Sibling to the award winning Smokehouse
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : Steak
Address : City Point, 1 Ropemaker Street, The City , London, EC2Y 9AW, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.littlesmoke.london
Opening Times : Mon-Thurs: 11am-3pm, 5.30pm-11pm; Fri: 8am-3pm, 5.30pm-11pm; Sat & Sun: 11am-11pm
Closest Tube : Moorgate, Liverpool Street
Two restaurants are responsible for setting the pace for modern British barbecue in the capital: Pitt Cue and Smokehouse. The latter has been especially popular, reeling in carnivorous patrons to the leafy environs of Islington, where guests can fend off the chill with red wine next to a fireplace during the colder months and knock back craft beer in the garden during the warmer. Noble Inns, who also run the Pig & Butcher and The Princess of Shoreditch, decided to relaunch their Bad Egg space (don‘t worry, they still offer a BE brunch during the weekends) as a grillhouse that looks to edge into the Hawksmoor / Goodman market. Their USP?
Serving excellent slabs of rare-breed meat sourced from small independent farmers, butchered up in Islington at Smokehouse. On a Thursday evening the restaurant was brimming and buzzy. The space has been given a cosy treatment with reclaimed oak flooring reclaimed from a 19th century mansion in Yorkshire and vintage wooden tables illuminated by candlelight and dangling industrial lighting. In a seasonal flourish, the space was replete with balsam cuttings and wreaths.
We kicked off our meal with Kernel pale ales and a starter of burnt and crunchy sweetcorn dip intermixed with ancho chili and apple salsa verde, topped with grated queso fresco and coriander, served with corn tortilla chips. It was a great, laidback way to start a meal - straight out of the American playbook. From here we segued into wine and meat, with a chocolatey Eschenhof Holzer Zweigelt from Austria‘s Wagram region, which turned out to be the perfect foil.
We ordered a number of sides, enlightened alternatives to the typically boring steakhouse staples of chips and creamed spinach. Burnt chilli greens were excellent, studded with crispy fried onion, as was the bone marrow mash. Our favourite, however, was the polenta, mixed with wild mushrooms, pecorino and truffle oil. Mountains of meat arrived with charred lemon and baby gem. An outsized ribeye served on the bone was cooked perfectly medium rare, rendering the fat to pockets of unctuous indulgence. A knuckle of lamb smoked throughout the evening had equally juicy quadrants to be mined and ingested, which was a special pleasure with the spicy house chermoula.
For dessert, we finished with a mountain of hazelnut profiteroles and sticky toffee pudding. Suffice to say, it took a bit of cardio to walk off this meal! However, it was some of the best grilled meat that we‘d had in a while, and is particularly well suited for an after-office dinner with a pack of mates looking to polish off a big chunk of ethically-reared, primped and pampered animal.