October 25, 2013 7:30 pm

Five of the best: fish smokers

From the eel to the red herring, London-cured salmon to Arbroath smokie, the author of ‘Food Britannia’ finds the finest fish smokehouses
H Forman & Son

H Forman & Son

H Forman & Son

Established in 1905, this East End family-run company is Britain’s oldest salmon curer and inventor of the “London cure” – a less harsh way of smoking fish that has since become the norm. The salmon (always from Scotland) are filleted by hand, lightly salted, then gently smoked over oak. The result, carved by hand rather than machine, is some of the best smoked salmon in the UK.

Stour Road, Fish Island, London E3 2NT, 020 8525 2399, www.formans.co.uk

The Port of Lancaster Smokehouse

A place that offers a huge range of smoked products, from fish to black pudding. Try the smoked sea trout, caught in the river Lune, as an alternative to salmon. For something really unusual there’s smoked tuna, great with a blob of mango chutney. Or take advantage of the private smoking service, perfect for country sportsmen who bag a prize and want to serve it in style.

West Quay, Glasson Dock, Lancaster, LA2 0DB, 01524 751493, www.lancastersmokehouse.co.uk

Brown & Forrest

Smoked eel is a West Country speciality. Owner Jesse Patterson gets his from the Avon, Test and Stour rivers, and smokes them over beech and apple wood for a sweeter taste. Eel is best served at room temperature so you can appreciate the delicate flavour and texture: the onsite restaurant lets you do just this.

Bowdens Farm, Hambridge, Langport, Somerset TA10 0BP, 01458 250875, www.smokedeel.co.uk

Iain R Spink

Scottish haddock, lightly dry-cured, then hot-smoked over fire-filled whisky barrels; it doesn’t get much more Scottish than that. The resulting fish is deep golden brown with a strong smoky flavour. Iain’s brought about the revival of the Arbroath smokie almost single-handedly: it’s thanks to his efforts that smokies were awarded PGI status in 2004.

Forehills Farmhouse, Carmyllie By Arbroath, Angus DD11 2RD, 01241 860303, www.arbroathsmokies.net

Cley Smokehouse

This tiny smokehouse in one of the prettiest villages in Norfolk produces the full range of East Anglian smoked fish, from bloater to red herring to kipper. However you should also try the buckling (hot smoked herring) which has a delicious roasted and smoked flavour, or the “clay smokie” (hot smoked haddock) – to be scoffed the moment you leave the shop.

High Street, Cley, Holt, Norfolk NR25 7RF, 01263 740282, www.cleysmokehouse.com

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Andrew Webb is the author of Food Britannia (Random House)

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