Even though I’ve worked in Wakefield for over ten years, it’s not a place I tend to spend much extra curricular time in. Apart from getting my cultural fix from The Hepworth Gallery and The Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and also the odd farm shop (Blacker Hall Farm) I’ve never really given it a chance in terms of places to eat and drink. My friend had mentioned a place just off the Bullring near Westgate Train station called Smokehouse on Wood Street.
Smokehouse opened in April earlier this year and seems to be following a trend of eateries – American inspired BBQ food, of which in Leeds I can compare it too Reds True BBQ, IT Bar and Cattle Grid to name a few!!! More and more restaurants are jumping on the bandwagon so I was interested to see their take in this niche market.
We’d gone there after work and arrived very early, so there was only another couple in at the time. Carnivores are kept happy and well served by their menu consisting of small plates, such as nachos and salt & pepper squid, there’s also ribs, a range of steaks and food served in bread meaning burgers. Vegetarians are also catered for with a small selection of delights like their Fun Guy Burger.
I hadn’t eaten all day, apart from a few naughty pieces of all-butter shortbread so I was absolutely ravenous, after a good look at the menu I went for some chicken wings, followed by a cheese burger, fries and slaw. While my friend decided on caper prawns and the pulled pork with fries. All the food looked spot on and we quickly dived right in.
The chicken wings were fried till golden brown and were covered in plenty of well seasoned crust which had excellent flavour, salt and pepper as advertised. The chicken was very juicy, moist and delicious!! A decent portion too, a great start!! My friends’ prawns were also well cooked, with a lovely thin golden batter, the tiger prawns were still juicy and had a yummy caper mayonnaise that really helped to cut through the richness of the deep friedness (yes, I know that’s not a real word) of our starters. Not long after we’d finished our starters the burger and pulled pork were brought over, accompanied by the side of slaw and the house condiments, a selection of sauces and mayonnaise. I was hoping these were just as tasty as our starters and we weren’t disappointed. Both the burger and pulled pork came housed in their in-house bread buns and were accompanied by a healthy portion of fries.
My burger and fries hit all the right notes with crisp fries, the burger was very yummy, especially the patty which was made of lean beef with chorizo and smoked ham. I loved having the spicy smokiness of the chorizo and ham running through the beef, something new that I hadn’t tried before. I might just have to have a go at making some at home!! With the fresh crunch from the salad and the acidity of the pickle it made it really enjoyable! A lovely soft burger bun, a bit on the large size for the patty, but nonetheless tasted good. My friend seemed to really like her pulled pork bun and I tried some of the meat and I must say it was rather tasty, I think I’ll be trying it next time. I’d ordered a slaw on the side, a bit of an odd choice for me as I’m not normally a fan of coleslaw. I tend to find it too sickly, but this was very yummy, something I never thought I would say about slaw!! What was really nice was the addition of chunks of fresh apple which added a zing and helped to cut its richness. From the additional condiments we tried the Chipotle Mayo and the Stupid Sauce, I thought both were great, the mayo was creamy with a hint of sourness, but also with a nice smoky heat from the jalapeno pepper. The Sticky Sauce was really intense with spice and heat, a bit too much for my taste, but I can see it could have many fans with its really punchy flavour.
We were also given the added bonus of some free cocktails as they were doing some cocktail training that evening, very good they were too.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised about what they’ve got on offer here at Smokehouse. The menu is a decent size with lots of choice for the carnivore, hopefully in the future they’ll develop more options for non-meat eaters and it would also be fantastic if they could be more transparent with what’s gluten free on the menu.
In matters other than the food, our meal for two cost £35 for food and drinks without service charge.
If you are in the Wakefield area Smokehouse will serve you well with a decent bit of food, good drinks and a full stomach. I’d recommend it! Over the last few years Wakefield has suffered since Bretton Campus, part of University of Leeds shut down in 2007 losing a lot of student custom. From talking to other Wakefield folk it seems that Wakefield has some restaurants that need to be tried out and given a chance, I’ll make sure I start doing that.
Food: Tasty and well cooked!!
Service: Staff were friendly, likeable and really have an interest in providing a good service to customers in terms of good food and drink.
Atmosphere: Was quiet at the time but we did eat at 5pm!! Has a good looking bar and main dining room