The only thing I don’t hate about the cold is being warm and cosy indoors. Smokehouse is the perfect place for this. It’s lit up like a Christmas tree, has open fires, a great list of cockle warming red wines and hearty food by BBQ extraordinaire Neil Rankin.
We were celebrating my friend R’s birthday, so had a large, round wooden table just by the open kitchen and bustling 270° bar. Our larger than life waiter handed us paper menus and took our drinks order – red wine of course.
My starter of Crab on Toast was delicious in flavour, but disappointing in size. But it was only £7, so I shouldn’t complain too much. Two seats down, E devoured Foie Gras, Apple Pie & Duck Egg (£10). She could feel my envy eyes on her plate, so out of fear, offered me a bite. It was wickedly rich, but utterly delicious.
I was tempted by Peppered Ox Cheek for main, but the waiter’s description of Shortrib Bourguignon changed my mind (£17.50). The Ox Cheek wasn’t getting great reviews across the table, so I felt secretly smug with my juicy Bourguignon – it’s just a shame there wasn’t more sauce to drown the mash.
On the side, we had fresh Green Salad (£3.50) and spicy Korean pulled pork (£6) – an interesting combination, but one that satisfied our hearts and stomach.
The desserts blew me away with their sweet, sickly goodness. Chocolaty Friday Pie (£5), Sticky Toffee Apple Cobbler (£6) and White Chocolate Cheesecake (£6) – what more could a girl ask for?
Despite its faults, I can’t be put off my winter hideaway, so give Smokehouse a LLE Rating of 6/10. Long may it continue to provide shelter on a cold and starry night.
Smokehouse, 63–69 Canonbury Rd, Islington, London N1 2DG
*Photos ‘borrowed’ from the Smokehouse website