Ever since my first Smokestak at Hawker House back in May I have been eagerly awaiting their first restaurant opening. Finally last night that evening came and it was better than I could have ever hoped. Melt in your mouth beef, crispy pigtails and sweet pickled chillies to name just a few, this is without a doubt going to become a regular haunt of mine.
The menu was far more extensive than I ever imagined it to be and thanks to our waiter’s help and recommendations we ordered the Crispy Ox Cheek and Pigtails to start. The Ox cheeks were little cubed croquettes succulent and moist in the middle and accompanied with a flavoured mayo, potentially paprika. The best way to describe the Pigtails would be as just cooked and still warm crackling. Crunchy and sweet with a softer texture closer to the bone. Pastrami, sour cabbage and pickles completed our starters and provided a salty dish for the palate.
Next up came Smokestak’s signature and undeniably the best Beef Brisket Bun I’ve had to date. Famous for the way they cook their USDA brisket low and slow for up to 16 hours the meat is unbelievably tender with a perfect amount of rich smokiness coming through. Served in a fresh brioche bun, smeared with onion relish and topped with pickled red chillies this is no different to what you would find at their Street Feast stall across the city. Why change something when it works right? Smokestak’s grillmaster David Carter travelled the US (apparently 4000 miles!) to learn as much as he could about smoking and cooking meat in this way with great quality ingredients key to its success.
For mains we shared the Beef Rib, Pork Rib and Beef Brisket between the table. All of the meat has a rich smoky flavour and crisped edge, but with a fleshy centre so tender it falls off the bone. The Brisket is served with a tangy bbq sauce which comes on the side with some chillies, whilst the Pork Rib is glazed in a sweeter sauce and chargrilled bbq style accompanied by pickled cucumber. The Rib was my favourite out of these three dishes; thick, juicy, lean and down right delicious!
The restaurant itself has an industrial feel; dark with high ceilings, wooden tables and bright bulb lighting. The smoking ovens are on show championing their pivotal role to the delicious meal you’ll have and all tables are positioned around the kitchen which is in the middle of the restaurant greeting you as you walk in. Staff were super friendly and considering this was the opening night service was on top form. One word of warning you will come out of here smelling like you’ve been to bonfire night, a very small price to pay for such a great meal and evening!
Smokestak, 35 Slater Street, London E1 6LB
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