Do! Austen’s BBQ

I’ve previously mentioned how I have many cures for homesickness scattered around the city. Tucked in at the top of Chamberlayne Road in Kensal Rise, you’ll find another one. Austen’s BBQ makes me feel at home by paying tribute to the stateside cuisine that is as American as it gets. American Barbecue can take many shapes–there’s the greasy spoon, Deep South BBQ, the summertime any-town USA BBQ (complete with American Flags and Bud bottles), the guilty pleasure back-alley Francis Underwood BBQ, and the over-sized mechanical bull-riding Texas BBQ. In America, there’s just a BBQ for everyone. So, it only makes sense why any American can feel back at home at Austen’s.

Exterior of Austen’s BBQ, Kensal Rise

Austen’s can be found in Kensal Rise, an area that has been up-and-coming for some time now, situated in northwest London, that doesn’t show signs of slowing down. Unique eateries, such as Austen’s, are popping up all over the place. The neighborhood, north of Notting Hill and North Kensington has a condensed high street, a family-friendly vibe, and a wallet-friendly housing market. Outside the main city just enough to be affordable, but still accessible by a main tube line, Kensal Rise is a perfect place for growing families and singles alike.

I usually head to Kensal Rise for a change of scenery, visiting Minkies for a coffee, The Shop for a cocktail, or Jivita Ayurveda for a facial (not all at the same time, don’t worry). On one of these trips I discovered Austen’s BBQ. I went just after they first opened and have revisited enough times to fill up my “Yoda Pig” (the Austen’s twitter loyalty card). The reason I keep returning is not just to get my American fix, but the food is really, really good.

Austen’s uses American smokers to slow-cook brisket and pork all day long. They have perfected the fall-off-the-bone ribs, BBQ sauces (that are named after U.S. states!), and comfort sides like macaroni & cheese and (OMG!) the cornbread muffin. Austen’s really is as authentic as it gets here in London. In the states, every single sports bar you visit would have Buffalo Wings on the menu, so to see them here (instead of fish and chips) was just oh so refreshing, yet familiar. Sure, they could stand to be crispier if they were trying for a true U.S. reproduction, but the taste is 100% on point. Their only item that confuses me is the American Cookie for dessert. Can someone please tell me what an American Cookie is? I didn’t know we had our own cookies, but maybe there is an American stereotype I have yet to learn?  Their use of the term “American Cookie” will probably lead a poor English chap to ask for the item the next time he visits the U.S. where he will be looked at like he has 20 heads. I hate when stereotypes are on menus. Especially ones that don’t make sense.

But, I digress. Austen’s is amazing, and a great place to go for a chill night with friends, a weeknight you don’t feel like cooking, or if you’re looking for an excuse to wear your American flannels that you don’t get to break out enough in posh Notting Hill. And it is the most perfect place to be transported back to the sights and smells of your favorite BBQ joint in America. If you’re missing the home you hail from, you can definitely find a piece of it at Austen’s BBQ in Kensal Rise.

No-fuss favorites at Austen’s BBQ, Kensal Rise


Austen’s BBQ
109 Chamberlayne Road
London NW10 3NS

Do! Cereal Killer Cafe

Visiting the Cereal Killer Cafe in Camden is a must-do for that moment homesickness starts to set in. While London is an amazing city, it’s inevitable that you will have moments where you just want your family, friends, a trip to Target, a bagel from your favorite bagel place, or even to see an American license plate. Being homesick is a guaranteed side effect to making such a life-altering change, and throughout my posts, you will learn of many different ways to combat such feelings.

Not only does Cereal Killer Cafe bring you back to the country you hail from, but it manages to bring you way back to your childhood. Nothing was more comforting during a time of homesickness, to feel like I was a 10 year old girl with my favorite cereals, getting ready for Saturday Morning Cartoons.
DunkinDonuts(Memorabilia at Camden’s Cereal Killer Cafe)

We went to the Camden location with a reservation. The reservation books you a “table” to eat, but you still order and receive your food from the front counter, possibly waiting in a very long queue.  You may have an actual table and chairs or you may score a twin-sized bed covered in cartoon sheets as your bench, just like the Power Ranger sheets my brother had in the 90s. Each table is reserved with your name fitted in the sleeve of an old VHS tape. We had an empty Jumanji box which, at that moment, made me the happiest girl ever. Being surrounded by what were my favorite things at one point in my life was cheering me right up.

 (A “Table” at the Cereal Killer Cafe)

Once we found our table we headed to the cereal line. The line was pretty long, but it almost took the entire wait to decide what we were going to order. They have over 100 cereals–American, British, and an assortment from around the globe. They have over 20 types of milk! Dairy, non-dairy, strawberry, chocolate, hazelnut…everything you could imagine. Then, they have an assortment of toppings. I ordered right off of their “Cereal Cocktail” list and opted for the Double Rainbow! Paying tribute to the most hilarious YouTube video of all time, and being a masterpiece of Froot Loops and Fruity Pebbles, topped with Lucky Charms’ marshmallows, it was too enticing to pass up. My husband found his own perfect “cocktail” and then we got to choose Pop-Tarts! S’mores Pop-Tarts were the unhealthy staple of my youth. Everyday off the school bus I would heat one up, eat the boring edges first, then the bottom (separating the sandwich), and then savor the chocolate-covered top. Being handed the warm S’mores Pop-Tart at the Cereal Killer Cafe was like being given a hug from my mother.

Cereal(Cereal Cocktails at Camden’s Cereal Killer Cafe)

Now the service was nothing to write home about. We kept debating on whether or not the staff was on drugs. The speed of service was at an all-time low and confusion at a high, but it didn’t matter. If they were on drugs, you can’t blame them, as it’s probably the best place to work if you have the munchies. And nothing could ruin my natural high. I had the best parts of the greatest cereals of all time in one bowl, my favorite Pop-Tart, and was surrounded by 90s memorabilia that brought me back to a time when things were not scary. A time when my family was in the next room, not over an ocean, and when all of my favorite cereals would be in the cabinet the next morning when I came down for breakfast. That time is obviously over and we all grow up, and moving is a part of life for some people, but it’s nice to know those spots where you can briefly go home.

(Cereal for days at the Cereal Killer Cafe)


Cereal Killer Cafe
Mezz 2
Stables Market
Chalk Farm Road
Camden Town
London NW1 8AH