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Dive downstairs at diminutive City Scandi smokehouse Rök and you’ll discover Below The Smoke: a weeny bar set in an austere cellar. The place contains just a counter, a butcher’s block, some tables and a recess with leather cushions for casual lounging. Its focus is on progressive cocktails that invariably involve a recherché ingredient that has been pickled, smoked or brined. Consultant mixologist, Matt Whiley (aka The Talented Mr Fox), is behind the drinks menu; seasonal sips include summer’s Orchard Monster (Miclo Poire William eau de vie, Compass Box’s Peat Monster whisky, dandelion honey and pickled Chartreuse). If that’s not out-there enough for you, try the whisky fix that introduces sour cherry liqueur and plum vermouth to a distilled broth made from duck bones. This curious Shoreditch cubbyhole can also provide snacks of ’nduja Scotch quail’s egg with Dijonnaise, or cured mackerel, pickled shallots and crème fraîche on Swedish knäckebröd.
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