Smokehouse – London N1
September 19, 2013 § Leave a comment
A grown up gastropub, with a charcoal smoker & a meaty menu: very on trend and not to be missed.
I am really going to miss those lovely summer evenings, rare as they are, when you can sit outside until after darkness falls, enjoying good food, good wine and great company. The Smokehouse has now intensified that longing, although thankfully the al fresco tables aren’t even close to the being best thing about this Islington newcomer.
Sitting at the junction of the fairly busy Canonbury Road, Smokehouse has recently opened to the delight of both beer lovers and those with a passion for superbly cooked meats. With what seems like hundreds of beers on offer, this will become a destination drinking den, but the menu should not for a second be overlooked. Dominated by meaty cuts with a mixture of innovative and unusual traditional dishes, the menu is appealing in its entirety; so much so, that to get the best of what was on offer, we opted for a handful of starters and sides, avoiding the heavier mains that would have threatened to fill us too quickly.
A pot of ‘Duck confit with fourme d’ambert toast’ (£7.5) consisted of deeply flavoursome chunks of duck, which we piled onto our slices of toast and devoured. The ‘Smoked mullet, sea purslane & roast onions‘ (£6) was light and tasty and probably delightful, but simply overshadowed by the more powerful dishes that we ate alongside it (very much our fault for ordering in such a bizarre manner).
Unsurpringly I fell in love with the Scottish inspired side dish of ‘Lamb stovies‘ (£4) – a mix of slow cooked lamb with softer than soft potatoes, mixed and mashed into a lump of overwhelmingly naughty goodness. Perhaps in hindsight a tad too salty, but having cleared the bowl entirely I feel a bit hypocritical giving it any criticism at all.
The ‘Foie gras, apple pie & duck egg‘ (£10) was the most bizarre, most interesting and most enjoyed dish of the evening: the sweet apple pie was tart, tempered by the richness of duck egg yolk and soft, smooth foie gras livers. This is certainly not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but if you’re tempted I would certainly order one to share.
Last to arrive was the ‘Chopped brisket roll with gochujang’ (£5.5) (apologies for my camera not dealing well with the fading light). Arriving looking like an enormous croquet, I excitedly broke the perfectly crisp, breaded outer coating to reveal chunks of flavoursome beef within. I can now see why it was the first dish our waiter wanted to tell us about. I strongly suggest giving it a try.
There is so much happening in London at the moment, with a significant new restaurant opening almost every day this month. Islington is home to several newbies, Le Coq (Read Full Review), Prawn on the Lawn, The Fish & Chip Shop and La Farola, to name just a few, and Smokehouse is not only a very welcome addition, but one that should shoot to the top of your to do list. Whet your appetite with a beer at the bar and dive into the menu. It’s sure to delight you.