We had only previously been to Southern 11 for cocktails at the end of a night eating and drinking elsewhere in the city, but Mrs B wanted to go for her birthday with a small group of our friends. We had liked the look of the place, the menu was appealing to all of us and the cocktails and service we had on that first visit had been exceptional.
Mrs B booked the table a couple of weeks in advance, table for 8 at 8pm on the 9th. This seemed something of a struggle to comprehend at the end of the phone and the voice had to get a second person to help make the booking. Not the best of starts but its a tongue twister so could be forgiven. We arrived with plenty of time to loiter around the bar and try a cocktail before sitting for our night ahead. This apparently was not appreciated, as upon entering nobody was on the door to greet us so we went to the bar but then this little man gave us a sharp ‘Have you booked’ from, we guessed, the manager or supervisor for the evening. When yes it was at 8pm was replied, he was even more put out stating ‘well its not for half an hour yet!’ We were well aware and said we had come for a drink first. He stropped off and went to snap at somebody else we guessed.
This was fortunately the last of our involvements with this gentleman, as our waiter for the evening seated us, and was a joy to be served by late into the night. We settled in to our table and our group quickly set about the menu, drooling over the massive choice of meat, meat and meat. Cocktails were also soon quickly ordered and the drinks service was relaxed but speedy. I ordered a shake-your-own Shake Hat ‘n’ Roll Manhattan, which I’d had on our previous visit, mixing and shaking a cocktail took me back to my cocktail barman days many years ago! This was such a nice drink, obviously pure alcohol but also smooth to drink and full of flavour. I could have drank them all night, but decided to sample a range of beverages!
The huge food order was taken, we chose to have a few plates of the sharing breads and chicken wings for the whole table and miss out individual starters. The kitchen and waiter must be applauded for their ability to provide each diner with two of each, the chicken wings were enormous, the biggest I’ve ever had and the barbecue sauce was very moorish, as was the cornbread with jalapeños and rye bread.
The mains arrived and it was just a table full of varying meats, cooked in varying ways, with almost as many sides as main dishes! We really had gone to town on the ordering, creamed spinach, macaroni cheese and BBQ beans to go with our rib eye steaks, lil’ burgers and beef short rib (top picture) amongst many other dishes! The size of the dishes surprised us, everybody went home full and with barbecue sauce under their nails. I had a BBQ slider selection and to get three differently-cooked and tasting meats blew my taste buds. The effort put into the presentation in Southern 11, from the cocktails right through to the side dishes is fantastic.
Our attentive and very pleasant waiter was with us till the end, we had moved on to ordering sharing cocktails, which is two cocktails on an elaborate metal holder, along with fruit and crushed ice, but for me and my fruit avoidances I was limited to the choice. But that isn’t the end of the world. Still great cocktails and value for money. Value for money it certainly was, the bill came to about £35 per person, considering we all had 3-4 drinks each, which included cocktails, two courses and many side dishes.
If there is a restaurant that does a better mix of cocktails and meat in such a relaxed environment then please point me that way as so far this is top of the pile for me. We will go back again and again, just avoiding the stroppy man with the shirt and tie at the door!