Smoke & Barrels Opens—But Has Nothing To Do With That Other New Restaurant, Smoke & Barrel
If you’re getting a sense of deja-vu, you’re not alone. Soft opening today (25 August) is Smoke & Barrels (tagline: BBQ, Bourbon, Beignets), a brand new smokehouse launched by the same team behind coffee shops Doubleshot, The Cupping Room and new bakery La Viña. The restaurant, located in Central’s Graham Street—right next to La Viña—is a small venue focusing on grab-and-go sandwiches, in-house smoked meat platters, square pizzas and New Orlean-inspired alcoholic slushies.
Looking at the images of glistening beef brisket and hefty short-ribs, that sense of “I’ve seen that somewhere, I swear” may be down to the fact that earlier in August, we reported on another soon-to-open restaurant: Smoke & Barrel. By coincidence, the two restaurants are both located in Central and purport to focus on smokehouse favourites; Smoke & Barrel, however, will open in October and is a project by Chris Grare and Arron Rhodes of Kinship.
Nothing like a bit of friendly rivalry then—witness Smoke & Barrels' cheeky social media posts featuring hashtags such as #dontwaittilloctober—but at least both restaurants will be united in their pursuit of championing authentic American smokehouse meats. The size of each venue will also be pretty different—Smoke & Barrels feels decisively more like a casual outlet with 10 seats and an open kitchen, whereas Grare and Rhodes’ Smoke & Barrel will take over the expansive space previously occupied by Bjorn Franzten’s The Flying Elk.
Apart from highlight items such as their signature hot brisket, beef pastrami and American Heritage turkey breast, Smoke & Barrels will also selling items such as chicken avocado and gouda sandwiches, sausage banh mi and smoked salmon and cream cheese croissants—perhaps an easy way to remember which S&B is which is to imagine that the ’s’ in Barrels stands for “sandwiches”. Or, as their social media suggests, #theonewiththeS.
The team are also inserting a few local references here and there, with choi sum cooked collard greens style, plus pickled carrots and daikon to cut through the hefty meaty fare. In a nod to take-home culture, you can also purchased packaged smoke meats such as bacon and salmon to enjoy in your own abode.
The beverage menu is curated by Doubleshot’s creative consultant Chanel Adams, who was one of the founding members of the Hong Kong branch of PDT, and includes fun frozen cocktails such as the strawberry banana daiquiri and a frozen Irish coffee. They’ll also offer New Orleans-style iced coffee, if you’re not into queuing at nearby Blue Bottle Coffee for your fix of the creamy, chicory-laced brew.
When Smoke & Barrel finally opens in October, might we suggest a cheeky four-hands event to celebrate the two Central champions of smokehouse cuisine?
Smoke & Barrels, Shop 3, LG/F, My Central, 23 Graham Street, Central, Hong Kong; +852 96120988