UPDATE: SmokeWorks are no longer part of Cambscuisine.
The opening of a second SmokeWorks on Station Road is great news for BBQ lovers and fans of the restaurant. A bigger kitchen means they can offer an expanded menu such as brunch and dessert options. All of the SmokeWorks favourites are still on the menu, with some items only available at this sister restaurant. They take reservations at this location – bonus!
Executive Head Chef Vladimir Hromek is still at the helm with his expertise in the culinary arts. His vast knowledge of traditional and modern BBQ techniques, complemented by extensive travel and research, brings the authentic flavours and textures to SmokeWorks. They have their own smokers and ovens imported from the US and they smoke, pull, brine and season their own classic BBQ food.
There’s no denying SmokeWorks is a meat lover’s paradise but there are some non-meat options such as salads, fish, eggs and vegetable dishes.
The building gives SmokeWorks the room it deserves to thrive. There is ample seating, spread out over two floors, with a nice bar area for drinks, cocktails and nibbles.
As with all restaurants in the Cambscuisine group, the interior design is stunning. The décor features science fantasy, technology and industrial elements. The wheel cogs on the wall not only reflect SmokeWorks’ logo but also the train theme, a nod to the restaurant’s location on Station Road, near Cambridge train station.
The steampunk inspiration continues to the basement with sci-fi aspects that remind me of the interior of Doctor Who’s TARDIS and the Daleks (the stools).
As with SmokeWorks on Free School Lane and MillWorks, this location is also equipped with their clever turn-of-the-switch call for service.
Paulo and I started off with some drinks: Amstel lager on draught for him and for me, a Basil Grande cocktail featuring vodka & raspberry liqueur, strawberries, cranberry juice, fresh basil leaf on top and a sprinkling of black pepper. So good, I had two!
Having been to the first SmokeWorks more times than we can count (blog post here) and tried everything, we focused on the two dishes on the main menu that were original to the Station Road location.
The roasted bone marrow, topped with pulled beef brisket and served with toast was a feast for the eyes and palate. There’s even an option to add a shot of bourbon, with the empty bone acting as a luge to down the bourbon (I wasn’t brave enough to try it).
As always, I couldn’t resist their famous beef dripping mash. Yes, I am a proud member of the #beefdrippingmashclan !
The bone marrow from the small plates menu was more of a starter, so I also ordered the smoked & pulled beef brisket in a bun with sweet potato fries. The meat was tender with a juicy consistency from being pulled after hours of brining and smoking. The bun was also stuffed with pickles, slaw and BBQ mayo.
Paulo loved the low ‘n’ slow brisket “steak” served with rocket, radish and chilli salad. The cut of meat was excellent, with the right amount of marbling and fat-to-meat ratio, in line with US-style briskets. This is a real treat here in the UK. The word “steak” is an interpretation (hence the quotation marks) as it’s really a thick slice of the brisket that’s been grilled on both sides to resemble a steak. Great presentation and flavour!
Paulo had room for dessert so he chose the Muddy Mess, a decadent chocolate brownie with marshmallows and vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce. The bourbon flavour, as described in the menu, wasn’t noticeable. However, I had a taste and the whole dish was delicious and not overly sweet. An excellent espresso rounded out the meal.
Service, in true Cambscuisine style, was friendly and welcoming. Some servers were more experienced than others so there was a bit of a learning curve, as is to be expected with a new opening, but the team worked well together. However, even when our switch stopped functioning, we were still able to get great service. I’m looking forward to trying their brunch menu and I’m sure you’ll find me sipping cocktails in the lovely bar area at some point!
Cambscuisine invited me to attend the launch. The food was complimentary but the drinks were at my own cost. I did not receive compensation for my review. All views are my own.
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