I was already very familiar with Smokestak from their street food days which is why going to their permanent place in Brick Lane wasn't something I rushed to do. I knew whenever I got around to going it would be a treat, and it was.
Obviously, with having a larger, immobile kitchen. they can branch out from ribs and their infamous brisket in a bun. But also why mess with classics so those are both on the menu, and we ordered both. The brisket bun is such a gloriously greasy, wobbly, deliciously meaty mess, with pickled chillis providing the sharp bite these barbecued meats need.
While the 'large' bun felt a little on the small side, the portion of ribs was generous - you get two sizeable ones, the smokiness of bbq infused throughout and the fat meltingly soft.
I kind of wanted to get some kind of vegetable side to counter all the meat but my dining companion was having none of it. We compromised on ordering the sea bream ceviche which we thought we'd try to save for when the meat came as that was sharp and citrussy but it stood no chance when it was put down in front of us. Such a pretty dish, we tried to hold off eating it but after the first bite it was impossible.
We also ordered the tempura padron peppers (perfectly battered, definitely an improvement on a classic) and then *we* (not me) impetuously added pigs' tails to the order without consultation. I thought this was a mistake and we'd be subjected to some weird gristly imposition in the mouth, like the pigs' ears we once had. I can't say I was mistaken exactly. Stephen absolutely loved them. To give them their due, they were unbelievably crisp and the molasseslike sauce they were coated in was great. But it just felt like all skin with a teensy bit of meat before you get to the knobbly bone. I wasn't a fan but he thought they were like even better pork scratchings and would probably come back purely for them.
Whereas I had food regret when spotting the potato rarebit as we left so intend to return to partake of that.