Food Review: Smoke & Salt's Small Plates Are Delicious... But We Want to Eat Them Together
Not long ago, if you'd spent your evening gnawing on a bit of partridge in a Brixton shipping container, your life had probably taken a turn for the worse. Now, of course, this kind of urbane-rustic dining experience is all the rage — and Pop Brixton's Smoke & Salt is one of its corrugated poster children.
Londonist raved about this place a year ago, and because chefs Aaron and Remi insist on seasonal produce, the menu's been wiped clean and it's absolutely fine for us to revisit. The set dinner at the moment is an autumnal repast, heralded with a greengage negroni (that's what we chose anyway) and followed by a steady stream of earthily-exquisite plates: a Hampshire-sourced smoked trout dish puts some of the salmon we've eaten to shame. The brined partridge with redcurrant is exceptionally tender and moist (from now on, we're eating brined turkey every Christmas). Even the butter is special, a kind of savoury ode to the walnut whip.
If the menu sets out to taste like the kind of straight from the ground/tree/butcher's knife fare you'd eat round Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's, it succeeds. But there is an issue for the no-nonsense diner. The plate of salt baked carrots would have gone beautifully with the partridge. Served only with a dressing of crispy basil and 'carrot currants' (that's dehydrated carrots to you and me), they cut a pretty, yet lonely figure. Ultimately, they're a little bland.
And the more you think, the more you wonder if the beef heart would have gone nicely with the artichoke. The sourdough bread with the trout. The point of the restaurant's piecemeal serving strategy is chiefly to appreciate the individual ingredients; Smoke & Salt prides itself on teasing out flavours using ancient curing techniques. We can't help it, though, if occasionally, the caveman in us wants to shove the entire menu in our mouth in one go.
The seasonal menu at Smoke & Salt costs £25pp. An a la carte menu is also available.
Last Updated 22 October 2018