I must admit that when it comes to eating out, I’m a pretty lucky girl.
I live in the most exciting city in the world in terms of food, in one of the best neighbourhood as far as small, independent restaurants are concerned, and with the best restaurant buddy I could have hoped for. (#blessed, exactly)
I am more than willing to admit than London in general and Islington in particular have spoiled me, and possibly have ruined me for any other restaurant out there.
But then when there’s a gem like The Smokehouse less than 5 min. away from mine, can you really blame me?
The Smokehouse opened its doors in August 2013 to much critical acclaim. Evening Standard’s Fay Maschler and Grace Dent, Guardian’s Marina O’Loughtin… They all love it.
And with good reason. The Smokehouse is an absolute neighbourhood gem.
Complete with wooden tables, blue-and-white old-fashioned tea towels for napkins and just the right dose of blackboards and hunting trophies.
Rustic-chic at its very best.
You can either book ahead, or grab a seat (and a few nibbles) at the bar while you wait for a table.
And if they happen to serve Bloody Marys on the day you visit, make sure you get one of those as well.
They come with a bit of a twist (pickle juice on my last visit, chicken roast distillate another time we went…) and are the best I’ve ever tried.
The menu is of the short variety.
Which is just as well as we can never decide and usually settle for one of each.
The Lamb neck tacos, chipotle aioli and green sauce are soft, juicy and incredibly more-ish.
Little nibbles of perfection.
Promise me you’ll get them? (then we can spend hours raving about how good they are on Twitter?)
The Chopped brisket roll, served alongside some gochujang mayo is equally splendid.
A giant, golten croquette…
Hidden the softest, moistest meat in its centre.
A meat lover’s dream come true.
Plates after plates of delicious, smokey creations filled the table.
Prawn toast, smoked bone marrow, kimchi onions is a rich and unexpected combination, lifted by the perfectly balanced, sweet and sour kimchi.
But the dish I could have time and time again? This little brunch number.
Pulled pork & smoked nduja hash, fried egg & BBQ sauce.
Smoky and spicy and meaty all at once: the absolute brunch dream dish.
And with some serious #yolkporn thrown in on top.
Even better with a bowl full of caramel roast potatoes on the side.
And yes, in case you are wondering, it IS salted caramel coated potato roasties. #gamechanger
Sticky toffee pudding is my favourite traditional British dessert.
Even better if it comes with some bourbon caramel & milk ice cream.
Traditional dishes with just a little bit of a modern twist and a touch of multicultural spice here and there, in a cosy, family-friendly atmosphere, what more could I possibly ask for?
The fact that the Smokehouse is right next door is just added bonus for me, but if I were to move away, I’m pretty sure those tacos alone would bring me back to Islington every other weekend.