Former Blue Smoke executive chef Kenny Callaghan is moving to London to head up The Big Easy, an American restaurant in Covent Garden.
The original Big Easy was founded by restaurateur Paul Corrett some 20 years ago. With Callaghan's arrival, however, the new "barbecue and crab shack" is slated to open February 2014, with Callaghan saying in an email, "There will be an open kitchen with two Argentinean-style parilla charcoal grills, a rotisserie spit big enough to roast whole hogs, a large wood-burning oven, and a dedicated pit area with two wood-burning smokers brought in from Texas."
The U.K.'s Restaurant Magazine also reports of "imported, purpose-built cocktail machines" to pour frozen margaritas, Manhattans, and Old Fashioneds on tap, plus alcoholic milkshakes. "There will also be [two] bars focusing on American whiskeys, as well as rare tequila, rum, liquor, and French and Spanish brandy," Callaghan said in his email. Expect massive lobster tanks and whole roasted pigs, to go with an ounce of whiskey on the rocks. Callaghan's full email below:
"I wanted to let everyone know what my next steps are after leaving Blue Smoke last month. I'm excited to share that I am in London opening a restaurant called The Big Easy in Covent Garden's Maiden Lane, which opens in February. Little did I know when my mom left from County Claire Ireland to work in London, I would follow in her foot steps several years later to make her proud! I am excited to bring a new perspective on American cuisine here in London.
The new Big Easy occupies a 19th-century electrical power station that was used to power the first bright lights of the West End. There will be an open kitchen with two Argentinean-style parilla charcoal grills, a rotisserie spit big enough to roast whole hogs, a large wood-burning oven, and a dedicated pit area with two wood-burning smokers brought in from Texas. The lobster tank is massive and will house the largest quantity of lobsters in the U.K.!
My menu will feature an abundance of rare pork breeds and beef cuts sourced from the U.K. The lobsters will be sourced all year round from Nova Scotia. There will also be two bars focusing on American whiskeys, as well as rare tequila, rum, liquor and French and Spanish brandy. I'm really excited to start this next chapter and I hope you'll come visit me in London in the New Year."