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Reekie's Smokehouse
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Reekie's Smokehouse
20 Holyrood Road,
Tues & Wed, Sat 11 - 6ish (or until they sell out); Thurs & Fri 11 - 8ish (or until they sell out)

It's not often I write up a meal and make myself hungry in the process, but the thought of Reekie's has got my stomach rumbling.

Where to start? The burnt ends are a must: chewy, well-seasoned chunks of beef, succulent if a little fatty. They're made from the point of the brisket which is cut off, rubbed with more meat dust and returned to the smoker before being drowned in a mix of gravy and beer to create 'meat royalty.' The brisket itself was outstanding - soft and delicious strings of beef languishing in a meaty marinade - and the ribs were also excellent.

Less impressive was the pulled pork, which lacked the same depth of flavour as similar offerings elsewhere in the city. The coleslaw was also underwhelming - just oversized shredded veg in insufficient mayo.  

However, I couldn't eat enough of the homemade baked beans; slightly al dente, coated in rich tomato sauce and accompanied by onions and tiny bits of burnt end. The paper-thin gherkins were sweet and moreish, but the huge portion of incredible chips, crisp at the edges and gently salted, were unbeatable. Every chip since has been a disappointment. 

One of Reekie's finest elements is their homemade condiments - a rare find in Edinburgh restaurants. The whisky jerk sauce, a combination of gentle burn, sizzling kick and aromatic tang, jostled for attention with the authentic French mustard and the ketchup's fantastic fresh tomato flavour. There was also BBQ, brown sauce and a number of hot sauces with eye-watering potential - not my bag, but I'd put money on them being top notch.  

We finished with an espresso and cold brew made from Home Ground beans - just the right side of bitter, the preparation of the coffee was exceptional for a place whose focus is on BBQ food. Their proper Scottish home baking, including insanely sweet brownies, cakes and slices, was also fantastic. I'd consider Reekie's for cake and coffee as much as for lunch.

Owners Craig and Felicity treated us to a plate that comprised essentially one of everything. If you're after something similar, choose the Doubler (two meats and two sides, plus chips £15.50). Reekie's makes for messy eating (who needs plates?) but if you appreciate genuine, friendly service and cheeky banter in a trendy environment completely free of pretence, I can't urge you to go there soon enough. (A Brewer) 

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