Last week I was invited to "get dirty" with Smoke Barbecue and try out their new menu in the Leeds restaurant. Having been to a taster event before I wasn't expecting to be shown to my own table and have a full size meat platter for me and a friend - it was a great evening and of course, very generous. Meat and Beer on a Thursday night, what could be better?
I've walked past Smoke BBQ on a few occasions as it's on the outside of the Merrion Centre right next to the parking for the First Direct Arena, making it a perfect pre-concert dinner choice. The restaurant is deceivingly big and has a really nice vibe, I was a big fan of the industrial style interior. The staff were really friendly and the service was great throughout the evening which is always an important factor when you're eating somewhere new.
When we arrived we were told how the evening would unfold and offered a choice of two different beers, plus three tasters of the draught ales on offer. We both opted for a bottle of Freedom Authentic Lager, a UK craft beer (I think..) and it was a refreshing change from my usual gin and tonic. I usually only drink beer at a gig or a festival because it's cheap and lasts longer than spirits, but after enjoying the Freedom lager I actually had another beer the following night. There was also some tasty barbecue popcorn served alongside the drinks - I'm not sure if that's a regular thing but it was definitely a nice accompaniment.
Next we moved onto the main event, the Smoke Sharer Plate, this platter was literally every meat lovers dream. There was a mini pulled pork burger, baby back ribs, chicken thighs, house hot link sausage and the biggest barbecued turkey leg you've ever seen as well as chips and coleslaw. I mean it takes a lot for me to say I'm over-faced by food, as you know I'm a major foodie, but even I was close.
For £15 each (if you're sharing between two people) you get so much for your money, especially in comparison to somewhere like Nandos's. Plus, if you're anything like me and can never decide on a meal, a sharing platter is perfect as you get to try a little bit of everything.
I think the firm favourite on our table was the sausage, it was delicious. We're both fans of a German bratwurst at the Christmas market and it was a similar taste with a barbecue twist - so good! I also loved the steak slices, I'm not quite sure what they're called as I can't spot them listed on the menu but they literally melted in your mouth. We all know there's nothing worse than chewy meat but it was cooked to perfection.
Obviously you can't go wrong with ribs and chicken wings and the twice cooked chips were just how I like them - crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. They were perfect dipped in the Smoke BBQ sauce which I'm grateful the waiter pointed out to us as we sat down as I'm not usually a fan of barbecue sauce.
By the time we worked our way round to the huge turkey leg (honestly, it was massive - I wish I'd taken a picture of it next to my face so you could see the extent of how big it was) we were pretty stuffed. It's not a platter for the faint hearted that's for sure but definitely a place to visit if you fancy a meat feast.
I honestly thought that after we'd finished eating our main course it was the end of the evening - I was wrong. Dessert followed and was a mini sharing board of chocolate brownie, peanut butter cheesecake, rocky road and vanilla ice cream. I'm a strong believer that there's always room for dessert so of course I tried them all. The rocky road was unbelievable, I would 100% recommend, the gooey marshmellow on top was the part that sold it for me.
If you're a Leeds local or just a visitor for the evening it's a great place to go and check out, there's also a restaurant in Sheffield too. Let me know your thoughts if any of you have been!