Just the other day, my friends and I were lamenting that Hangzhou doesn’t have a sports bar, a place where you can watch NBA basketball, NHL hockey, Champions League football, etc. while also enjoying a cold beer and some good grub. Then lo and behold, up opens Charcoal American BBQ Restaurant and Brewery to make our wish come true! The owner, Adam, had spent many years living in New York and L.A., with plenty of road trips to Texas to experience real BBQ. The South African chef also spent many years in America, and he knows a thing or two about grilling meat. The dining area is large and bright with plenty of satellite connection TV screens for everyone to get a comfortable view.
Charcoal has a beer master brewing some excellent beer on the premises with six different beers to suit everyone’s tastes – from light Indian Pale Ale to darker lagers (25RMB for 330mL, 38RMB for 500mL). A rack of six 200mL cups (108RMB) is a great way to sample many beers at once. Bottled beers, cocktails and wine are also available as well as non-alcoholic beverages like fresh lemonade and grapefruit soda.
Now let’s talk about the food. We tried the BBQ Plate (188RMB) and the Snack Platter (108RMB for 4 people) and they were huge. The Snack Platter was so loaded with fries, onion rings, calamari rings, beer-battered fish and chicken bites that we barely made a dent in it. It’s not often that we find beer battered fish on the menus in Hangzhou, and Charcoal’s fish was really good with a crispy lightly spiced batter. Next time I visit I’ll definitely try their Fish Tacos (49RMB).
The BBQ Platter had ribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken leg, house made sausages and corn bread. The ribs were tender and the pulled pork was moist and tasty. Both came slathered in a smoky BBQ sauce. The sausage packed a spicy punch and the smoked chicken tasted great with the accompanying sauce.
The large menu also has salads, pastas, pizzas, burgers, hotdogs and desserts like cheesecake and lemon cream pie.
Charcoal is a welcome addition to Hangzhou and it’s off to a promising start. There are many promotions and special events to come, such as a burger eating contest, beer drinking contest, free beer and buy-1-get-1 free nights. Ask for details at the restaurant.