Chapel Bar, 29 Penton Street, London, N1 2PX www.smokeandsalt.com
For anyone who read my previous review of Islington’s latest residency Smoke & Salt, where I had the chance to try their dinner menu, you will probably be aware that after my first visit I’m quite a fan. So, when I was offered the opportunity to go back and try their Sunday Brunch, I practically bit their hand off (what is it they say about not biting the hand that feeds youÃ¢â‚¬Â¦).
The brunch menu draws inspiration from around the world, with delicious dishes such as the uni breakfast of black and white beans with eggs and grilled sourdough, hake’Jansson’s temptation’ with forked potato, crispy mornay and watercress, and a basket of madeleines making up some of this tempting menu.
However, although all of the above sounded delicious, my brunch partner and I were tempted by two dishes we’d had our eyes on since making the booking Ã¢â‚¬â€œ highland wagyu and half buttermilk-fried chicken, accompanied by the tessa sourdough bread with whipped honey butter.
The sourdough was delicious and fresh, and served with a whipped honey butter was the perfect start to our brunch. Unfortunately, as we chose one of the hottest days of the year, and were making the most of Chapel Bar’s fantastic terrace space, the butter did turn into a sticky puddle before we had a chance to finish it. In the future, we’ll definitely be keeping our butter firmly in the shade.
Starting with the highland wagyu, this was served with a steak sauce, egg, a heritage tomato salad and all on top of a piece of lightly charred bread. The first thing we noticed was the egg presented in an egg carton, but when cracked was perfectly cooked Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a pretty impressive start to the dish and a lovely touch that brought a smile to our faces. The beef was cooked to absolute perfection Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a lovely dark colour on the outside and beautifully pink inside. When eaten, it simply melted in the mouth. Paired with the heritage tomato salad, this dish definitely set out to impress and excelled all expectations.
Our other brunch dish was the half buttermilk-fried chicken served with summer succotash (a medley of sweetcorn, courgette, pepper and herbs), baby gem lettuce and yellow plantain. Unlike some buttermilk chicken I’ve had in the past, the batter was perfectly crisp and didn’t leave that tacky, greasy fuzz on the roof of your mouth. Chefs Remi and Aaron also managed to keep the chicken beautifully moist on the inside throughout Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a secret I later learnt was due to intensive brining. The plantain was perfectly grilled and, although I’m more of a green plantain fan, it added a nice sweet element to the dish.
The only problem with our brunch? It was too filling, and by the end we weren’t able to manage a slice of the homemade, fresh cherry pie. I can assure you when I later saw the pictures on Instagram this was something I instantly regretted, and would definitely like to go back forÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ or have a fresh one delivered to me on a daily basis.
We accompanied all of this scrumptious food with a bottle of organic sparking prosecco, which has a slightly cloud appearance. Quite dry in taste, which suits me perfectly, this was the perfect drink to go alongside our brunch on a warm summer’s day.
Overall, our brunch at Smoke & Salt was spectacular and, if I could, I think I would eat it on a weekly basis. The Sunday Brunch is available every Sunday, from 11am till 6pm. For an extra £30 a head, it is also available as a bottomless brunch, with a choice of cocktails, prosecco, or wine. If you get a chance to head to Islington, this is definitely an experience I would recommend you don’t miss.