Situated in Christchurch's semi-industrial area of Waltham is the craft beer and brewhouse known as Brew Academy. Within this establishment is the slow-cooked meat heaven of Smoke n' Barrel Street Food n' Catering.
Operating as a now-permanent resident in the Brew Academy, but who continue to offer their much-renowned catering services, Smoke n' Barrel has grown in popularity with a strong local following of meat connoisseurs.
Smoke 'n' Barrel Street Food 'n' Catering is the brainchild of chefs Chris Geary and Cory Blackburn. The duo met in January 2O17 while working in a café in the Christchurch CBD.
It was here that they began discussing their mutual passion for traditional cooking and 'slow food'. Chris built his first barrel smoker from a hot water cylinder and became a regular fixture on the market scene, festivals and events around Canterbury.
Since then the company has developed humble catering menus, and in August 2O18 opened a container restaurant in downtown Christchurch.
It wasn't long after that a more permanent fixture was needed and at the iconic Riccarton Sunday Market the team joined forces with Brew Academy, pairing their smoky treats with excellent craft beer and brewing classes and how have a joint establishment in Waltham.
Recently there has been the inclusion of a 'Sunday Roast' to their offering and a few of our friends decided we should very much experience this in all its glory.
After booking online either via Facebook, Instagram or phone (phone always being the best and most direct method) we congregated at 2pm to check out the Sunday Roast menu.
Usually varying from week to week, our week, we were lucky enough to have beef brisket as our meat option. The sides included thrice-cooked taters, fresh bread roll, roast vegetables, home-made gravy and of course barrel-smoked beef brisket.
Orders were placed quite promptly with the men getting straight up to make a tough selection of which craft beer to drink from the Brew Academy bar, quicker than you can say 'Louisiana'.
With a reasonable wait, the roasts began to make their anticipated appearance. One board was shared between three people (not too sure how the guys felt about this as many wanted a board for themselves). A new experience for me was what appears to be beef crackling on the board. What a treat this was.
Plates were distributed beforehand, however were quite a small size (the kind you may put a scone on) this wasn't too much of an issue to us girls, however, the boys were once again knocked back with this news.
On to the food. The food could not be faulted. It was by far one of the best roasts we had all had in years. With many of the table hailing from England and Ireland the stakes were set pretty high for a decent Sunday roast, and Smoke n' Barrel did not fail to deliver in the flavour and taste.
The meat was melt in your mouth coupled with the flavoursome gravy, the tatters were crispy and golden, the bread roll freshly baked and the roasted vegetable medley of broccoli, parsnip, carrots, pumpkin and courgettes were charred beautifully.
All in all an absolute win! The only criticism from the gents was plate size ("no one wants to eat dinner on a tea plate") and portions for the men of the table, which were fine for us women. That said, perhaps the men just needed to fill up a little more on craft beers?
Cost wise at $20 a head you cannot go wrong. Smoke n' Barrel Sunday roasts runs from 2pm - 7pm and it is recommended to book so you are not disappointed.
Exterior of Smoke n' Barrel & Brew Academy (photo from Smoke n' Barrel Instagram)