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Eat My Words: We tried Smoke & Co’s £50 meat platter for two in Ramsgate

I wonder what our ancestors would make of the sheer quantity of meat we have at our disposal and ready to dine on these days.

Regardless, I’m ridiculously excited to make the drive up to Ramsgate on a sodden Saturday afternoon to indulge at Smoke & Co, one of the county’s newest smokehouses.

Reporter Max Chesson at Smoke & Co in Ramsgate
Reporter Max Chesson at Smoke & Co in Ramsgate

Just down the road from the Westwood Cross shopping centre, the meat-lovers’ paradise is beginning to make a name for itself.

As one might expect from a food company called Smoke & Co, there’s a certain style of cooking they use and with that comes the aroma of barbecued food the second you walk in the door.

The friendly waitress offers a smile and clears the table. Behind my partner and I are a group of three teenagers all losing their marbles over how good the food is – we’re off to a strong start already.

Tables can be hard to come by, partly because the restaurant isn’t so much a restaurant but more a takeaway which happens to offer a small inside section.

The Smoke & Co menu
The Smoke & Co menu

But tables of up to four can be booked via the website and, from the sounds of it, requests for more people can be accommodated with enough warning.

The interior is fresh with a neon green sign illuminating the polished wooden tables, while you can watch the cooks at work in the kitchen through a glass screen.

Despite the mouth-watering offers of XXL hot dogs and smashed patty burgers, I’ve had the meat platter on my mind – and I’m not about to be swayed at the last minute.

Sliced beef brisket, smoked pulled pork, jalapeno smoked sausage, smoked ribs, smoked pulled brisket, smoked chicken and smoked mac n’ cheese – it’s certainly not for the faint of heart.

Smoke & Co's meat platter for two
Smoke & Co's meat platter for two

The size of what comes out on the plate astonishes me. Pictures can’t do it justice but just the sight of it cures that hunger a little bit.

While a bit of a handful to get on top of, the chicken still on the bone and ribs prove to be worth the effort.

Elsewhere on the plate, my knife carves through the brisket with ease, tearing apart the delicate beef which is tender and has hints of BBQ.

I feel like a savage, hunched over and ripping apart pieces of animals for my own pleasure – but with each bite I forget about my sins and find myself hypnotised by the handiwork of the chefs.

Smoke & Co gets the flavours all right
Smoke & Co gets the flavours all right

The idea of this place is to offer that smoky flavour across various cuts of food, which is done with such success a lot of the dishes have similar undertones which define the place.

With their blackened skins, the meats almost merge into one – which keeps me on my toes, especially when mixing briskets with ribs and chicken.

The sausage isn’t too spicy and is gentle in flavour, with the well-cooked skin keeping all the juices in, ready to explode in your mouth when you bite.

Sometimes, restaurants can get into the trap of obnoxiously overusing ingredients like cheese, which if you’re not the biggest fan can actually be a turn-off.

Tucked away just down the road from Westwood Cross, Smoke & Co is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it location.
Tucked away just down the road from Westwood Cross, Smoke & Co is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it location.

I’m pleased to report Smoke & Co isn’t guilty of this, with the ratio of macaroni to cheese being finely tuned to the tastebuds.

With the meat platter, we are offered three sides and three sauces.

For sauces, we opt for hot pineapple, smokey Korean BBQ and smokey house gravy – and coleslaw, onion rings and house-seasoned fries for sides.

All of this is in fine working order and helps accentuate the flavours of the meat while having their own quirks. I’m particularly impressed and surprised by the hot pineapple sauce.

The Smoke & Co sides are generous too
The Smoke & Co sides are generous too

If I were to nitpick, there was one slight issue when it came to ordering. I wanted spicy shrimp - another star of the menu - as one of my three sides and would have been happy to pay a bit extra for it. But as it is classed as a special side, I was told it is not part of the £50 meat platter deal - so I had to order it on top of the three regular sides.

The drinks offering is basic but sufficient with a few variations of Coke or Fanta in cans or bottles of water – the attention is firmly on the meat in this place.

It’s coming up to four months open for the Smoke & Co team and I have to say I’m impressed.

Despite the business being relatively new, you can tell there’s a lot of experience in the kitchen with all the chefs pulling in the same direction to hone their craft and passion.

Smoke & Co is new to the area, having only been open four months
Smoke & Co is new to the area, having only been open four months

The rewards must be satisfying, and to see so many people offer kind words about their meals will hopefully encourage these artists to continue to provide some of the tastiest, most succulent meats in the county.

Long may they last. It’s an exciting time to be a meat eater.

Out of five:

Food: Given I’ve waxed lyrical about the meal, I think five stars should come as no surprise *****

Drink: It’s a skeleton crew of beverages but they do the job ***

Decor: Tidy and fresh with seats and a table – what more do you need? *****

Staff: Friendly, good at their jobs and forgave us for asking for a doggy bag *****

Price: Two drinks, a special side and a meat platter for two came out at £60. It’s not cheap, but I’d say it’s worth it ****

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