On a quiet, residential corner of a street in Islington is the home to Smokehouse. The name of the restaurant is really quite fitting for it as you can see the smoke rising from the restaurant as you walk towards it. The smoke house is attached to the back of the restaurant and most of the meat is cooked on it for hours. There is always some signage on the blackboard that will let you know that you have arrived…
We have visited Smokehouse two times so far – once for dinner, once for brunch. Both times we got reservations. Both times we were greeted with a smile, but have to be careful where you get seated because it could get really hot and your clothes smelling a little charred, if you are too close to the kitchen. We’ll share our first food encounter with you, as you know what they say… first impressions are made within 7 seconds!
He says: Interesting take on a BBQ joint in London. To be honest I didn’t imagine that there would be space for a smokehouse in London but I guess it is sometimes called the “Big Smoke” so it’s fitting. It is also good to venture out from the status quo from time to time. Gone here are the notions that a BBQ joint must be all about ribs and wings. The standard dish portion sizes are decent, not big but just enough for a meal. Dishes here are meant to be eaten with utensils rather than your hands. This is a classy BBQ restaurant. The team behind Smokehouse made sure that their name is captured in the meat, the meats are smoked really well and the pairing with the different kind of beers makes it the prime environment for a nice meal.
She says: The credentials behind Smokehouse will make you want to check this place out. This latest establishment is run by the same group that are behind some of my favourite gastropubs in London – The Princess of Shoreditch, Lady Ottoline and The Pig & Butcher. Their ‘shop small’ philosophy is about sourcing the best produce from local, family owned businesses. But the main drawcard is Chef Neil Rankin, former Pitt Cue Co and John Salt chef who has made a name for himself in barbecue and known for his unique mashup of flavours that often venture from France to Seoul-town.
He says: The shortrib bourguigon dish is their signature dish. Slow cooked smokey shortrib on top of mashed potatoes. Topped with crispy onions and a bit of sauce and mushrooms. We think if you love beef bourguigon you will probably be disappointed because there is not a lot of sauce compared to the classic (which is a stew). Still amazing nonetheless.
As a special on the day in September was the 1.5kg beef shin. This was a sight for the eyes (shared between two guys!) and a feast for the belly. We couldn’t finish all of the meat, we had to take some home which still tasted great the next day.
She says: For dessert we ordered two to share. The Friday pie was a rich and intense chocolate tart, we were glad that we shared it. The Krun Chee Nut with ice-cream sat on top of a pannacotta wrapped in a golden basket was the winner – so deliciously amazeballs with just the right amount of sweetness. We both were scooping the last bits off the plate! If ice-cream wasn’t so indulgent for breakfast, I can imagine creating a ‘home made’ version of this with cornflakes and nuts! It’s actually how the Japanese serve their icecream in Tokyo!
Verdict: Smokehouse is an ideal restaurant for a date, double date or small group meal. Our visit here for brunch was good too… they made a ‘T’ shape table formation for the 16 of us. Although must say the food quality was much better at dinner, with a more extensive menu. For dinner, candle lights and a warm interior make it a relaxing environment to talk and catch up. The food is a win for both guys and gals and beer drinkers will enjoy the extensive range on offer. While those who love a nice refreshing cider might like to try the ‘Apples and pears’. Or perhaps have a glass or two with your smoky meat. There’s something for everyone. It’s a good thing that Angel station is a decent stroll away, so you can walk off your delicious dinner plate!