Tuesday, 17 January 2017


All aboard the Smokestak train! This juggernaut of a joint is fast becoming the King of Shoreditch by hitting the East End with its instantly recognisable industrial style open kitchen and restaurant but more importantly with its knockout food.
We sat inches away from the slicing, smoking and grilling of the behemoth cuts of meat and with all that right in front of our eyes we literally ordered the whole menu. And who could blame us as its one heck of an impressive place.
We started things off with nibbles including wafer thin, melt in your mouth cured pigs jowl, bite size pieces of crispy ox cheeks and my particular favourite sticky and crispy pig tails - seriously no need for pleasantries just get your chops round them.

These guys don't mess around with the food because in no time at all a whole load of small dishes came over straight from the chefs themselves with a soft buttery white roll packed with juicy beef brisket and a few punchy pickled red chillies, a stunning bit of pastrami accompanied with sour cabbage and pickles and finally a plate that knocks the daily calorie allowance straight out of the window- a thick slice of toast soaked in beef dripping, topped with a mountain of plump wild mushrooms.

 That boys and girls was just the start. We weren't going to let anyone down, how could we because the food was just getting better and sexier by the minute.
So who headlined the main event?
The thick-cut pork rib was to die for with perfectly aligned grill marks and a shiny sticky glaze on top (brushed on every minute whilst cooking) and it was that tender it just fell apart from the slightest nudge. We also had shavings of beef brisket with the classic barbecue sauce and even more pickled red chillies (we like it hot!). 
It's not all meat, meat, meat at Smokestak, so before the moaning starts there's plenty of alternative choices to satisfy others. We went for the charred aubergines with crumbled goats cheese, burnt honey and toasted cashews as well as three chunky, meaty pieces of monkfish tail on a bed of romesco puree.
If MTV created pimp my vegetables then Smokestak would lead the way. Take the humble potato for example. Here they scoop out the flesh, give it some love and affection and cram it back in it's hard shell and top it with an excessive amount of  gooey cheese. More drool came out of my mouth than Homer Simpson. And it wasn't just the jacket that got pimped, so too did the baby gem with a walnut gremolata, shaved parmesan and a handful of crispy bacon bits.

If it weren't for the fact that we were sitting in front of the chef there was absolutely no chance we were having desserts but seeing her make a few and the fact I was having dinner with a pastry chef  we just had to be that little bit more greedy. The sticky toffee pudding with burnt butter ice cream was the ultimate champion out of all them but that's not to say the plum crumble was a weak dish because let's face it sticky toffee pudding is a far superior option. We also tried a little toasted oak ice cream and unfortunatley that was the weakest link to what was otherwise a successful evening.
Smokestak has come a long way since I tried their shizz a few years back at Street Feast. It certainly has come out all guns blazing and to think they smoking is bad for your health.


Monday, 9 January 2017


If none of you have checked out Temper, I suggest you do so as soon as possible. It's been a while since I've been excited about a restaurant but Temper has reinvigorated my taste buds. From start to finish, dish after dish, this place had me calling for more. And if I had the money and stomach, I would have ordered every single item off the menu, that's how good it was.
I loved everything about the place. It was stylish, it was cool and it was damn right funky. Not only that it was one of those places where fusion food is spot on from South American to the Caribbean and as far as the Far East, with a huge open grill and service area which dominates the basement area and slabs of meat and carcasses all being grilled and smoked to perfection. 

To get the party started we ordered a portion of the scotch bonnet chilli nachos. They were a naughty, moreish little number and if it wasn't for us ordering a shit load of food then there's no doubt we would have scoffed more. Trust me, ask for a few of these bad boys.
The fluffy puffed up tacos were to die for and we each ordered a different topping including creamy and tangy crab and pickled onion pork skin, succulent, garlicky pil pil prawns, flavoursome lumps of beef fat and the good old classic aged cheeseburger.

When it came to the main event, our  mouth watering meat (consisting of goat, burnt end larb, pork and lamb) was delivered along with a string of sides, sauces and sprinkles just to give it the X factor and love affair it truly deserved.
Standout sides included the beef fat potatoes which had lashings of gooey, torched Ogleshield cheese and the sexy grilled corn which had cheeky little bits of broken popcorn coated in a rich lamb fat Bearnaise.  And if that wasn't enough we also chowed down on some spicy and crunchy jerk cauliflower as well as some cool and refreshing Asian smacked cucumber.
There's no set rules to how you should approach tackling the whole event. For me, I took a bit of bread, slapped on some meat, added my favourite sauce (which happened to be the green sauce - lime, coriander and garlic) and topped it with all of the sprinkles and it was banging. There was freshness, richness, fattiness, crunch, spice, sweet and sour all in one bite.

Arrange plans to go this casual, classy place because it's a fun-loving restaurant where the food speaks for itself, the music is cool as fuck and the bill won't leave you running for the hills. Can someone invite me when they next go please?

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


Is it already the start of a new year? Where does the time go?
But let's not dwell on the fact that time is passing us by ever so quickly because it's going to be  another exciting year where restaurants, pop ups e.t.c. are waiting to be discovered and conquered plate by plate.

We all know that after the Christmas and new year celebrations comes the reality that we must all unfortunately face-which is that money is tight and we're on a tight budget. But don't let that stop you treating yourself to eat out at some affordable places because I have just the very place that could put a smile back on your face, remove any of those post Christmas and new year blues and kick start your start 2017 with a spring to your step.

Blacklock in Soho fits the bill perfectly. Ok, its not ground breaking but what they do there is simple yet effective. There's no beating around the bush with this lot as they deliver big juicy cuts of meat on a regular basis.

We've never been before but the enthusiastic, bubbly lady took us under her wing and made sure we had the best possible time, giving us a thorough step by step guide of the menu and what Blacklock is all about.

We're a bunch of hungry (possibly greedy) foodies as we went guns blazing going for the "All in" menu which gave us a majority of what was on offer.
The pre chop bites were a bit of a let down. They're not anything to write home about and were undoubtedly the biggest disappointment of the whole meal but we weren't there to cry about some little nibbles as it was obviously all about the meat.

In all it's glory were big lumps of pork from belly to ribs and loin, juicy lamb cutlets and a massive T-bone as well as a tender bit of beef rump piled all over each other and to soak up all of the juicy goodness was a thick piece of grilled flat bread.
We also chose wisely with the sides and sauces pairing our meat-fest with crispy and fluffy beef dripping chips - because it would have been a travesty not to, creamy winter slaw containing  slightly sharp apples and thinly shredded sweet onions. Cheekily we threw in an extra side (yep we're greedy) of kale and parmesan as well. Not only that we ordered a trio of delicious rich sauces- chilli hollandaise, onions and gravy and a Bearnaise.
Blacklock is heaven for any meat lover and for twenty pounds per person for the "all in" menu, it was a no brainer. Well executed cuts of meat and a variety of yummy sides and sauces, Blacklock will satisfy any hungry diner that's looking for a casual and relatively cheap place to go to. Forget your plans to lose weight after a heavy festive period because there's no time like the present to tackle this restaurant.