Dinner at Smokehouse (London, UK)
Smokehouse located in the east side of London of Islington, is owned by Chef Neil Rankin that opened August 2013. I dined with the lovely, fellow Londoner Cassie as she suggested this place after informing her my crazy itinerary of eating.
This gastropub is not the typical pub one would think of. It’s casual but prettily done and not overtly masculine. Candles indoors and fairy lights in the pretty garden, a few small antlers, blackboards boasting of many craft beers, and food menu. When you peruse the food menu, it’s eclectic but it has Asian influences and certainly the use of the smoker is used as part of the preparation of the dishes.
We started with foie gras, apple pie and duck egg (£10). Two pieces of beautifully seared foie gras melded wonderfully with the “apple pie.” The deep fried apple pie was filled with soft diced apple caked sweet and inherent tartness of the apple cut through the richness of the foie gras. The duck egg yolk topped that pie added a lovely silky texture and also acted as a sauce to complete this dish.
The Thai chicken liver, toast and duck hearts (£7.50) was a delicious toast. Wonderfully charred country bread that lent its smoky flavor to the creamy, chicken liver pâté, spicy mayonnaise, and topped with familiar bánh mi condiments of shredded carrots, cilantro, and crushed peanuts.
When we progressed onto the mains, the smoked duck, kimchi and potato cake (£19) was generally ok. The kimchi was perfectly fermented, funky, and spicy. The potato cake was tasty, especially when having the fried quail egg yolk mixed with it. The unfortunate and main part of this dish was the smoked duck. It’s a bit undercooked that it’s hard to cut through it and it’s oddly sweet for me that even when eating with the kimchi, it still tasted sweet.
The shortrib bourguignon (£17.50) was delectable. The shortrib was lightly smoky and braised to the point that it cuts through like butter and you don’t really need a knife to cut through it but just ease the beef apart. The creamy, silky mashed potato and crispy fried shallots were wonderful. I would love to eat this every time I dine here.
For dessert, we had the Vanilla vanilla vanilla (£6.50) was vanilla rum baba soaked in vanilla liqueur and topped with vanilla ice cream. A good, very vanilla flavored dessert but the ice cream was grainy.
The Double D tart (£6.50) was the better of the two desserts. It’s a play on the humble English chocolate bar called the Double Decker. The firm crust is made of rice crispies, layered with dense, nut-packed nougat and slathered in chocolate, with a side scoop of creamy pistachio ice cream.
It’s a good gastropub to dine at but it might have its few missteps since the Chef Rankin was out of the country when we dined there. Otherwise, if I were to return to London, I would come back and dine there if I’m around the neighborhood.
To view more photos of this meal, please CLICK HERE or view the gallery below: