There is a super new addition to the roster of the cool and vibrant Pop Brixton in the form of Smoke & Salt. A feast for the senses; Smoke & Salt create modern small plates using British ingredients highlighting the ancient techniques of smoking, curing and preserving. I have followed the extraordinarily talented chefs Aaron and Remi across their culinary journey from North to South London covering their residencies in Angel, Dulwich and now to permanency in Brixton.
Each time I try a new Salt & Smoke menu I come away having enjoyed an evening of delectable food interspersed with enjoyable conversation with the chefs explaining their dishes and what inspired their creative thought processes. Smoke & Salt embody the simplicity of seasonal and local ingredients whilst adding a global spin. Their food reflects the multicultural beauty of London and the wider U.K. and the love that is put into the creation of each dish is evident.
As you can appreciate from the fact that I’ve followed these guys for awhile now the standard of their menus and the subsequent quality of their dishes is always high. Let’s be honest, anyone who can start a menu with tidbits knows how to feed the soul and of course the body. We basically tasted the entire menu which is no mean feat but proved to be a rather manageable mouth-watering experience on a balmy August evening. I choose a cocktail titled Bubbles & Black- lemons, blackcurrant and bubbles – which opened the night superbly.
Let me now take you on a voyage of discovery. Full marks are given for the presentation of all the Tidbits to be described in a moment. These tidbits covered fried yellow plantain with beer-braised onions and oregano, accompanied by chicken skewers. For me plantain is a taste of home and these are definitely at the top of the order again list. Summer tomato salad is a beautifully presented, rich, colourful and tasty dish made of heritage tomatoes with creamy smoked ricotta. This dish is so yummy that it would convert even the hardest of non- tomato fans! A burst of sunshine in your mouth; hello Mediterranean vibes! Finally, the cured trout is a riot of colours, the softness of the trout, the crunch from the onions, the heat of the chili, a juxtaposition of textures, soft and sweet – exquisitely balanced.
From the kitchen plates there was Creedy Carver Duck – ‘rillette’ – style with duck jam, grilled flatbreads and lavender. Trombetta Courgettes served with toasted seeds, a walnut crumble and summer savoury dressing. These were earthy, crunchy, bursting in flavour with an after tang of citrus.
The Grilled Plates proved to be another highlight; the Hispi Cabbage led the way with a smoky tofu dressing, pickled peanuts, chilli threads and coriander. Miso and honey glazed lamb belly accompanied by an english pea tartare with pickled gooseberry dressing. So fresh and crunchy were the peas; you have to ask if they were picked literally before gracing the plate. The vibrancy of the greens was a direct complement to the delicate yet robust lamb.
Finally comes the ‘Pastry’ element of the menu. There is only one dessert on offer and it is outrageously delicious. Simply called Harvest Pudding; grilled amarillo peaches sing with flavour, tarragon, English strawberries, carmelised popcorn and sweet ‘corn’ custard. This is a summertime party in your mouth – the Pudding looked good and tasted even better!
The entire menu epitomised style and substance combined together. Make a beeline down to Pop to be whisked away on a global trip using local ingredients. I’m planning to be back in Brixton pretty sharpish!
Smoke & Salt
49 Brixton Station Road