Said with not a hint of irony, the oldest cooking technique in the world is going through something a moment right now. The primitive, unpredictable and downright delicious cooking of food over wood, charcoal and anything else that smokes is rising and rising in popularity over the capital. With the sun emerging from it’s hibernation, rays stretching like limbs in a post-slumber stretch, it’s time for the nation’s favourite sun-soaked past time to commence.
National Barbeque Week arrives next week as the perfect excuse to light those coals, get some cold ones in the fridge, and get cooking. Alternatively, if you don’t trust your barbequing skills, you could avoid the salmonella, the excess of pattys and lack of salad by choosing one of our IDEAL picks for perfect barbeque food in London.
With a loosely Mexican theme – the barbequed meat is accompanied by tacos and salsas and you’re encouraged to wash it all down with delicious Mezcal – Temper is the new kid on the block. Naivity, and innocence this place aint. The food is big, bolshy and brave, the booze flows merrily and the punters quaff and scoff with relentless enthusiasm.
Food is sourced with great care and attention and butchered in-house, then cooked over a huge open-fire pit in the middle of the restaurant. Refined this certainly isn’t, but chef Neil Rankin has the experience and know-how to make this one of the hottest new tickets in town.
Address: 25 Broadwick St, Soho, London W1F, UK
Smokestak is the closest on our list to the traditional deep-south of the States smokehouse. Head chef David Carter moved to the U.S in 2013 to perfect the art of the grill and the results are for all to see in this just-off Brick Lane BBQ extravaganza.
Beef brisket and rib seem the most popular offerings, and quite rightly, but a pleasing respect given to the charring of veg means this is a welcoming spot for vegetarians too.
The obligatory chili and heat is done with enthusiasm but also restraint here, making Smokestak not only a good barbeque joint, but a damn good culinary experience too.
Address: 35 Sclater St, London E1 6LB
The Smoking Goat
A favourite of IDEAL, the Smoking Goat is based on a simple, glorious premise – to serve regional Thai food which more often than not, has been smoked and cooked over flames. The main event, after which the restaurant is named, is a stunning piece of work. It’s spicy, salty, smoky and complex, and at £34 for two, it won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
The fun doesn’t stop there though, with a host of other great dishes – the Chiang Mai pork belly cooked over coals is just as good – meaning you always leave full and happy. Throw some great craft beer into the mix, the perfect partner to the food, and you’re onto a winner. One of our favourite places to eat, period.
Address: 7 Denmark St, London WC2H 8LZ, UK
Berber & Q
As if our list hadn’t clocked up enough air miles, Berber & Q pays homage to the flavours of the Ottoman and North Africa, flavours which lend themselves brilliantly to fire.
This place is as trendy as its Dalston postcode suggests, but the food makes no attempt to woo the hipster crowd. Our sated stomachs are grateful for this. Spice on the warming, comforting side of sweat-inducing suits the cuisine perfectly.
Address: 338 Acton Mews, London E8 4EA
Remain out East for the last restaurant on our list, the Scandi-inspried Rok in Shoreditch. We wouldn’t immediately associate burning embers with Nordic cuisine (an excess of open-faced sandwiches on our recent trip to Copenhagen may be to blame) but the smoked meats and fish, as well as keen attention to fermenting and pickling, certainly resonates with the region. A tasty, refreshing alternative, and one we loved deeply.
Address: 26 Curtain Rd, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3NY
Giphy source: giphy.com