A couple of weeks ago on a Friday Bel and I ate at Smokehouse. It's a Noble Inn pub, so sister restaurant of The Pig & Butcher, amongst others. I knew I'd like the place as they have enlisted the help of Neil Rankin in the kitchen. Formerly of John Salt and Pitt Cue Co.
We had a table in the front bar which suited us. Lighting looked a tad bright in the more formal dining room to the rear.
We started with a glass of Nyetimber classic curve (£7.75) and the amazing bread with salted butter. Starters came quickly, crab on toast for me (£7). At first glance I was disappointed with the lack of crab meat, but needed have worried as they slather on a crab reduction that makes each mouthful intensely crabby. It was lovely, and more of that excellent sourdough.
Bel had the foie fras with apple pie and duck egg (£10) which was every bit as brilliant as it sounds. Very good value with 2 large bits of foie. The apple pie/egg yolk combo is a stroke of genius.
On to mains, and we went with the recommendations of our waiter, the Shortrib bourguignon (£17.50) for me which was incredible. Crispy little fried shallots rings sat on top of the tender beef surrounded by chanterelle mushrooms, crunchy bacon and the creamiest mash.
Bel's main is probably their signature dish, peppered ox-cheek with cauliflower cheese & gravy (£16.50). We had a side of green salad (£6.50), made interesting by grilling the lettuce and serving it warm with roasted cherry tomatoes. We were given an extra treat of Korean pulled pork (£6) which had a great kick to it. Desserts sounded wonderful but we were beaten and not up to it.
The bar area has a warm and friendly atmosphere, plenty of people were there just for drinks and the selection of beers is quite impressive. Service was great. We had a bottle of white Rioja for £29 and spent some quality time with Stout, the dog of the day.
This place is fairly near where I live, which makes me very happy, hope I'll have time to revisit in the next couple of months.
63—69 Canonbury Rd