November 11, 2013
Having already given quite a decent big-up to The Smokehouse pop-up at Leicester’s O Bar, I suppose I was a little nervous about it being a bit of a let down.
Fortunately, turns out I needn’t have worried. Aside from the pretty basic and uncomfortable seating, five of us had a gorgeous lunch there on Sunday. I’m not going to give a blow-by-blow review – the venue is already getting plenty of positive coverage – but the long and the short of it is that here was very good, down-to-earth flavour-led food at fair prices. We enjoyed pulled pork, 12-hour brisket with house rub and barbecued chicken with smoked bacon rub – all of them really showing the benefit of the long and slow treatment.
I really loved the sides too – smoked fennel and aubergine salad with sweet raisin puree was a complete revelation, fennel and jalapeno slaw was lip-tinglingly good while delicious barbecue baked beans seemed to have had a hearty slug of maple syrup to give a sweet edge. Opinions were a little divided over the salt baked potatoes, baked in a pastry crust, but I certainly felt they gained something from the treatment.
Pick of the deserts was an absolutely stonking sticky toffee pudding with a salted caramel bourbon sauce. Definitely recommend finding space for that if it’s on when you go.
The craft beers were great, you’re even offered tasting if you’re unfamiliar to what contemporary brewers are doing. I had the Camden pale ale, and it was a good match for the food on offer.
Staff are lovely too and generally you want to thank everyone involved for giving it a go. I’m sorry there’s no pictures, but anyway this isn’t pretty food to be admired on the plate – it’s food to get stuck into and enjoy. You should try it while it’s here. I’m certainly going back.