Thursday, 5 December 2013


Meaty heaven

The London dining scene is growing at a rapid level, and one of the hottest trends has to be pub food, no longer the British associate pub food as boring and dull. Some pubs really have taken food to the next level such as The Hands & Flowers and The Harwood Arms, reaching Michelin status and becoming a food destination. I was keen to see what Smokehouse has on offer after seeing some very positive reviews from the media. Smokehouse in Islington is not your average local pub and is one of the most talked about openings this year thanks to its unique concept: serving BBQ dishes in a refined and delicate manner along with selections of British craft beer, what is not to love? 

We skipped starters and went straight to the mains, as judging from other blogger's posts on the dishes, the portions are proper "pub level" and I was sure I would struggle to get home if I had all three courses! I went for the short rib bourguignon for my main and what a delight it was. The rib had real depth of flavours, robust and powerful with lovely tender textures. Lovely meat jus as well, it was meaty and rich but not overly thick which isn't easy to pull off, what a fine plate it was. The side dish lamb stovies paid tribute to good old British flavours, the potato and vegetable absorbed all the lovely meaty flavours from the long cooking process, it tasted wonderful with a bottle of heavily hopped IPA.

Shortrib bourguignon
Lamb stovies

The other main, mutton chops also delivered a powerful taste. The seasoning was spot on whilst the caponata provided some wonderful mediterranean flavours. Garnish of anchovies was excellently cooked and gave the dish an extra layer of silky texture. Side dish of Korean pulled pork was a real treat using classic Korean flavours, the meat was moist and had a lovely kick of kimchi and spicy tastes, a very clever way of using Far East elements to create something contemporary and yet original.

Mutton chops, caponata with 'nduja migas,
anchovies & parsley
Korean pulled pork

However the desserts weren't as good as I was hoping for, Friday pie was pretty much your bog standard chocolate pie with a decent ice cream on the side. Krun chee nut's sugar work was far too sticky and thick, so bad that it stuck between my tooth which was a real shame as the rest of the elements on the plate was of a solid level.

Friday pie
Krun chee nut

Apart from the dessert, I found the food at smokehouse was truly outstanding. This was one of the nicest meals I have had at a pub and it is easy to understand why it has already become a bit of a foodie spot within such a short space of opening. For a pub, the meat dishes' quality is second to none and can rival any top restaurant in London. Nothing too fancy, just good use of ingredients and top notch execution. If you are a real meat and beer lover, you know what you need to do.

Food 5.5
Service 6
Ambience 5
Value 6

£36 per head with a beer

63-69 Canonbury Rd, London N1 2DG

Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

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