As with many of London’s most popular restaurants, Smokstak started out life as a street food stand. Owner David Carter grew up in Barbados, where his early life centred around open-fire cooking and a passion for food. Fast forward through stages with Gordon Ramsay Group, Claridge’s and Roka, Carter then set off on a pilgrimage around the deep south of America. It was following this escapade that he opened his first Smokestak stall in London. After successful sites at Dinerama and Hawker House he finally opened this bricks and mortar site in 2016.
Industrial-style interiors come in the form of robustly thick wooden tables and bench seating as well as concrete walls, huge windows, and counter stools centred around the kitchen. Here you can watch the chefs at work as they wield their barbecue prowess to produce sharing plates of perfectly charred, smoked meats and sides.
Starters include salty, crunch crispy ox cheek parcels with an anchovy mayo, as well as sweet and spicy gochujang wings. Vegetarians are also catered for with a wonderfully earthy beetroot dish where the salt-baked beets are topped with goats’ cheese and toasted hazelnuts.
Mains bring the house signature buns – both pulled pork with a green chilli slaw and a brisket filling topped with pickled red chillies – as well as larger plates. If you’re feeling really ambitious there’s a whole beef brisket for the table on offer, which will set you back £150, but also probably feed you for a week (boxed up leftovers are a go-er here).
Sweet-toother diners will want to save space for the infamous sticky toffee pudding with a clotted cream gelato.
To round off your meal, a short but confident drinks list ticks off expertly made cocktails as well as a handful of beer, spirits, and wine choices. Designated drivers and abstainers are also covered with the house lemonade, made from fresh fruit and still water for a crisp and refreshing foil to the rich food menu.