Honey & Smoke serves excellent food. Truly lip-smackingly excellent food!
It is built on the Middle Eastern food that the chefs (a husband and wife duo) grew up on. You may well be familiar with the sister restaurant – Honey and Co. I’ve been there twice for brunch, and it’s never failed to impress me. A sumptuous spread is served in a tiny bistro filled with warmth, foodies and the most delicious Shakshuka. It’s one of my favourite spots for brunch and so when Honey & Smoke opened in 2016, I was pretty keen to get it booked in ASAP!
Honey & Smoke is a much larger restaurant, set over two floors, therefore it’s able to sit significantly more covers than the little hub on Warren Street, which whilst delicious, is guilty of the kind of place where you can’t help but have your elbows nipping into someone else!
I was excited from the get-go. I arrived and immediately perused the menu – it is amazing, and everything sounds delicious. We opted for the set menu, allowing us to try all nine of the mezze items, as well as a main dish each from the grill, a side and a dessert.
Nobody could prepare us for the table-crowding mountain of food that followed!
We kicked off with perfectly soft Moroccan focaccia served with fresh olive oil, pickles and kalamata olives. It had a slightly salty, slightly spiced topping, which was sensational and had us ordering extra focaccia throughout the meal. Ironically, I had been trying to avoid filling up on too much bread, but it was so delicious that it was hard to resist.
My favourite dish of the day, Baba Ghanoush had the most perfect smokiness – it was bold, delicious and moreish and a world away from the bland, wet imitation sold in supermarkets! Bejewelled with pomegranate, swirled through with olive oil and garnished with fresh parsley – it packed a punch. It was served with a Lavash cracker, topped with crunchy poppy and sesame seeds and perfectly delicious in its own right! Needless to say we ordered seconds. You so need to try this!
A winter tomato salad complemented both of the above dishes perfectly, with ripe, juicy tomatoes in a citrus dressing.
Msahaba consisted of soft chickpeas, with a garlic sauce and some spice to it. It was served cool. Whilst it was ok as part of the mezze I probably wouldn’t order it again – that said the boys mopped it up so maybe it’s one that divides the table (or maybe just me!)
Another favourite was the burnt celeriac, served with delicious urfa chilli butter with chive infused sour cream. It was smoky, soft, nutty and perfectly charred.
The cauliflower florets were served with homemade amba, a tangy mango pickle used frequently in Iraqi cuisine. I just adore cauliflower like this, it’s a world away from boiled cauliflower that I used to (and still) avoid like the plague!
The falafel and tahini were okay – whilst they weren’t dry (that’s the worst) they didn’t pack a punch in the way I had liked, or stand out to me like most of Honey & Smoke’s delicious food did. Given that we had tried so many different dishes I ended up leaving most of my portion aside to keep space for the other dishes.
Charred pears came served with almond tahini and raw honey – I absolutely loved this. I adore how the flavour of the pears was intensified and the sweetness was just right. It had just enough bite to it but still was juicy and soft.
The pears went incredibly with the warm goats cheese, red onion, walnut and fresh pomegranate salad.
The mezze dishes just married together perfectly and I really enjoyed it – whilst separately they were all beautifully light, paired together it had become pretty heavy. By this point we were completely full and I had started to worry about what we’d do with so much food. The same happens for brunch at Honey and Co every time… they certainly know how to do generous portions!
The grills arrived next with sides. I immediately regretted filling up on the bread (or do I? It was delicious!)
First up was Hamama, grilled pigeon with sweet onion, pine nuts and sultanas. Despite the description it wasn’t too sweet at all. It was cooked beautifully rare, nice and pink and perfectly paired with the sweet, soft onions and pine nuts.
Chicken shawarma, burnt pitta and green tahini. It was beautifully cooked but for me it lacked the wow factor that some of the other dishes had. My other half loved it though!
…and the Short rib with spiced quince glaze and pickled quince. This just melted off the bone. Super succulent and delicious.
The sides were fantastic and actually some of my favourite parts of the meal! Honey & Smoke absolutely nailed these!
The crispy burnt potatoes were fantastic – super crispy but still that soft, fluffy centre within. The crunch was super loud, adding to the theatre! As much as I try not to carb-load these potatoes were so delicious that I couldn’t resist them!
Sweet potato were roasted in embers and topped with almonds, date honey and fresh spring onions.
The chopped salad rounded the mains off nicely, fresh and crunchy, as it should be!
Finally, let me tell you about the sweet stuff.
When I had visited Honey & Smoke’s sister restaurant, Honey & Co, I loved the famous Feta and Honey cheese cake on a kadaif base. Kadaif is a bit like shredded filo and it makes a wonderful base to the creamy, rich topping. The cheesecake that results is crispy, soft, sweet and savoury all in one – and just thinking about it makes me hungry. But here’s the thing… I get FOMO, and I’d tried that before. My fear of missing out led to me convincing the guys to let us order the three items I hadn’t tried.
Warm chestnut cake with salted caramel and a soured cream. Deeeee-lish!
Chocolate pecan mud pie with a chocolate orange ice cream. This mud pie was delicious but we unanimously agreed that it was dangerously close to being too chocolatey… if that’s even a thing! I couldn’t help but think that a good vanilla ice cream or some crème fraiche would have been perfect with it, to take away a little bit of the richness.
And finally, the resounding favourite…
Turkish coffee ice cream with homemade marshmallow, toasted hazelnut crumble and an umptuous warm chocolate sauce to pour over. This epitomises everything a good pudding should be and is a must-try for all coffee-lovers. It’s the perfect pud to round off a heavy meal and we managed to find space for it!
All in all, Honey & Smoke was brilliant, and the food makes up for the plain decor. I left with a big smile and full belly… the boys left with the same, plus a big doggy bag of leftovers for the next day’s packed lunches!
In summary, I loved the delicious meal we ate and have Honey & Smoke on my list of wonderful restaurants to return to! It’s also excellent value for money, which is always nice!
You can find more details on the Honey & Smoke website. If you’d like to read more about the chefs Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, then do check out Savla Faire where there’s a great article on them in Seetal’s ‘Spotlight on chefs’ series – link here.
So which restaurants have you tried lately? Where should I be prioritising?