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The team behind Smokehouse already run The Princess of Shoreditch and The Lady Ottoline, so it’s no surprise that this new Islington gastropub maintains their high standards. Located in a roomy
semi-circular space, with a typically shabby-chic, wood-heavy look, it sports a whopping 75 beers (20 of them on tap) and a menu of carnivorous delights – courtesy of Neil Rankin (ex-Pitt Cue Co).
Peppered ox cheek with cauliflower cheese and gravy is winningly sticky, while juicy mutton chops with caponata and crumbled ’nduja sausage have also impressed. Starters could feature brisket rolls
perked up with spicy Korean gochujang sauce, while quirkily named puds such as the chocolate and honeycomb ‘Friday pie’ (a spin on ‘thank Crunchie it’s Friday’) seal the deal. The lovely outdoor
terrace tempts on sunny weekends, when shorter brunch menus also come into play.
Neil Rankin was the Scottish chef in the baseball cap on the latest Great British Menu who made bold statements about fine dining being dead, and it now being all about big hearty cooking. I’m certainly with him on this, and I’d happily swap any molecular gastronomy for a good slab of meat any day of the week. But sadly for him, the judges, or rather creepy Jeremy Lee, didn’t buy it. His indoor BBQ heart-on-the-sleeve style of cooking was thrown to the kerb and so he’s back in the kitchen at Smokehouse...
More from The Hungry Porker »
I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that the big draw of Smokehouse is Neil Rankin of Pitt Cue Co and John Salt fame. He is a maestro of barbecuing and smoking things and here that is what you get in abundance.There was five of us but we all pretty much ordered the same things as they sounded so good. About half of us had decided to try the ham hock, pig's head and cuttlefish romescu 'sphere' until we were told by the waiter that they were out of that. It was fairly easy to decide to have the short rib bourguignon instead though, especially as we kept seeing them come out of the pass and they looked very good indeed.To start I had the chopped brisket roll with gojuchang, an immense croquette of chunky meat. At first I was disappointed that it was a bit dry but as I worked my way through it, the meat and fattiness of the brisket came through, providing some juiciness, and of course there was the spicy gojuchang to smear on it. I'm not saying there wasn't enough of this vibrant orange sauce, but I am saying I wish there had been more.Those of us who didn't have the brisket roll had the chicken liver, toast and duck hearts. I didn't try it but I was told it was 'lovely' - that the chicken had a prominent, almost sharp flavour and that the duck hearts rounded it out. There was uncertainty about the sauce that came on it, which was a cheese sauce** and that they thought clashed with the other flavours. On to the mains - ticking into my bourgignon and I all but forgot about the existence of the 'sphere'. I'm not a mushroom fan, but these were easily scooped out of the light broth that the meat came in. The meat was a star, a rightful contender to our favourite 'cue joints - BBQWhiskeyBeer and Pitt Cue. I loved the addition of pancetta and crispy onion strips as well. We didn't realise that this dish came with mashed potato, which made me feel a bit of a pogger as I also added a couple of roasted potatoes to my plate. Again, we were a two-dish table - those that didn't have the shortrib had the peppered ox cheek which came with cauliflower cheese. No real complaints there - the ox cheek was tender with a good smokey flavour but apparently some of the cauliflower could have done with a few more minutes to soften up. It wasn't exactly a special occasion but the Smokehouse isn't a cheap place and so we doubted we'd be back for a while - we decided to make the most of it and get the Korean pulled pork as a side. What a dish. Between five of us, we basically had one mouthful which wasn't nearly enough, though the kimchi was potent enough for that one bite to knock your head off a bit. My favourite pulled pork specimen by far.After all this we were easily full but I had seen a lot of love for the sticky toffee apple cobbler on reviews and knew I wanted to give that a try. Only, upon hearing what Vanilla Vanilla Vanilla consisted of, my convictions were swayed. Luckily Stephen had the apple dish so I was still able to try it, and it did trump my Triple V, although that was also very good. It was a bit like a tres leches - vanilla sponge soaked with vanilla liqueur with vanilla fudge and vanilla ice cream (really should be a Quadruple V). It was basically cake and ice cream for grown ups.The cobbler though - sweet dense pudding, many, many more stewed apples than expected, and a light toffee sauce, with ice cream to top it off? Heavenly.And we all rather enjoyed our character of a waiter who clearly had a little more than his fair share of the gift of the gab. It all made for a hugely enjoyable meal. What more can I say? Believe the hype. **I have been reliably informed (by Neil Rankin himself no less) that it was not a cheese sauce but Thai mayo which makes more sense.
More from Gingle lists everything »
he Smokehouse in Islington is the latest venture by the king of BBQ, Chef Neil Rankin, previously of the critically acclaimed John Salt and Pitt & Cue. My last visit to John Salt proved to be a dazzling affair with the meal showcasing dishes that were not only delicious, but which demonstrated great skill and originality. Also particularly inspiring were the Korean influences incorporated into some of his creations.The Smokehouse opened in August 2013 and has similarly been well received. The Smokehouse is backed by the same group that runs The Pig and Butcher, Princess of Shoreditch and The Lady Ottoline, and so it should come as no surprise that it has a lovely gastropub feel to it. The lighting is intimate, the tables are cozily positioned and the ambience is warm and relaxed. There’s also a generous area devoted to outdoor seating, which would come in handy on those days when the sun shines bright...
More from A Girl Has to Eat - Restaurant Reviews & Food Guide »
As boozers go, this is a diamond of a find. It’s no surprise that the food at Smokehouse is leagues ahead of your usual pub grub, considering the breadth of experience of its head chef Neil Rankin. Making London tummies happy is a talent that Rankin has honed across the kitchens of Pitt Cue Co, John Salt, and Rhodes 24 to name a few.Now his expertise finds its home in a snug corner of Islington, where out of his kitchen come such delights as just-cooked egg yolk on apple pie with a generous serving of seared foie gras. Duck egg makes a second appearance under a seasonal heaping of parmesan, artichoke and purposefully burnt leeks which chomp together with good harmony of flavours. Following this, a salty-chewy slab of sourdough, textured with a landscape of lobster bisque and crab...
More from Wrap Your Lips Around This »
I'm in two minds about the Smokehouse; I really did enjoy my food but eating it was a bit of an ordeal. I love an open kitchen, probably more than most, but for the love of god do not sit a table next to the pass.I spent most of the short time we were sat down with sweat dripping down the right side of my head. On top of that was the vague sense of violation as waiting staff, their presence felt if not seen, hovered behind me...
More from how not to do a food blog... »
To mark the return of my number one homme, a serious lunch was in order. When it comes to lunching, we are competitive professionals of the field; it’s the only team sport at which we’ve ever truly excelled. And so to The Smokehouse, relative newbie within walking distance of our abode. It’s run by the same crew as local-ish gastropub, The Pig and Butcher whose mission statement is quality and awesomeness incarnate so we had an inkling it would be good. It was a pleasure to see key P&B players had been transferred across to The Smokehouse to keep things on top form - this place isn’t just good, it’s ridiculous, in the best possible way. But don’t just take my word for it, have a look for yourselves...
More from Lady Aga »
On a quiet, residential corner of a street in Islington is the home to Smokehouse. The name of the restaurant is really quite fitting for it as you can see the smoke rising from the restaurant as you walk towards it. The smoke house is attached to the back of the restaurant and most of the meat is cooked on it for hours. There is always some signage on the blackboard that will let you know that you have arrived…
More from love2feed »
The Smokehouse is a gastropub run the Chef Neil Rankin who has been at Pitt Cue Co. and John Salt.As the name suggest the place evolves the use of smoke and fire in cooking their meals. But today its Sunday, they offer something like a ritual in the UK dining habits, the Sunday Roast.With an open kitchen and blackboard stating where the ingredients have come from and a very unique menu the has the flavours as far as the Far East got me hungry...
More from Munch My Way »
Unlike other gastropubs which are restaurants in all but name, Smokehouse has a full bar and space for drinking – most notably the attractive and genteel beer garden decorated in fairy lights. The drinking space will shrink in winter though once the weather precludes outdoor drinking for all but the most hardy. The dining area is decorated in a spartan manner reminiscent of Pig and Butcher – there’s even a row of what I think are deer skulls along one wall...
More from The Picky Glutton »
I am really going to miss those lovely summer evenings, rare as they are, when you can sit outside until after darkness falls, enjoying good food, good wine and great company. The Smokehouse has now intensified that longing, although thankfully the al fresco tables aren’t even close to the being best thing about this Islington newcomer.Sitting at the junction of the fairly busy Canonbury Road, Smokehouse has recently opened to the delight of both beer lovers and those with a passion for superbly cooked meats. With what seems like hundreds of beers on offer, this will become a destination drinking den, but the menu should not for a second be overlooked. Dominated by meaty cuts with a mixture of innovative and unusual traditional dishes, the menu is appealing in its entirety; so much so, that to get the best of what was on offer, we opted for a handful of starters and sides, avoiding the heavier mains that would have threatened to fill us too quickly...
More from Agent Restauranteur »
I had heard lots of great things about this, before I actually found out where it was. And when I did, I was a little surprised. I had imagined that it was going to be in the more gritty, happening part of Islington.I used to know its predecessor very well. It was at the end of a road I used to live on. But I didn’t go there very often, because it was noisy and it didn’t really seem to be aimed at people of my age. That hasn’t changed. But that’s fine. I will endure generational dislocation for food...
More from The Food Judge »
I had heard lots of great things about this, before I actually found out where it was. And when I did, I was a little surprised. I had imagined that it was going to be in the more gritty, happening part of Islington.I used to know its predecessor very well. It was at the end of a road I used to live on. But I didn’t go there very often, because it was noisy and it didn’t really seem to be aimed at people of my age. That hasn’t changed. But that’s fine. I will endure generational dislocation for food.A frisson of irritation on being called to confirm the booking and told that we could only have the table for a limited period. They hadn’t mentioned that previously...
More from Saying it straight »
I first tasted Neil Rankin’s food during his residency at John Salt in Islington and it was easy to fall in love with. He’s since opened up nearby Smokehouse which, as you might imagine from someone who used to be the head chef at Pitt Cue Co, specialises in roasting, grilling, smoking and barbecuing. The six of us thought it would be the perfect place to quash our New Years Day hangovers and it did so perfectly.The outside looked more like a house than a pub or restaurant. Inside was a very relaxed affair; dimly lit with candles flickering away on each table. We were seated by the semi open kitchen and we felt comfortable as soon as we plonked ourselves down...
More from Samphire and Salsify »
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