Creating the pub of your dreams is a reality for Jason Kennedy at his poem to Louisiana, Plaquemine Lock
Certain chefs get to a point where they can have a free go at making something not just close to their heart but right in the centre of it: they have earned so much respect from diners, critics and investors that they are free to just … create.
Boca di Lupo’s Jacob Kenedy is such as chef as he has managed to take a disused pub in Islington, under threat from developers who wanted to turn it into a block of flats and riff on his heritage with a Lousiana-style freehouse.
And this is no half-hearted concept-y attempt, this is a full-on po’ boy, gumbo, crayfish, hot sauce Cajun Creole affair. Now, the cultured, well –to-do residents of Islington might be a bit more welcoming of this sort of innovation than, say, er, other places (Wembley?), but it is still a bold move – but in HotJoint’s view, there is magic in its boldness (OK, that was Goethe).
Blackened chicken, grey mullet armandine, Sazerac, all respresent the best of a melting pot cuisines born from the meeting point of cultures that is this corner of the Deep South.
With its canalside location the pub can serve seafood (including plenty of oysters) with some confidence, and although the interior of the pub remains unchanged, the soul has been changed forever.
The chef’s great-grandfather built the Plaquemine Lock waterway in Louisiana in the early 1900s, and his mother has created watery murals for the pub walls. It’s all a love letter to family history and makes the heady food and southern-inspired cocktails all the more special. It’s a back story and an execution money can’t buy (even from London brand agencies!)
The cracklins, boudin sausage and beignets can take diners across the world and back through time in the same instant. You gotta love London food sometimes.