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A Taste of America in Malta

A Taste of America in Malta

We make our way to Henry J Beans, a fun-packed all-American bar and grill offering a casual dining experience in a relaxed atmosphere

It’s Sabato. I usually spend half the morning sipping green tea in bed, nibbling on biscuits and getting crumbs all over the place. I’m contemplating hitting the shops… when my mobile beeps.

‘Meet for lunch in an hour?’ It’s Amy, and lunch in an hour sounds far more fun than chaos and queues. But where to eat when in need of some weekend sustenance?

The quest for the perfect eatery continued until we found ourselves at one of those places that everyone seems to know and love. Wait for it… Henry J Beans (but let’s just call him Hank), the funky American bar and grill in the heart of St Julian’s. In fact, this space was actually a family favourite when I was younger. I tend to remember drinking diet coke and stuffing my face with BBQ ribs. In the intervening years, not much has changed except maybe the diet coke. Let’s swap that with a Moscow Mule.

In an equally large and impressive location overlooking St George’s Bay, this place offers anything American that comes to mind. With cosy booths down the sides, wooden high tables and stools and memorabilia everywhere such as retro coca cola and beer signs, it really is a throwback to the 1950’s.

There’s a large terrace outside if the weather’s good, and guess what? The sun was bright, the sun was shining, so we couldn’t help but opt for a table outdoors.

Space comes at a premium in Malta so any restaurant that encourages you to get a little bit of air in your lungs is a plus in my books.
Once terrace-seated, we chose a couple of cocktails from the extensive menu while deciding what to eat. We set our eyes on the neighbouring table’s HJB combo platter, and even though its size scared us a little, we took the plunge, accepted the challenge and devoured this American party from start to finish.

The voodoo chicken wings were tangy and delicious (Hank does not play when it comes to chicken wings), the chicken pieces tender but crunchy and the extra large onion rings were extra crispy. Garlic bread and tortilla chips were thrown in for good measure because what’s a combo platter without tortilla chips and garlic bread? Not a combo platter.

It’s time for the main course and I decided to go for Hank’s classic, the Rackin’ Ribs smothered in Hank’s secret BBQ sauce. I’ve had them a couple of years back so I had high hopes, and what can I say, these ribs lived up to them: flavoursome, juicy and tender to the teeth.

Amy opted for the lamb kofta burger, another highlight on the menu and one that we’d consider writing a song about. And I say ‘we’ because sharing is caring. What we loved about it is the tanginess from the creamy yogurt that helped balance the rich lamb flavour. Simply superb.

Whilst the menu is predominated by meaty options, it’s truly massive with many more options to choose from. There’s even a section for the plant-based eaters, and in fact, one of our vegetable friends went for the vegan burger with extra mushroom and vegan cheese. This plant-based option, though a complete contrast from my order, was (almost) as impressive.

After lunch, unable to move, to still wanting to satisfy our sweet tooth, we got our hands on Hank’s special salted caramel tiramisu to share.
The lesson here: do not eat for at least four hours (more if you can manage it – I can’t) before stepping foot inside Henry J Beans because there’s no way you’re getting out of here anything other than food-baby full.

Side note: If this is too much food for you, or if you’re counting calories and have enough will power (which we certainly did not), they also serve salads. The American Chef’s salad is served with bacon, mushrooms, chicken breast and Applewood cheese. Good(ish) on the diet and still totally satisfying.

Most places either feel like bars (where you can also maybe eat) or restaurants (where you can also maybe drink). Hanks, is that rare, perfect middle ground. So whether you’re after an evening of overindulging with family, watching the game on the big screen or simply there for their Happy Hour (and a half), this trendy American bar and grill goes the whole hog.
There are lots of ways to do Hanks, but the greater point we’re trying to make is: just go. Like, now. Or tomorrow at the very latest… you’ve got from noon till midnight.

Oh, and in case you require any more motivation to pay our friend Hank a visit, dining here at any time of the day entitles you to a free parking ticket!

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