Duke’s Brew & Que Breakfast Review: American Food in Hackney

Mar 06

Dukes brew and cue review: american bbq restaurant in hackney

Duke’s Brew & Que opened in March 2012 and is first and foremost an American grill joint serving meat treats like ribs, pulled pork and sliders. You’ll find it just a stone’s throw from Haggerston Overground station, sandwiched in between Regent’s Canal and Kingsland Rd in Hackney. Duke’s Brew and Que also do brunch and in true American style, the plates are large and calorie-laden.

Decor & Atmosphere 6/10

Inside, efforts have been made to give the place a cattle ranch kinda feel, with lots of wood and antlers. This makes sense with the food they’re serving, but there’s also some more unusual items (like a vintage pram with a scary doll inside) that feel out of place. Maybe this is a quirky nod to Dalston, but it wasn’t working for me. The atmosphere is relaxed and there’s loads of tables in Duke’s, so you shouldn’t find yourself queueing – at least when we were there at lunch/brunch-time, but the abundance of seating did mean some areas were a little cramped. That said, the large glass windows all around you make the place feel bright and airy.

Food (breakfast) 4/10

I was there for breakfast and unfortunately wasn’t brave enough to try the famous ribs as my first meal of the day – so the brunch menu is all I’m covering here. Options are big and bold – think pulled pork omelette with Monterey Jack cheese, American pancakes piled up with bacon and maple syrup and and a breakfast burger. Oh and everything is served with fried potatoes – including the eggs Florentine. I ordered Mister Frenchie’s Ravioli, a French toast sandwich stuffed with crispy bacon and cream cheese. It’s made with thick hunks of white bread and dusted with icing sugar, served alongside a pot of gloopy maple syrup. The whole thing was really sweet, and I couldn’t taste the cream cheese. I guess they wanted to keep it close to what you’d get in America, but the stodgy white bread and double sugar hit from the icing and syrup over-powered everything, including the bacon. I like my French toast soft on the inside and toasted on the outside, but my Mister Frenchie had no bite.

Service 5/10

Service was slow and forgetful at times, but all the staff did have smiles on their faces – which beats the often surly attitude encountered in the more trendy areas of town. We had to wait 10 minutes to be seated though, despite there being 3 tables available. Our food came in reasonable time, but we were kept waiting a little for our drinks.


Two Mister Frenchies, a cup of tea and an apple juice - £26.

Verdict 5/10

I’d like to go back for some barbecued meat as that’s the big deal at Duke’s, but I won’t be going back for breakfast. The brunch menu was OTT and calorie laden, with no healthier options, and the overpriced french toast I ordered was disappointing. We’re definitely spoilt for good food in east London and because of this, the breakfast at Duke’s just didn’t cut the mustard.

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