The Smokehouse first opened it’s doors to the Uckfield public back in April this year. Serving a cross between American Diner and Tex Mex Style food Uckfield has been crying out for this style of family friendly dining for some time. In it’s short life the Smokehouse has seen mixed reviews, however, Craig Barkham has recently taken over and has already implemented positive changes with several further exciting developments in the pipeline. Last weekend my family and I visited Craig at the Smokehouse to hear about his plans, and to taste some of his most popular dishes.
We visited the Smokehouse on a Sunday lunchtime. There were a handful of other families and a couple dining in the same sitting. The atmosphere was very welcoming, laid back and relaxing. Smooth FM was playing on a TV…the volume minimal and easily avoidable if you prefer a quiet dining experience. The dining area was smart, clean and laid up ready for diners to be seated. We were warmly welcomed by both Craig and a very smiley bar girl, Georgia. We chose to sit at the front of the restaurant where there was more floor space for our toddler to potter about. Despite being slightly awkward in our request to sit in an area not laid up for diners we were made to feel at ease and the table was quickly prepared for us to sit down.
Our drinks orders were taken straight away on sitting down. We were left to browse menu’s for a short period of time before our drinks were delivered to the table. We were offered drinks on several occasions throughout the meal. Matt decided to indulge in one of the Smokehouse’s famous Oreo milkshakes (£4.50) which was made at the bar with ice cream and whipped cream and again served promptly….and tasted UN-believeable!
The children were offered a wide choice of mains and two side on their own Kids Menu all for a very reasonable £4.95. They went for a Sloppy Joe Burger with chips and corn on the cob. Leon was absolutely thrilled with his own petite burger and thought the wide choice of sides was a refreshing change to the chips and beans that so many other kids menus offer.
Matt chose The Italian Stallion: (£9) a hearty Angus burger with cured meats, tomato, basil salad and mozzarella. This came with a small ‘bucket’ of chips, brioche bun and a side salad. The portion was generous and the burger succulent.
I enjoyed a traditional Sunday beef roast (£11.95). The plate was absolutely overflowing with everything you’d wish to see on a roast: fat, crispy potatoes; soft, but green broccoli; perfectly cooked, colourful carrots; Yorkshire puds filled to the brim with rich gravy; and tender slices of beef. I shared my roast with my 15 month old and we both thoroughly enjoyed it.
Daisy chose to have a chocolate ice cream (£4.50) which came in a Knickerbocker style glass piled with chocolate sauce and cream. Certainly put a smile on her face! It’s just worth mentioning that there are no desserts included in the Kids Menu and that these are charged in addition to their main dishes.
The boys both chose Waffles with ice cream (£4.50). The waffles were served warm and the combination of the ice cream and cream worked perfectly.
The service at the Smokehouse was infallible. We were greeted with smiles and a warm welcome and this continued throughout our visit, both food and drinks were delivered promptly which is just SO important when dining with young children. We received a meal check each time food and even drink (in the case of the milkshake) arrived at the table. Most importantly with 3 children we felt comfortable that the odd outburst, drink spill or sibling scuffle was accepted and not frowned upon, by staff or fellow diners. Our kids are all absolute wiggle bums and between the 3 of them they must have done 15 laps of the restaurant in an hour’s sitting – in some venues you just know this isn’t the kind of behaviour they like to tolerate but the vibe at the Smokehouse is so laid back and friendly that those anxieties were completely absent on this experience.
I’m really excited to see Craig’s plans for the Smokehouse for the next few months. When we visited he was busy transforming rooms at the back of the property into Bed and Breakfast accommodation, again, something Uckfield is desperately crying out for! Craig plans to set up a meat smoker at the back of the venue where he can prepare meat specials on a daily basis. He is also in the finishing stages of putting together a new menu for the New Year. I’m really impressed by Craig’s enthusiasm for the future of the Smokehouse, he’s currently offering a wide range of fantastic promotions and quiz nights through the Smokehouse facebook page….including kids eat free offers and up to 25% off bills. Make sure you like the Smokehouse page to keep up to date with current offers.
If you haven’t visited before, now is the perfect time to check out The Smokehouse….and if you have been before let me know what you think of the recent changes. I know I’m planning on being right at the front of the queue when those freshly home smoked meats arrive!