There’s no better sibling an eatery could ask for than Smokehouse, the eclectic barbecue restaurant that opened in Islington in 2013. Spend an evening at Little Smoke, and it’s clear the restaurant has learned from its predecessor’s easy elegance and bold, carnivorous menu.
Though it’s housed in one of the glassed-in, anodyne spaces in the CityPoint complex, Little Smoke has managed to suffuse the space with atmosphere and warmth, twinkling with candlelight and rippling with smoke. Meat – rare-breed lamb, beef, and pork, chalked up on blackboards above the open kitchen – remains the focus. And what meat it is. The Barnsley lamb chop we tasted flooded the palate with its gamey richness. And our 29-month-old Belted Galloway porterhouse, dry aged for an incredible 80 days, came perfectly cooked, each slice bearing its own nugget of fat that melted on the tongue like beeswax.
Beyond the coveted cuts, Little Smoke also handles vegetable-led sides with aplomb. Polenta with wild mushrooms, shaved cheese and truffle was a revelation, and roasted mixed pumpkins, served with pistachio and orange yoghurt, had more than a whiff of Ottolenghi about it. All washed down with a bottle of Rioja, our Little Smoke feast was nothing shy of exceptional.