Cookie FM Nirina - Holy Smoke

Holy Smoke, Cork City

A meat lover’s dream.

Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Cookie FM Rating – 5/5

When heading to Cork City, there’s one restaurant in particular that is a must-try, especially if you’re a fan of barbecue. I had heard great things about Holy Smoke and Head Chef John Relihan prior to visiting, therefore when on a recent press trip to the Rebel City, I really had to book us in for dinner. The interior is very rustic, wooden panels and metal accents, mesh separators and neon signs, as well as booths aplenty and an open kitchen, always a sign of proud chefs. The menu really caters to a meat lover’s fantasy, including brisket, barbecued chicken, pulled pork, steak, ribs and burgers too. It was such a tough decision picking just one dish for myself, and as Lorna had the same predicament as myself, I was delighted that we opted to share the BBQ Blow Out!

This platter featured nine different elements, five of which were meat. We were excited to try everything on the platter when it arrived, as it all looked very appetising. Brisket Burnt Ends, Wet-rubbed Baby Back Ribs, Pit Smoked BBQ Chicken, Pulled Pork, Hot Links Sausage were all served alongside pickles, naked slaw, cornbread and charred corn cob wheels, plus we ordered an extra side of Skinny Fries. Even when our food did arrive, I wasn’t even sure where to begin the feast but I launched straight in and tasted everything.

Cookie FM Nirina - Holy Smoke

The flavours from each of the meats was truly excellent, full of barbecue spices and with enough sauce where necessary. Both the brisket and pulled pork were served in separate mini skillets, while the rest of the elements covered the rest of the tray. All of the meats had clearly been slow cooked, as the meat was perfectly tender and juicy. The ribs’ meat fell off the bone, but enough that it held its ground, while the breast of chicken on the bone was still moist and its skin was beautifully crisp.

The sausages had a tasty spiced flavour that truly added to the feast, and was especially complimented by the coleslaw and pickles. I’m a lover of vegetables too, therefore I was delighted this platter included Holy Smoke’s ‘naked slaw’, the pickles and charred corn cob wheels. The cornbread is quite the addition, though personally I’m not a fan of it, however it did help soak up the lovely juices of the brisket and pulled pork, as did the crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside fries.

Overall this was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. There wasn’t an element of this BBQ Blow Out that wasn’t perfectly cooked, its presentation and flavours really delivered – it truly tasted as good as it looked. Lorna and I also shared the Chocolate Brownie for dessert, and enjoyed a bottle of red wine, San Elias Cabernet Sauvignon, which was full-bodied that complimented the meat platter and the brownie beautifully.

From the delicious dishes and variety of mouth-watering choices on the menu, to the excellent and friendly service, the epic throwback tunes and spacious surroundings, Cookie FM highly recommends visiting Holy Smoke. I know I’m dying to go back again!

We were also treated to a special tour of the Mardyke Complex, and shown the newly opened Barcadia, where we had two delicious cocktails that are all game-inspired. The bar-meets-arcade features dozens of old school arcade games and board games, alongside tasty cocktails and homemade food too including burgers, pizza, mozzarella sticks, chicken goujons and of course fries!

Tried & Tested


BBQ Blow Out


Chocolate Brownie


San Elias Cabernet Sauvignon

Holy Smoke, Little Hanover Street, Co. Cork

CALL ON (+00353) 021 4273000 // CLICK TO VISIT Holy Smoke


Images © Nirina Plunkett, Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

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