Smoke & Salt, Brixton: restaurant review
Smoke & Salt navigates the transition from residency to restaurant with ease at its new Pop Brixton site, where we hoover up merguez-spiced lamb tartare and tomatoes with smoked ricotta
What's the draw
When a pop-up or residency transitions into a permanent site, there's always a possibility that the food simply won't translate, or won't live up to your rose-tinted expectations. Not so with Smoke & Salt, which set up its first bricks-and-mortar (or shipping-container) site in community space Pop Brixton this summer, where we had one of our most enjoyable meals of the year. Chefs and founders Remi Williams and Aaron Webster have developed a concept that revolves around ancient cooking techniques – hence the name – and their passion and creativity shines through in a menu of seasonal small plates.
What to drink
We popped in for lunch, so we went down the sensible route with just one glass of a spicy, easy-drinking Portuguese Opta 2014 red that blends together Portugal's best-known grapes – tinta roriz, touriga nacional and alfrocheiro. That said, we definitely had an eye on the Boston sour – a brilliant green concoction of Bulleit whiskey and sorrel – that looked undeniably gluggable, while other options included classic cucumber g&t and beers from Dalston's 40ft brewery.
What to eat
The menu here is small – but that's no bad thing, because you can try it all and then some. Our favourites were grilled sourdough from Brixton's Old Post Office Bakery, topped with tomatoes and smoked ricotta (yum), and Wiltshire lamb tartare dressed merguez-style with fermented harissa, radishes and oregano, served alongside labneh and unexpectedly delicious flatbreads (double yum). This was closely followed by grilled chicken tartine – the chicken brined for three hours – served with yet more sourdough and a daikon and carrot slaw, and trout cured with lemon and lime zest and cloves. The menu changes often so you might not find these exact dishes on your visit, but we can assure you you'll be in very safe hands.
Sharing plates from £6; wines from £5 by the glass. Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ; smokeandsalt.com