SMOKESTAK, Shoreditch


It’s official - the full blown lockdown in the UK is over, hopefully for the last time, and our hospitality industry that we love so much is beginning to shake off the cobwebs and fling open its doors. I, for one, couldn’t be happier to see my inbox filling with reservation emails and my diary looking a little more like a diary should as I begin to plot out attacking the list of restaurants that seems to have grown only tenfold in the last four months.

Restaurants across the UK are navigating the new rules; terraces have been built, gazebos purchased and outdoor furniture crammed onto any street that will permit it to seat the hungry foodies that have, and I hope, continue to, support the fantastic restaurants, who have had one of the worst years imaginable. 

On opening week, one of the restaurants that has sat firmly at the top of my list is the Shoreditch barbecue restaurant Smokestak. Smokestak was opened in 2016 by David Carter, who had previously worked at festival and street-food locations serving up some delicious smoked briskets buns and went brick & mortar with this Shoreditch location.

I’ve long seen Instagram posts, highlighting and showcasing the deliciously charred lumps of meats which have been, as you might have guessed, smoked for a variation of times. Initially, we’d planned to visit in November but as the November lockdown left our plans in tatters we made sure it was one of the first we headed to as things opened up again on 12th April. 

Located just a stone's throw from Shoreditch High Street station and the ever so trendy Brick Lane (which, coincidently, I am certainly not cool enough for despite my best efforts) it offers up that fiercely edgy East London vibe with blackened windows, seemingly reclaimed wood furniture and their outside terrace faces out onto a burned building, covered in the graffiti that seems almost within Shoreditch’s brand guidelines.

Crispy ox cheeky at Smokestak

As always, I ask for the recommended dishes because those who work with the food, know what is better above all else and so it begins. To start, we go for crispy ox cheek with anchovy mayo (£7), which is four chunky bits of deep-fried delicious croquette-esq bits of beef with the contrast of the salty anchovy mayo, and as someone who likes neither mayo or anchovies, it’s really quite the testament to how delicious this is, and then pigtails with soy molasses (£5.50) which are - granted to my surprise - totally delicious, with the salty meat and the sweet molasses. My only qualm was that I tried to eat with a knife and fork - and well, I should have dropped the pre-face and used my hands. Finally, which certainly doesn’t mean it was any less delicious, chipotle caramel chicken wings (£7.50) - and wow. Spiced, but not spicy, with the sweetness thrown in too - and instead of your standard, very little meat wings they were huge. 

Pigtails at Smokestak

Feeling like a modern day cave woman, we continued our meat marathon and moved onto the charred pork belly rib (£12.50) and the beef brisket with mustard barbecue ketchup (£14.50) with crispy potatoes with aioli (£5). The pork belly rib was smokey, delicious and full of flavour - in fact, it’s probably ruined all other versions of ribs for me now. The brisket pulled apart, as if made of cake like those viral posts we all saw last summer, and once again presented the flavour from the smoker - that is in-house - and unlike any other bit of brisket I’ve had before. The sides were, in all honesty, unnecessary for two people as we were full already, as I have to mention that this was in-fact lunch.

Beef brisket at Smokestak

Despite the temptation of dessert, I could barely do up my trousers at this point so opted for more wine, in a very on-brand move. On the topic of wine, Smokestak’s approach was needless to say in-line with the rest of their restaurant with a lot of edgy natural/bio-dynamic wine. We opted for an orange wine, served by the glass, called calcaruis - orange from Puglia -  which topped off our beautifully sunny afternoon at Smokestak.

The barbecue restaurant scene in the past - to me at least - has been something I’d happily skip, feeling a bit more TGI than anything else but Smokestak blends everything so well that you’d be a fool to skip over it. Despite it only being April, I can’t wait to spend many a summer evening here and enjoy the indoors come winter as I devour the rest of the menu.

35 Sclater Street
E1 6LB |   0203 873 1733  | 

*images provided by Smokestak.


  1. Went here a while back and it was amazing!! I had the pulled pork and honestly mouth watering. Totally going back xx


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