The British seem to have a bit of an obsession with American Diner style joints. Over-the-top portion sizes, savoury and sweet combos like chicken and waffles and the kind of food that sticks to your ribs as well as your fingers seems to be what’s in.
That’s exactly the sort of food you’ll get at The Smoke Haus. Situated in Brindleyplace above the Slug and Lettuce, The Smoke Haus, which opened earlier this summer, is everything you’d expect. Bare brick walls adorned with pictures of rock stars, the slogan #wesaluteyou emlazoned above the bar, red leather booths and that intoxicating smoked meat smell all around.
We were there on a Saturday afternoon and the place was pretty quiet except for 4 or 5 families having a late lunch, so we nabbed a booth by a window and spent some time checking out the drinks menu. As I wasn’t imbibing (for once) I decided to go for a milkshake. There were only 3 flavours on the menu, and I was disappointed there wasn’t an option with peanut butter, but the Oreo shake I ordered was pretty darn good. It was more like a dessert than a drink!
The food menu was pretty much as you’d expect, with a good selection of burgers (including that ever-so-fashionable donut burger), ribs, hot dogs, chicken and steak. Seeing as the place was called The Smoke Haus, I was keen to try their most famous dish with an array of their smoked classics, so I convinced my other half to share the Mixed Grill with me. At £31.95 I thought that seemed reasonable to share between two, so when we ordered starters as well our waitress advised that we might not need them! There were 4 of us eating, and our dining partners went for a burger and a steak, so we ordered them anyway, little did we realise quite how much food would arrive.
Our starters arrived fairly quickly after ordering, we had a portion of corn dogs and some chicken tenders to share. The corn dogs were good, not too much batter and a good quality sausage inside. I also really enjoyed the chicken tenders, which were coated in buffalo sauce which was particularly tangy and spicy. Not the best buffalo chicken I’ve had but good nonetheless.
We polished those off fairly quickly, but when the mains arrived, I wished I hadn’t! The Mixed Grill was, in a word, gigantic. Served on a huge tray, it had a hotdog, beef brisket, pulled pork, pastrami, two types of ribs, chips and coleslaw. It really was a behemoth, and I felt very greedy. There was definitely enough food on that plate to feed all 4 of us, and we had it between 2!
Once I’d come to terms with the overwhelming amount of food, I got stuck in to try a bit of everything. The hotdog was tasty, with plenty of chilli con carne, sauce and onions on top. The skin of the sausage was quite thick and chewy, which was a bit strange, but the smoky meat flavour was good.
The pulled pork was sticky and sweet, the ribs were, well, large! With the same sticky sauce, so very messy, the brisket was very tender and had a good savoury beef flavour, while the pastrami was well spiced and very enjoyable. The coleslaw and skin on fries were pleasant, but not remarkable, though definitely required to break up all the meat!
Unsurprisingly, we didn’t even get close to finishing our food, although we did give it a good go. I liked the fact that they offered to box up the leftovers to take home, as I hate to waste food, so we took everything we didn’t eat away with us.
I did enjoy it, though I do think the food is more about size than substance in this sort of establishment. That said, I think they’ve got the edge on their neighbours Rub Smokehouse. After an awesome launch, the last couple of times I’ve been to Rub have been disappointing, as the Man vs. Food gimmick really has overtaken the quality there, which isn’t true of The Smoke Haus.
If what you’re after is a casual, messy and fun dining experience that will leave you needing a napkin and a nap, then The Smoke Haus is just what you need.
My meal at Smoke Haus was paid for entirely by myself and this was not a PR review opportunity.