Mo & Jo get hot and sticky at Smokeworks

Food critics, MEAURICE AND JEAUSHAPHAT, get down and dirty at Smokeworks

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A crisp, Friday evening is basted in a warming, red glow; the sensual aromas of a fat-dripping pig pervade Meaurice’s elegant nose.

Jeaushaphat, wrapped in his fine-knit suit, salivating within the gob, ambles alongside. The tension between the two, simmers in the heat of a smoky cloud, as they ponder whether this establishment will provide the MeauJeau.

The location – Smokeworks (2 Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3QA); the occasion – Maurice and Jehoshaphat’s bi-centennial food orgy; the expectation – palpable.

Into the mad house

The twosome enter a packed restaurant-cum-bar. Joshurphat turns to his lover (of food) and declares, “My anticipation is mounting.” Mourice can barely manage a grimace – he hasn’t forgotten last year’s fishing trip, and for good reason.

The pair are approached by the most charming of Maîtres de Burgeria, who welcomes them with a word of warning about the wait. Mo and Jo take this time to slink off to a nearby bar for a Puligny Montrachet, 2007, and a pint of Ice Tea – cold, long and island. They are alerted to the availability of their table by a delightful novelty – a virtual queue that notifies the diner when their table is ready. “No need to loiter awkwardly,” notes Moris in his galuchat-leather notebook, as Josherpit loiters awkwardly nearby.

The stripped-back, urban-chic aesthetic, coupled with the general laidback-Luke feel of the joint sets the tone perfectly. Marice and Jehosafat slide into a secluded booth/boudoir, the perfect scene for a consumption of charred mammal-flesh.

The heroic duo are shown an extensive menu of Bourbons, ryes and corn-whiskeys, supplemented with a fine array of local and imported beers (“I recommend the Sazerac straight rye!”, Mau’rye’ce). “Yeeha, cowgirl,” quips Jo, revelling in the low-slung Southern American surroundings. “You know I don’t speak Swedish”, Mouryce mutters bitterly. A perusal of the menu ensues, accompanied by intimate conversation. It is packed full with offerings of sausage and robust meat. The menu is also interesting. The two eventually settle on “The Works Special”.

The platter arrives quickly, and they tuck in.

“What do you think?” Asks Jeau.

“Can I be frank?”, replies Meau.

“Of course, and can I be blunt?” Asks Jeau.

“Of course.”

Maurice in all his splendour

With the respective roles in their Frank Sinatra and James Blunt duo tribute band decided, the pair get down to addressing the food. The platter, on the whole, is excellent – a safari through the meaty delights that Smokeworks has to offer.

Although the rack of ribs is sold as a winner, other elements steal the show – the chicken wings, fried to perfection, and the original recipe sausage take top marks. The true pièce de résistance, however, is the corn on the cob, slathered in a butter made of crispy chicken skin and salt. “Nothing better than getting your teeth stuck into that cob!” cackles Jos‘Phat. Mauris winces; a bitter memory indeed.

After all the sweet-sticky heat of moist meat, there is a wide choice of cooling ‘shakes and ice-creams – although Maurice in particular was disappointed not to see a Mississippi Mud Pie, or some other type of sugary finish. Another bourbon does the job though!

For a reasonably priced £26 (PLENTY for two people, especially given the extra 15% student discount on top), Mo and Jo leave utterly sated, having gorged themselves on a full rack of ribs, pork and beef spiced sausage, 3 chicken wings, a pulled pork bun, a pulled pork bean stew, fresh pickles (great soaked in bourbon!) AND a heap o’ fries.

Overall, for roughly £15pp, you can have more than a good time in what is a lively, welcoming venue. Not ideal for veggies, although if you can stomach the carnivorous surroundings, there is a halloumi burger and a plethora of meat-free sides.

For students who like to eat out every now and then, Smokeworks really fits the bill.

MeauJeau achieved.