East London

Published on September 5th, 2016 | by Gavin


Smokey Tails, Hoxton Square

Smokey Tails, Hoxton Square Gavin

Summary: Successful transformation from pop up into a great BBQ restaurant


I first came across Smokey Tails at the grand opening of street food stalwart Night Tales two years ago. But it wasn’t the sweet smell of slow cooked meat that had Smokey Tails on everyone’s lips; it was in fact the news that electronic music god Seth Troxler was to play a set that evening.  However, what I didn’t know at the time was that Seth is a massive BBQ fan, and Smokey Tails was his creation. Things have come a long way since that cold November evening in 2014, as I was invited down to Hoxton Square to visit their first permanent location; and the food was even better than the soundtrack!

As expected, Smokey Tails isn’t subtle in its approach to dining. The music’s pumping, most of my fellow diners look poised to rave into the early hours; and it’s located within the confines of a Shoreditch dive bar. If you’re looking for silver service, look elsewhere, but I’m on the hunt for well-prepared home style BBQ, and I’ve hit the jackpot.

One of my biggest nuisances with BBQ joints is that menus are too vast, but thankfully Smokey Tails have kept it short, yet offers enough variety to keep most happy. It’s a similar story with the cocktail menu, so I couldn’t resist an Iggy Pop (tequila, aperol, apple/cranberry juice) before dinner.

Smokey Tails

Food here is served tapas style, so we order a bit of everything from small plates and salads, to a couple of larger dishes. Staples such as chicken wings (£5.50), ribs (£8.50), and mac n cheese (£4.50) are all recommended, however there’s a couple of surprising gems that really steal the show.

Firstly, the smoked lamb belly croquettes (£4.50) are excellent; just the right amount of crunch and they’ve kept the oil to a minimum.  I must admit to not being a big lover of lamb, but the meat is as flavoursome and tender as any pulled pork dish I’ve tried.

Smokey Tails Hoxton

You may be surprised to learn that the other star dish isn’t barbeque at all, in fact, it’s not even cooked! The tomato and burrata salad (£7) is sublime, and as a bonafide smokehouse freak, it speaks volumes that the salad outshone the other great options on offer. It was all down the slow roasted tomatoes that offset the tart burrata perfectly, and had me clamouring for more, ignoring the many meaty delights that were delivered soon after.

Burrata Salad

Desserts aren’t a speciality here, but if you like your sweets extra sweet, the chocolate brownie smothered in salted caramel sauce (£5.50) is a fitting end to the evening.

Adjusting from pop up to a fully fledged restaurant is a challenging task; and Smokey Tails has successfully made the transition. On top of that, they’ve also moved out of the shadow of their popular owner, and can now be considered a great BBQ joint in its own right-the phrase ‘dinner party’ has never been more accurate.


Smokey Tails, 2-4 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU

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About the Author

Born and raised in Croydon, South London, Gavin is a lover of cocktails, a passionate foodie, and a self-proclaimed ‘dancing god’. A (relatively) normal guy that decided to start blogging about his experiences around the city he loves.

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