Smokestak is the restaurant opening I’ve been most looking forward to this year and that’s for a good reason – their pork ribs and brisket buns, which I’ve inhaled at various street food markets and festivals, are the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten in my 28 years on this planet.
This, their first restaurant, just down the road from Boxpark in Shoreditch, is a seriously cool spot. There’s no sign on the door (you’ll know you’re in the right place from the smell) and the foggy old London windows don’t give much away.
Inside it’s all dark wood and cramped tables – you’ll be familiar with your neighbours by the end of the night. The seats are wooden and garden-furniture-esque – I’ve seen no other restaurant quite like it.
I know I say this a lot (testament to the amount of great restaurants currently in London) but the menu makes you want to order the lot. Crispy pig tails (Â£4.50), brisket bun (Â£5), cured pig jowl (Â£5) and girolles on beef dripping toast (Â£7.50) – all insanely good. They’d run out of crackling though.
Larger dishes are also a triumph. Beef rib (Â£14.50) is rich and fatty but not greasy. Beef brisket (Â£8), this time without a bun, is worth eating on its own. And those thick cut pork ribs (Â£9.50), my God those ribs; marvellous in every possible way. Sweet, salt, sugar, fat – this ain’t diet food but it’s really rather special.
A jacket potato with sour cream and chive (Â£5) is so much more exciting than its description. It’s giant for a start and the skin is so crisp and chewy, like the corners of a roast potato. Grilled baby gem (Â£5) is the only thing we order which cuts through the fatty meat – thoroughly advised.
After all that food the last thing you’d expect to manage is a sticky toffee pudding (Â£6.50) but it’s so light. Don’t get me wrong, this is hardly Slimming World approved either but you’ll regret sharing one if you do.
If you couldn’t tell, I REALLY liked Smokestak. There’s something about it which just exudes coolness from every orifice. Even the urinal is cool – make sure to check it out. This restaurant is very, very good.
Would we go back? Yes.
We dined as guests of the restaurant