The name ‘Smokehouse’ evokes some colourful imagery.
Ruddy faced men quaffing bourbon. Sawdust on the floor. Flintstones-style hunks of meat.
In fact it’s a rather charming gastropub, with unpretentious rustic-chic interiors (read: plenty of wood) and a pretty garden lit by twinkly fairy lights. The antlers above an open fireplace look practically refined, and candlelit tables lend it the air of a Cotswolds farmhouse. The clientele is more polished Islingtonians than burly blokes.
Owned by Noble Inns, the small team behind the excellent Princess of Shoreditch and Pig & Butcher, Smokehouse is all about great food in a convivial setting. The chalked up menu reflects a passion for provenance (local suppliers are listed), boasting simple yet hearty dishes made with meat from various UK farms, day boat fish from Cornwall, and fruit and veg courtesy of Natoora.
As the name suggests, smoked stuff is the order of the day: With a custom robata grill in the kitchen, the chefs grill over charcoal and roast and smoke using sustainably sourced English oak. In keeping with the pared-back gastropub vibes, dishes are elegant and unfussy. Pieces of pork chop are served with smoked apple and black pudding, there are artfully plated starters of smoked bone marrow and cured mackerel, and beloved British classics for dessert: the sticky toffee pudding is unmissable.
Meat is undoubtedly the star of the show here, but vegetarians won’t be disappointed. A small but well-considered selection of veggie dishes include a goat’s cheese gnocchi, spelt risotto with roast Crown Prince squash, and vegan cashew ricotta with celeriac and burnt leeks.
Craft beer enthusiasts will be in heaven, with 20 craft beers on tap and a further 40 by the bottle. Friendly staff are on hand to guide you through the somewhat daunting selection. There’s also an extensive wine list with inexpensive pours (mostly European) starting at £23 a bottle, plus a menu of fail-safe classic cocktails.
Yes, having spent a good few years heating up…
…it’s safe to say that Smokehouse is now on fire.
NOTE: Smokehouse is open Mon-Thurs from 4.30pm, and Fri-Sun from noon, closing at 10.30pm (10pm Sun). You can find out more and make a booking at their website right HERE.
Smokehouse | 63-69 Canonbury Rd, N1 2DG
If this place sounds good… then the best restaurants in Islington should be right up your alley
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