Smoke & Salt, Pop Brixton

It’s a brave restaurant who steps into Kricket’s shoes let me tell you. I had one of the my best meal’s of 2016 in their Indian-small-plate-serving pop up in a shipping container in Pop Brixton. But then they went and got themselves a proper restaurant in Piccadilly. Sad times.

So who’s in said shipping container now? Two chaps called Aaron and Remi with their small-plate-with-British-ingredients-using-ancient-techniques restaurant Smoke & Salt.

It’s still very much shipping containery but as the weather isn’t too bad we sit on one of the two tables outside. Inside, it’s counter dining facing the wall or a few tables of two with an open kitchen at the end. They take bookings which is a great thing.

Fried yellow plantain (£7), something you don’t see a lot of on menus, is lovely. It comes with chicken hearts skewered on a twig of rosemary below beer-braised onions perfumed with oregano. It’s a combination of flavours most marvellous.

Heritage tomatoes (£5) are soft and sweet – you couldn’t get more of a taste of summer. I love burrata/mozzarella as much as you do but here, the tommies come with smoked ricotta which is a refreshing and altogether brilliant alternative to the expected.

Cured trout (£9), from Chalkstream Farm, is a gorgeous looking thing. The jalapeño salsa is fierce and fiery; perfect for the fatty fish. Trombetta courgettes (£6) have a decent blend of soggy innards and firm skin which is moreish. A seed and walnut crumble adds yet more texture.

Miso and honey glazed lamb belly (£10) is my fave dish. The belly on its own? Corr, far too fatty for anyone to really enjoy. Put it with the English pea tartare and pickled gooseberry dressing however and it’s the most well balanced thing I’ve eaten all year. Such clever cooking.

Boneless chicken leg (£9) is sous vide then finished off on the grill. The result is ridiculously moist flesh and a skin so crisp it needs a steak knife. Grated carrot cuts through the fat like a good’en.

Crispy new potatoes (£7) are just that. Find me crisper potatoes in London and I’ll give you a fiver. They are draped in beef heart (optional) which is drenched in gorgonzola sauce. Incredible.

Dessert, just one, is Harvest Pudding (£5); a bowl of grilled Amarillo peaches, English strawberries and a sweet corn mousse. As with the dishes before it, a clever, clever blend of flavours and textures.

We ate nearly the entire menu and there wasn’t one dud. Not one. The guys are really sweet too which always helps. Kricket went from shipping container to restaurant – I look forward to hearing the same for Smoke & Salt.

Would we go back? Yes.
We dined as guests of the restaurant