This gastropub smokes the competition (get it?)
Smokehouse is a joint venture between the excellent Neil Rankin (Pitt Cue, John Salt) and the equally excellent Noble Inns. It’s a BBQ influenced gastropub that ticks all the right boxes.
Jack2, as he’s affectionately known and I were due to have a good catch up so I suggested we check out Smokehouse, which opened a couple of months ago in mid-August. The mix of good beer and a BBQ influenced menu is something neither of us can turn down. We had a quick drink at Taproom, which I’m a big fan of and coincidentally had a massive hog roast going in the garden that night! The chef let us have a little sample, which was delicious but we didn’t dare have a pre-starter…
We took some back roads to Smokehouse and spotted a plume of smoke coming from the kitchen, which got our mouths watering. There’s a decent bar as you enter with a few tables around then a more dedicated dining area as you head towards the open kitchen. We were shown to a small table in the dining section and were handed a couple of menus.
My eyes are a bit dodgy at the best of times but in a candle lit room I’ve got no chance of being able to read a menu without my glasses. Antonia’s usually there to read it to me, but I didn’t want to put Jack2 through that ordeal! We ordered a couple of Kernels from the huuuuge beer menu, which came as 2/3 of a pint for £3.70. A lovely IPA. Our superb Canadian waitress (who turned out to be the assistant manager) then came over and asked how we were getting on the menu. “Badly” I said as I had no idea what was on it. Her reaction was fantastic as she picked out a few dishes from each section of the menu, explained them in detail and made some recommendations.
I went for the Foie gras, apple pie & duck egg (£10), which had apparently been getting a lot of good reviews but I wasn’t blown away by it. It was a very balanced dish, with silky, rich textures and flavours but I prefer dishes to kick me in the face, which is exactly what Jack2‘s Chopped brisket roll with gochujang (£5.50) did for half the price. Tender, juicy brisket smoked for about 14hrs, wrapped in kimchi and deep-fried with a spicy, intense gochujang mayo. Stunning dish.
On to the main course Jack2 ordered the Peppered ox-cheek with cauliflower cheese & gravy (£14.50), which he had his heart set on before we even got here and I had the Shortrib bourguignon (£16.00). Both dishes were delicious with beautifully cooked meat, rich mash and intense sauces. We also had a side of Korean Pulled Pork (£5.50), which is hands down the best pulled pork I’ve ever had. The addition of chilli, slices of spring onion, and crispy pieces of skin took it to a whole new level and we ordered a second portion before we’d even finished the first.
Neither of us fancied a sweet dessert so we had the Cheese board (£7.00) – Fourme D’Ambert, Westcombe and Ragstone with a glass of Woodhouse Ruby Port each (£3). We thought about ordering a board each but were advised by our waitress that one would be enough, and she was right.
We settled the bill, which we both thought was great value and were about to head back to Taproom to finish the evening before realising that we couldn’t quite bring ourselves to leave Smokehouse so we took a couple of seats at the bar and asked for some whisky recommendations as well as a third portion of that epic pulled pork. We were told the kitchen had closed as it was now past 22:00 but we had a quick word with our favourite waitress and she hooked us up.
We wanted to try some interesting, different whisky so went for the Miyagikuo 10 (£8) from Japan and a Mackmyra Bruks (£6) from Sweden. “Wait… Whisky from Sweden? Surely that’s just going to taste like Kopparberg… but 40%?” Yeah, pretty much! It did have a nice hint of smoke running through it but it wasn’t my kind of whisky.
We sampled a few others, recommended by the knowledgeable bar staff before hitting the road wondering whether it was ok to come back in the morning for their great value Saturday brunch.
Smokehouse was everything I hoped it would be and more with several standout dishes and a warm, cosy atmosphere. Pubs like this are one of my favourite places to spend any evening.
As with all Noble Inns pubs, Smokehouse sources all their produce responsibly and as locally as possible with fish delivered daily from Cornish markets, the beef from Abbotts Close Farm, Thirsk & Shorthorn from A.J. Ingram in Speyside, fruit and veg from Keveral Farm, Cornwall & Natoora and they cook, roast, grill, barbeque and smoke using sustainably sourced English oak.
Great food, great value, great pub.
|Korean Pulled Pork x 2||£5.50 each|
|Kernel 2/3 x 2||£3.70 each|
|Longhammer 2/3 x 2||£4.00 each|
|Woodhouse Ruby Port x 2||£3.00 each|
|Miyagikuo 10 x 3||£8.00 each|
|Mackmyra Bruks (Sweden)||£6.00|
|Millstone Peated (Holland)||£8.00|
|Nikka White Label (Japan)||£7.50|
63-69 Canonbury Rd,
London N1 2DG