought it would be – Cat, my +1, described it initially as something that looked like a ‘high class TGIs’ but it is quite a lot more than that (in a good way)
Initial impressions don’t lead you to think ‘wow, classy restaurant you got here’ – it’s all thumping music and multicoloured light flashing across from the adjacent bowling area and dancefloor (yes, there is a dance floor, but it’s separate from the restaurant area). The area in which we sit to eat in is positioned just far enough away to carry a conversation without shouting, but on the side closer the lanes, I think it could be harder
All of this gives the place a deceptively ‘party’ vibe which is offset by surprisingly good (and decadent) food (we’ll come to that later) – no the bowling does not detract from the food.
Looking at the menu, based on typography, layout and surroundings you might be forgiven for expecting a drinks selection that consists mainly of craft beers and bourbon, but there you would be wrong, my friend…
There’s actually a surprisingly good wine selection at the least, we picked a Gnarly Head Zinfandel that went very well later with the Cajun flavours and pulled pork we would later be chowing down on (lots of jokes about having a ‘gnarly head’ later)
Service – pretty good – our waiter was a fantastic Polish guy called Jacob (pronounced ‘yakob’) – though initially a little forgetful with some of our dishes, he really set himself aside later with a mixture of wine savvy and generally being a nice person.
That said, you’re not assigned just the one waiter and various people will serve you, including a muscular Irish man and lots of younger looking people who look like a hyper motivated version of the people you might get served at on a visit to KFC. Later in the evening we actually saw the staff roughhousing (which sounds better than ‘having a fight and smiling’ – so it definitely looks like a lot of fun to work here (I assume they get free food and bowling)
Brooklyn Bowl’s food is a little like the restaurant equivalent of a noisy, drunken post op transexual drag queen (I mean this in a good way) – unforgettable, brazen and unapologetic about what it is.
It’s also mighty filling. I was pretty much done half way through the main course, but one must simply try harder in a review, right? So I soldiered on, gradually closing the distance between me and the 320 pound version of me that likes drive around in a mobility scooter. ‘MURICA
Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower With Cheddar Cheese and Bacon
This is just fantastic and gratuitous (a theme that will repeat here). The vegetables are cooked al dente (with slightly blackened edges), creating a perfect contrast with a layer of throbbing, yielding, melty cheese and the slighty firmer bacon bits. I don’t know why those wooden sticks are there.
Blackened, with that touch of charcoal that might very well be carcinogenic but fuck that shit and eat it because it also tastes very excellent and it’s not every day you’re eating Cajun stuff in London right? The fish itself was the perfect consistency, soft but not too soft, allowing you to smash it into the mashed potato base that lived for a short time beneath this transient and delicious piscine creation. The potato was average.
Desserts are where Brooklyn Bowl shine. And by shine I mean make you seriously question the health implications of what you’re eating for a while but that’s also OK because you will be loving every minute as you do.
Submerged in so much whipped cream and ice cream (both chocolate and coffee flavours) and ‘interrupted’ by chocolate chips, you actually forget that there’s banana in there. By the time you finally get to the banana it’s basically turned into a blasphemously delicious sugar magnet and tastes like everything else in the bowl (which is to say goddamn awesome).
Sadly, it does quite suddenly become a homogenous syrupy liquid which is unappealing, though could be sold on to unsuspecting patrons as a milkshake (just sayin’)
Ok, if ‘yes’ isn’t a substantial enough description, this one came to us on Jacob’s recommendation (the guy knows stuff). This was my favourite dessert – slightly blackened on the outside to give it a bit of a charcoal crispiness (again like the catfish), whilst the inside is soft and melty. Could have been more chocolatey in taste but the texture was nigh perfect. They serve it with a weighty blob of icecream which melts onto said brownie and softens the area it touches. The contrast on the tongue is magnificent. Yes.
Bourbon Street Shake
But goddamn this is some mad decadent shit right here. The Nutella takes the edge off of the bourbon but you can definitely taste the alcohol – which is fantastic after you’ve just finished a bottle of wine and your palette is annihilated but is also not fantastic after three rather mighty courses and you kinda wanna stand up and get gravity to force the food down for you,
Magnificently bad for you and so rich that I just couldn’t finish it on top of a dessert. I think both my sweet tongue and digestive capacities were exhausted, and so my final judgement on this one is not going to be reliable. It is what it is. Bourbon and chocolate spread in liquid form.
Anywhere that plays sped up Michael Jackson remixes AND serves red Zinfandel AND does bowling AND is pretty much an import from across the pond gets my vote for being at least a fun place to go to.
It’s location in the O2 is both blessing and curse, but if you find yourself in the area, at least go and take a look at it. The colours and floodlights are pretty, the welcome is warm and the food ain’t so bad either…