Rök, Shoreditch London
Placed humbly in the Shadow of the metropolitan heights of Liverpool Street on the edge of Shoreditch RÖK Smokehouse has the feeling of a secret retreat, a break from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding environment. The first observation (and factor that had made it essential for us to book a table), was the size. The whole restaurant has only thirty covers, with an additional four bar stools for those waiting to be seated or just enjoying a drink.
The interior is heavily influenced by Scandi design, as one would expect from a Nordic barbeque smokehouse, yet its subtly executed so that the restaurant’s unique character remains evident. The walls have been stripped down to the brickwork and exposed services, but heavily coated in white emulsion that is carried down to meet the reclaimed timber floor boards. The bar has a chevron reclaimed timber front and counter, with four gorgeous ribbed glass bar pendants hanging above. The back bar was a creative arrangement of wooden shelves some housing drink bottles and spirits but also a fantastically simple yet homely display of jam jars, contain an array of pickled goods.
We were sat in front of the open kitchen, with vivid views of the roaring barbeque flames licking up towards the canopy. Both the back bar and the open kitchen are fronted with the same shelving decked with jars and bottles, making the kitchen a fantastic focal point upon entering the restaurant. The kitchen pass is a solid concrete top that adds to the raw and honest aesthetic making all the food waiting to get piacked up, look mouth wateringly appetising.
The staff are fantastic; relaxed, efficient and pleasant with a fantastic knowledge of the menu. The whole concept of the restaurants is sharing, so plates are bought out with meals so each dish can be divided and consumed communally; the menu itself was conjured by Birmingham-born Matt Young and even contains parts of the owner’s own family recipes. We were recommended to get a cut of meat and a side each and a jar of pickles to cut through the richness of the rest of the meal. We went for the Duck leg in lingonberry and bacon and lamb with fennel puree with grated braesola cauliflower cheese and burnt sweet potato sides. After polishing off our meal and enjoying a few cocktails we regretfully departed from RÖK smokehouse.
A fantastic interior and equally, if not more fantastic, food. It no wonder RÖK is in everyone’s diaries as a must see.