I hadn't been to Spitalfields Market in a while, but when I went back a few weekends ago, I happened on loads of new food stalls. At least, they were new to me. One of them was a food stall run by Rök Smokehouse & Bar. They've got two proper restaurant locations in London; one in Upper Street and one in Shoreditch. Their menu is influenced by old Nordic cooking techniques and they specialise in cured and brined meat dishes which are all cooked on fire and most of them are accompanied by fermented and pickled side dishes. Heart warming dishes for winter weather like duck pate with knackebrod, pork with carawaykraut and pigeon with Jerusalem artichokes.
Their Spitalfields operation offers a stripped down and simplified menu with a choice of cheese toasties, Swedish meatballs, a pumpkin soup, duck burger and a mackerel bagel as well as a few side dishes. I asked for a taster of the soup as it wasn't your standard pumpkin soup and I wasn't entirely sure I would like it. It was made of pickled pumpkin and also contained pepperoni sausage, hazelnuts and goat's cheese. I personally thought the sausage flavour was a bit overbearing so I went for the Swedish meatballs. A good choice that was.
These balls are no Ikea balls. These meatballs were prepared with pork and venison mince and served on a pile of mashed potatoes, topped with lavish spoonfuls of gravy, and garnished with lingonberries, dried onions and pickled cucumbers. I would've never thought of adding berries to meatballs, but the mix of the sweet and sour flavours of the toppings really complemented the savoury flavours of the meat and mash.
Rok's Spitalfields food did leave me with a taste for more, and I will make sure to put a visit to either Rok Upper Street or Rok Shoreditch on my places to go list for 2018.