Recently Peckham has been racing ahead the capital’s foodie stakes, but now the SE London hot spot has some serious competition from the other side of the Thames. Just one stop shy of Stratford lies Hackney Wick – an au current collection of warehouse flats, edgy creative types and culinary gems led by new-kid-on-the-pop-up-block Smokey Tails.
Hot Dinners were invited down to the launch of the new riverside restaurant last Thursday. With promises of smoked meats, an abundance of cocktails and a wooden sun deck, we jumped on the ‘ginger line’ and happily headed east.
Smokey Tails is the brainchild of six collaborators including super star DJ Seth Troxler and Jo Vidler (one of the team behind popular festivals, the Secret Garden Party and Wilderness) so it was unsurprising that we were led to its entrance by the insistent hum of electro beats. The party had seemingly started without us – hipsters sat hip-by-hip on long communal benches overlooking the River Lea, a good looking crowd congregated by the bar; and a well-heeled queue snaked across the raised decking waiting patiently for some serious BBQ.
The current plan is for Smokey Tails to be open from Thursday to Sunday for the rest of summer, serving smoked meats slow-cooked on the grill, salads, frozen cocktails, guest ales and desserts. Encouraged by the general party mood surrounding us, we started with a knock out aperol-laced concoction and frozen cocktail sour and sweet with sugar and lime - both delicious and lethal in equally (large) measures.
We loved the pulled pork bun sticky with barbeque sauce (a recipe passed on by Seth Troxler’s grandfather), served with a crunchy broccolini and bean salad coated in garlic and chilli and ruby red slices of tomato sprinkled with lemon and salt. Though a hunk of meaty ribs came a close second. Sides of Boston Beans and Mac n’ Cheese were good too, the former singing with cinnamon and the latter sporting a pleasing cheesy crust. We also managed to squeeze in an excellent Eton Mess, with homemade-tasting chewy chucks of meringue and a bittersweet chocolate tart.
As the sun started to go down and the volume on the sound system up, a small crowd of determined girls formed an impromptu dance floor in front of the DJ ‘shed’. With thoughts of work the next day and the train journey back to central we took this as our cue to leave. But not before making a mental note to return on a non-school night when we could join the party…
Smokey Tails is open Thursday 1pm to midnight and Friday to Sunday 11am to midnight in the Container Yard, 119 Wallis Road, London, E9 5LN until the end of summer, so probably around the 30th October.