Restaurant review: Smoke, Leeds

Smoke Barbecue in Leeds. Pictures: Simon Hulme.
Smoke Barbecue in Leeds. Pictures: Simon Hulme.
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CARNIVORES are spoiled for choice in Leeds.

Restaurants such as Gaucho, Red’s True BBQ and Cattlegrid all cater for die-hard meat lovers.

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But there’s a new kid on the block that’s about to give them a run for their money.

Smoke opened at the Merrion Centre at the end of last year in a prime spot – just opposite the Leeds arena.

It’s a part of the Merrion Centre that seems to be booming at the moment, with Bulgogi Grill and LAB bar on either side of it.

Walking into the restaurant on the same night a big concert is taking place at the arena, we’re worried we won’t get a table.

But whilst the restaurant is busy, it’s such a huge space that it could cater for a big crowd.

We take a seat in a booth by the bar and are shown the menu by a friendly waiter.

Burgers are priced around £10, with toppings including mac and cheese, pulled pork and coleslaw and chilli.

There’s also a sweet potato and corn burger for the non-meat eaters (although that is the only vegetarian main dish on the menu). Chilli is also available and side dishes include smoke pit beans, jalapeño corn bread, onion strings, corn on the cob and mac and cheese, for £3 each.

But for those of you with bigger appetites, there are plates and sharers, which are served with chips and a side dish.

The ‘Pit Plate’ offers a choice of pulled pork, barbecue chicken, turkey leg or sausage for £11.

The ‘Brisket Plate’ for £16 includes brisket, burnt ends and brisket hash, with the meat spiced, rubbed and smoked for 18 hours.

There’s also a choice of rib plates and an 18oz rib eye on the bone for £24.

We decide to go for the ‘Smoke Sharer Plate’, with pulled pork, baby back ribs, barbecue turkey leg, chicken thighs, sausage, chips and a side of corn – for just £15 each.

When it arrives we are not disappointed.

The plate is piled high with meat, chips and a BBQ sauce on the side.

We waste no time and immediately tuck in.

The brisket, sausage and pulled pork stood out from the rest – all perfectly cooked without being dry, with a slight smoky, barbecue flavour.

Half-way through the platter we start to panic.

It seems we underestimated how much food we would get for the modest price tag, and have to admit defeat without even touching the turkey leg.

For £15 each, it’s an absolute bargain, and there’s no chance you’ll leave Smoke still feeling hungry.

It might be time for other barbecue restaurants to meat their match.

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