STOP PRESS: Smokeworks does doughnuts

Sian Avery 13 February 2015

Vous armes, citizens of Cambridge: put down your pens; run from the libraries; sack off your lectures; go AWOL on your supervisions. No, it’s not the Week Five boycott; noble as that may be, there is a far more exciting story rippling around our little town this evening, one which will be greeted with joy by students and supervisors alike.

There was once a dream that was Smokeworks. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish. It was so fragile: I feared it would not survive the winter –

Although Julia takes any opportuntiy to parody Gladiator, here the last sentence is stretching the truth a little.  Far from being fragile, business at Cambridge’s finest meat joint is booming, and their latest addition to the menu looks set to continue this. Smokeworks' head chef, Vladimir is embarking on a new venture: a range of sweet and savoury doughnuts freshly cooked in the restaurant, featuring a range of adventurous flavoursf. Intrigued (and of course in the spirit of true investigative journalism) we headed down to the restaurant for a preview tasting.

Settling down to the arduous task of doughnut tasting on a Friday morning, the first flavour we were served was the delightful “mojito mint”.  A testament to Smokeworks’ loyal customer base, the flavour was the brain child of 'Miss Soufle', who made her suggestion via Twitter, leaving the practicalities to Vladimir's creative skill. Intended as the more adult flavour, the sharpness of the rum certainly gave a little kick, nicely cutting through the sweetness of the dough.

Next up: strawberry.  A more traditional donut filling than mojito perhaps, Smokeworks do not use jam, but rather a light, whipped cheesecake mix for the filling.  A great child-friendly option, these doughnuts by far and away beat its supermarket counterparts.

The texture of the dough was pleasantly dense and bread-like, without the greasiness which all to often plagues members of the doughnut world.  Vladimir tells us this is due to baking them fresh in the restaurant to their own simplistic recipe: a yeasted dough with strong flour, not to much sugar and absolutely no artifical colours or flavours, the doughnuts are fried at a high temperature to create what Vladimir calls “an honest doughnut”.

Finally, the doughnut novelty which lured us so effectively in: the savoury pulled-pork doughnut.  With the same solid dough base, this doughnut is instead packed with a healthy dose of Smokeworks’ speciality smoked and pulled pork, slathered with bacon jam (who knew that was a thing?) and sprinkled with salted paprika. We might have been unaware of the existence of bacon jam before today, but by god, we never will be again. Never before has a cure for essay stress, for overworking and under sleeping, or just for general middle-of-term flailing, been baked into such pure and perfect form.

There is only one catch: these miniature dough-based holy grails will initially be on sale only at weekends.  While this may well be extended in the future, for now we shall have to content ourselves with hoarding a week's supply. With the sweet options at £1.50 each and the pulled pork version at £2, Smokeworks offer a three for £4, these little treats won’t even dent your overdraft too deeply and are the perfect indulgence.  The doughnuts go on full release tomorrow morning: get yourself there and enjoy a mid-term treat!

Smokeworks doughnuts are the next big thing: you heard it here first.