Black Smoke restaurant for BBQ lovers in Antwerp

When I think of BBQ I think of high summer hot evenings in my dad's garden. Dad in charge of the fire and mum bringing a constant feed of plates with marinated meat from the kitchen. BBQ is holy at my house, a summer without one is a bad summer. We still talk about the years we didn't do a BBQ. There were only two in the last two decades. Every BBQ has to end with an almost ritual throwing of 'herbes de provence' on the last smoldering coals so the night would be perfumed with our culinary meat feast.

At Black Smoke you get BBQ'ed meat too, but this is a big step up from our summer food adventures (no offence dad). A step in the US direction. Meat is prepared 'slow and low' on smokers and 'hot and fast' on grills. Don't jump on that plane yet when you are craving a Texas Style brisket.

When you arrive you walk through strips of plastic - butcher shop style -  and you are greeted by a well instagramed neon pig. Around the corner is 'Hell's Kitchen' with butcher's tools hanging from the wall behind, where pitmasters are teaming the wild fires. You immediately get that Smokehouse feeling. From there you walk along a wall with stacked pieces of wood, each grouped per type of tree. Every tree gives a different flavour to the smoking, berch and oak are different, cherry wood is sublime.

The decor at Black Smoke is all exposed brick walls, wooden furniture and dimmed lights. The benches are not that comfortable, but who leans back when you eat a dripping pulled pork bun?

You just want to say 'dude' to the tattooed waiters, although that might be a bit too US style in Antwerp.

Black Smoke is part of De Koninck brewery food complex. The great artisan food producers that surround the restaurant are all reflected in the menu: De Koninck beer is present both in the glass and in the recipes (that beer sausage!), you find cheeses from 'Van Tricht' on the menu, the bread comes from 'The Bakery' and the premium meat straight from top butcher 'De Laet & Van Haver' on the ground floor.

I skipped the 'fire-starters', remembering the mountain of nachos I had at their pop-up bar. My table mate had the smoked goat bruschette and despite some protests I did manage to sneakily have a bite or two... it was delish! Goat cheese smoked on cherry wood from the fabulous Van Tricht cheesemongers came with a touch of balsamico and red beet syrup on sourdough bread from The Bakery. Next time I am not skipping the fire-starter!

I had the pulled pork, a dish that has been on every foodies plate for the last years, but the Black Smoke one comes on a fancy brioche bun that makes it extra sweet to taste. The meat was heaven-sent, the BBQ sauce infused with De Koninck beer so moorish and the sides weren't bad either. We had baked sweet potatoes dripping with maple syrup and sweet 'n sour jalapeno, the flavour will linger in my head the whole week. My friend got the grilled Angus beef, with a Bearnaise sauce, a classic! And I stole most of his spicy potato wedges with chipotle ketchup. Sorry, not sorry.

Definitely go for the heart stopper dessert: an eclair filled with Jack Daniel's infused vanilla cream, topped with a glaze of dulce leche and bacon pecan crumble. Not cheap but the only way to end your US BBQ experience in Antwerp.

If you are not a meat lover, no worries, there is BBQ fish on the menu too. And a smoked Mexican salad for vegetarians - thanks for the disclaimer guys!

Black Smoke was one of the big restaurant openings in 2016 and much appreciated after the success of their summer pop-up bar. Great to see they are still rocking and rolling, they even opened a Black Smoke Bar now. I haven't been to the bar yet, but hey you, bourbon cocktail, I will try you soon!

It can get really busy here, especially in the evening, but they have an online reservations system where you can see immediately what time slot is free.  

Black Smoke is another fine example of what De Koninck brewery site has to offer on quality food spots. It a place with guts and great food. Expect to leave a bit smelling like a BBQ that smokes all night, but that is part of the whole experience.

What is the vibe? 
Great to go with friends and family, very chill atmosphere, can be busy.
When Summer is back you can have the BBQ experience on the rooftop too.

What is on the menu?
hello, BBQ meat of course (and fish and a smoking good salad)

When to visit?
Wed-Sat: lunch 12-1430hr and dinner 18-22hr
Sun brunch 12-15hr and Sun dinner 18-22hr

Boomgaardstraat 1
2018 Antwerp
T: +32 3 230 75 73

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