Sep 21 2014



On “urbanspoon” restaurant website Smokehouse is one of the 10 most talked about restaurants in London and has been in this top 10 for a while. I was naturally very keen to go and see what the fuss was about, also because I have been to Neil Rankin’s (the main chef at Smokehouse) restaurants before, he used to be at Pitt Cue Co, which I love, and John Salt (another restaurant in Islington). Neil has a particular cooking style, he loves to burn and smoke things and uses fire a lot in his cooking, which I personally love a lot.

I was surprised to see that Smokehouse is located in the same place that used to house a pub called “House” where I went on one of the first dates with my boyfriend. I did not particularly like the House and was quite keen to see how Smokehouse compared. I had booked a table for Sunday lunch and when we arrived the whole restaurant was full and there were no free tables (apart from the one given to us), so make sure you book when you go there. The design had not changed much from the House days, it is still that sort of upscale pub like décor with an open kitchen now on one side of the room.

The Sunday menu was different to their normal menu and all main courses were served with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables, gravy & Yorkshire pudding, to give you that Sunday roast feeling. The Sunday menu offered 6 starters and 6 main courses and starters were £8 on average and main courses £17. We ordered two starters, “Crab, Korean pickled cucumber, sesame & tomato” and “Octopus, N'duja & parmentier potatoes”. I loved the pickled cucumbers and the crab but found the tomato in this dish a bit strange, for me all of it together did not work. However it was an unusual and interesting starter, which I always appreciate. On paper the octopus starter sounded great but actually when you got it, it was not that impressive and the potatoes were small and crunchy and I did not think there was enough octopus or n’duja.

I chose a main course of Smoked poussin and my boyfriend ordered Roasted Highland beef and both dishes, as I mentioned, were served with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables, gravy & Yorkshire pudding. The smoked poussin (or chicken for normal people) was good, but I found it quite funny because in Latvia we eat a lot of smoked chicken and it is part of our staple diet, so I know this taste very well. The Latvian chicken is eaten cold and here it was hot and not as flavoursome as chicken in Latvia can be. So whilst I thought this dish was interesting, as outside of Eastern Europe I have not seen smoked chicken, for me it did not have that wow factor that I think it could have on other people, that haven’t tried smoked chicken before, as smoked chicken has a very interesting taste. I did not think my boyfriend’s beef was particularly good, it was chewy and did not seem that great. he also did not like it too much. The roast potatoes were amazing, loved them, the seasonal vegetables quite nice and the Yorkshire pudding ok.

I have this problem once again. In theory I really like Neil Rankin’s cooking and I loved Pitt Cue Coe but I was underwhelmed with John Salt and now with Smokehouse.  Maybe I would have enjoyed the normal, non-Sunday menu, more and should go again, but as of now I think his food is good but not as amazing as I think it could be.

Date: 21/ 09/ 14
Location: Islington
Price for 2 people, no alcohol and service charge: £68

Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

Maija rated: 



63 Canonbury Road N1 2DG
United Kingdom
Smokehouse Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3.5