It’s hard not to gush about SMOKESTAK. Owner David Carter is a bloomin’ nice bloke and the things he and the team do to meat is something out of this world. We went when it first opened and fell in love, so we thought we’d return 10 months on to see how they’re doing.
The place is always packed, so booking is advised. We’re seated at the counter overlooking the kitchen atop stools which aren’t the most comfy. Everything is black, and the windows are foggy; it feels like we’re in the apocalypse, a very trendy apocalypse.
So, let the gushing begin. Crispy pig tails (£4.50) are the fattiest thing I’ve ever shoved in my gob. Covered in a sticky, sweet sauce – if you like animal fat, these are for you.
Crispy ox cheek (£5.50) has a flavour so deep and comforting they may as well hug you. Brisket buns – I’d get one each if I were you (£5.50) – are on the very top of the greasy spectrum. My mouth is watering just typing. Pickled red chilli are enjoyably tangy and not that fiery. Perfect with the rich meat.
Thick cut pork rib (£9.50) is the only thing we can’t quite finish. As you’d expect, the meat is outstanding. I can confirm it tastes just as good fridge-cold the following day.
30-day dry aged beef rib (£16.50) isn’t for the faint hearted – the meat is seriously strong in flavour but so soft and delicate. Even the usually more gristly bits just melt in my mouth. More of those lovely pickled red chillis too.
The sides are as good as the meat here. A jacket potato (£5.50) has a skin so crisp you’ll want a steak knife. It’s then filled with smoked rarebit – basically a cheesy, creamy mashed potato which is quite marvellous. Charred broccoli (£6) lives up to its name; the ends of the stalks are black. The addition of creamy tahini and pomegranate freshens it all.
We’re now stuffed but I insist on ordering the sticky toffee pudding (£6.50). It’s rich and decadent, sure, but the sponge is so light. It’s surrounded by a lake of toffee sauce while the vanilla ice cream melts into it all. A must order.
If you’re a meat lover then SMOKESTAK really is one for the top of your list. The food is exciting and adventurous, the surroundings are certainly unique and it’s all served with a smile.
Would we go back? Yes