We headed over to Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen to have a look at Detroit megastar Seth Troxler’s new venture – Smokey Tails. We were expecting laid back pop-up, street food (it had previously been exactly that) but this was anything but. Think full five - course meal and specially tailored drinks: with Seth pertinently and poignantly spinning through Prince’s back catalogue, only hours after the bad news had dropped.
I suppose when members of the press arrive en-masse it’s in your interest to put on a spread, and they didn’t hold back. After Seth had introduced himself (turns out he is quite the host), and we had been plied with Prosecco, our almost-over-zealous waiter Billy presented us with some pulled pork buns.
If your plate and fingers are filthy after eating a pulled pork bun then you know you’ve been treated to a goodie. Sadly the fact that our plates were bone dry speaks for itself.
However, Grandma T’s fried chicken was a massive step up – spicy, juicy tastes of the south. Finger lickin’ good? You bet ya, big up Grandma T. Although, in all honesty the best thing about this course had to be the Detroit Cobra – Tequila, cucumber, chilli, lime and Mezcal float. Shut the front door Seth, that’s properly amazing. And I don’t even like cocktails.
The ever-willing Billy was only too happy to get another round in before the next course. And so to the veggie course - a mixture of smoked miso eggplant and eggplant puree accompanied by a cauliflower, chickpea, sorrel and baby leek salad. We’ve been to many a BBQ smokehouse type place where you’re lucky to get a side of congealed ‘slaw if you’re vegetarian. So Seth, we tip our hats to you in thanks for being so generous to the veggie cause. More than that, the eggplant (real name aubergine obviously) was killer – a proper effort and quite possibly the best thing we tasted. Served with an intimidatingly strong Negroni (the Madonna), the whole course was quite a treat. Nevertheless, we still ordered another round of Cobras.
And to Seth’s showcase piece, baby back ribs and fries. It’s a no frills affair, nothing pretentious about this one. We’re told the sauce remains a Troxler family secret: so much so that Seth brews it himself whilst even kid-in-a-sweet-shop Billy claims he doesn’t know the recipe. Bill my friend, I think we both know that’s a lie. Sadly, the chips are cold and the ribs are so small they wouldn’t even fill a Chihuahua.
We’re getting the impression some of Seth’s dishes are like some of his tracks – superficially appealing but lacking in substance. Having said all that, The Smokey Robinson (bourbon, bacon smoked bitters and maple syrup) does rescue the course. There’s a recurring theme here with the strong but oh so tasty drinks making up for what the food lacks. Perhaps Seth’s food is best served like his tracks – mashed.
Last but definitely not least is the chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce. It’s so good that the thought of the ribs is quickly banished to oblivion. Who doesn’t like salted caramel? It’s a winner every time and washed down with The Dilla (gin, lemon, ice tea and ginger), the meal ends on a high note. The food may have been up and down but Billy, Seth and those spectacular drinks made the evening a lot of fun, so thanks guys, see you next time.
Visit the Smokey Tails website HERE.
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