Smokehouse Islington Review – food so good we forgave the imaginary service

Smokehouse Islington has been doing their thing since August 2013 and is one part of the quartet they call Noble Inns. In that quartet they have The Lady Ottoline in Bloomsbury, The Pig & Butcher a stone throw away in Angel and The Princess of Shoreditch. They represent cookery made with ingredients bought from small family owned businesses where quality is everything – we can all get behind that can’t we. It’s a lovely looking pub, lots of bare wood is fringed with matching tables, chairs and white painted walls. There seems to be an inviting soft glow with its simple decor. Being a pub, there are local brews on tap, they say 20 with 60 bottles on offer. All sounds good, so onto the food.

For starters, first came the chopped brisket roll with gochujang £7.50. What we got was a golden crumbed, crispy shelled cylinder full of intense fibrous beef that was probably idling beforehand on low heat with spices until it surrendered. The lubrication and a ripe kick of heat came from “gochujang” spiced mayonnaise. Gochujang is a fermented chilli sauce from Korea which seems to make most things sing and dance, it was no exception here.

Beneath a foliage of truffle, crispy shallots and parmesan, came the burnt leeks and portobello’s that had a pleasing acidic tongue pucker. The hen’s egg, served sunny and runny became the sauce. It was one of the best £7.50 I’ve spent on a starter.

The pork tacos £7.50, chipotle and green sauce seemed to go down well with Bump, my dining companion.

For dessert came the white chocolate peanut cup, it was more than that. The chocolate chipped peanut butter ice cream, the right side of sweet that was sandwiched between two discs of white chocolate caramel was bang on. On top was a sprinkling of crunchy cacao nibs and a good scoop of squidgy chocolate ice cream that tasted shamelessly of well, chocolate. It demanded to be inhaled and I will declare that I will come back for this belly-beckoning dessert alone one day.

The verdict:

When did I go? Nov 2017
The damage: Expect to pay £25/30 per head without booze.
The good: Smokehouse is a strong reason to come to Islington. The food is simply a joy and heartstoppingly good. I’d like to return for the beef brisket roll and for that white chocolate peanut cup.
The bad: The glaring problem here was the service. When we were seated the menu’s didn’t arrive until we asked for them, twice. Then we were abandoned by our waitress. When we finally caught her attention about 30 minutes of us wondering what the hell was going on. We asked for our order to be taken but she said there’s an issue with the kitchen that she knew nothing about it and was “sorry”. We didn’t want an apology, just an explanation for the head scratching moment. We were just about to leave shortly after until our waitress came back to say that the issue had been resolved. Our act of patience rewarded us in the end.
Rating: 4/5
Would I go again? Yes
Address: 63-69 Canonbury Rd, Islington, London N1 2DG

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