Rumours of mile long queues and ribs that would make you go weak at the knees were well in tow leading up to my Smokey Tails review. It’s safe to say that the hype couldn’t get any more real; and like everyone else, I found myself unable to wait one more day to pay it, and DJ Seth Troxler, a visit.
With three years of pop up experience tucked into their belts, Smokey Tails have built their first permanent home in one of my favourite London grub spots, Hoxton Square. Setting up camp next door to Hoxton Square Bar and Grill, they boast a 64 cover restaurant with a wooden decked terrace area facing the green. The evening we visited the weather was in a hormonal state, hello drenched pumps. But it’s good to note that the glass doors to the terrace area open up when the sun shows itself. This is sure to draw in a hefty crowd come summertime.
For the space given, Smokey Tails definitely maximise seating opportunities; there’s little space to manoeuvre, so be careful if you decide to bust a move. Luckily for the staff and my fellow foodies, I behaved myself and no such shenanigans went down at our table, thank you very much. Craning my neck around I noticed steel exposed pipework, colourful contemporary art and a bright Smokey Tails neon sign hanging proudly on one of the walls. The place wasn't overly decked out but what did catch my attention was the DJ booth. It boasts hundreds of vinyl records that are played from opening to close. You’ll find no techno beats here, my friends.
The Food & Drink
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had a beer cocktail (my sources tell me that they’re building momentum amongst London’s boozy elite). With a strong thirst for beer already in place, myself and my comrade thought it made perfect sense to have our first one together (que obligatory naw). The Dirt Bomb is a concoction of Jim Beam Double Oak, Southern Comfort, maple syrup topped with pale ale £7.50. It came served in a cute dimple beer mug and although it wasn’t as sweet as I’d hoped, it was strong and refreshing.
Food wise, we couldn’t help but order a lil bit of everything (don’t judge, everything on the menu looked so good). We ordered the Baby Back Spicy BBQ Pork Ribs, Grandma T´s Fried Chicken, Vegetable Croquettes, Mac and Cheese with Pulled Pork, Asparagus with Anchovy Butter and the Pickled Red Cabbage (remember, don’t judge). Grandma T’s Fried Chicken and the Mac and Cheese with Pulled Pork stole the limelight but we finished and savoured everything, right down to the last croquette crumb. Although the ribs weren't as meaty as I would have liked, Seth’s secret sauce, passed down from three generations ago, blew my mind.
With one last beer ordered we telepathically agreed on the Burnt Brown Butter and Pecan Chocolate Brownie with Ice-Cream and Salted Caramel Sauce. Quite a mouthful to say, but it was rich; and it was gooey. Everything you’d ask for in a brownie, really. And the sauce? Dear Lord, I would have eaten a bowl of it...on its own. Fact.
Arriving at 7pm on a Wednesday evening, we were surprised to see Smokey Tails relatively quiet. Don’t get me wrong, this did serve in our favour as service was speedy and attentive. As the evening ran away with itself, various merry walk-ins of 4 plus were seated for food and drinks which helped build up a bit of an atmosphere. Surveying the area after 9pm, I couldn’t eye-spy many couples. Smokey Tails seems to be a cracking spot for a catch-up meal with friends or a couple of naughty beers/cocktails with a large group. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as a date spot. Let’s face it, nobody looks sexy digging into a rack of saucy ribs, not even John from Accounts (and that’s saying something). Other than that, the vibe of this Hoxton based restaurant was happy-go-lucky. There were smiles coming from every table and laughter bouncing off the walls.
Four hours, a belly full of BBQ food and one too many drinks later, I’m glad to say that Smokey Tails are more than deserving of the hyped up rumours and their iconic location. They even managed to make me forget all about my drenched pumps. Until next time Smokey Tails.