Small plates, big flavours: Smoke & Salt review

Written by on September 8, 2017 in Food, Reviews - No comments

Nick Buglione gets all ‘British tapas’ at Smoke and Salt

Tonight is pretty much exactly what Pop Brixton was invented for. Hot summer night, alfresco terrace, lots of international bright young things (on Instagram) and interesting, genuinely original dining coming out of a sea container. The former home of Kricket, poster boys for Brixton boxpark pop-up stardom, is now where two guys Aaron and Remi bring you Smoke and Salt’s modern dining, ancient techniques.

A sea container can disguise many sins and much of Pop’s dining is style over substance and/or just OK food. Smoke and Salt’s seasonal small plates are anything but. As a foodie dabbler in the worlds of curing and smoking, each plate comes with technique, presentation, precision, enthusiasm and invention.

For starters, try their Boston Sour, a rye whiskey and infused sorrel reinvention of the classic sour. And then let it rain small plates of British “tapas”. And don’t let the simplicity of the menu fool you, there are some complex techniques coming out of the tiny kitchen.

From sourdough and whipped butter to heritage tomatoes with a whey vinaigrette and a deep (home smoked) swirling ricotta. And everything looks beautiful (for you Instagram food porn junkies).

The menu is a restless seasonal beast and changes all the time. Tonight we tried panelles (Sicilian chickpea fritters) with spicy ketchup, chicken with truffle ponzu and daikon slaw and a super slow-cooked pork belly with broccoli. All distinct, multi-layered on-point cooking.

But the best of the illustrious bunch was cured chalkstream trout and jalapeno salsa and, a surprising first for this fan of tartare, a merguez tartare of spicy lamb with flatbread and harissa. All north African spice and uber-tender lamb. I like surprises. Nothing is overdone, nothing is over-presented and nothing is overworked. Restraint is a virtue.

Food reviewers are prone to over-gush or knee-jerk criticise, but I would be hard pressed to find any criticism whatsoever. The staff are fully engaged and clearly committed, each dish is a little world unto itself and for a man who is suspicious of tasting plates (as they are often an excuse for scattergun service to suit the kitchen), Aaron and Remi’s plates work in a logical harmony.

Each one a little global flavour adventure. If there was a candidate to follow in Kricket’s sea container to Soho stardom template, Smoke and Salt could easily be the next to follow. Neo fine dining with its tie loosened.

Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road,SW9 8PQ | smokeandsalt.com | 07421 327556 | @SmokeandSaltLDN

 

About the Author

Nick Buglione is the worst kind of foodie in that his gastro ambitions are frustratingly rarely matched by his culinary skills. Eating out he is as happy with a dirty burger, comforting cafe fry up or a Michelin-starred menu. Nick will be bringing even more recipes, reviews, news and cheffy interviews from the pop-ups, restaurants, street stalls and cafes of Brixton as well as bar and pub reviews and the occasional cocktail. He'd love people to get involved, can be contacted at nick@brixtonblog.com and please send all and any general foodie news to food@brixtonblog.com.

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