The Engine Room + Honey & Smoke
blow-off steam with a new work-out crew. then Frinally you get to eat. hobble down to honey & smoke to nurse those hammies with a middle-eastern feast.
START: The Engine Room, St Bedes Hall, Albany St, NW1 4EE, London.
FINISH: Honey & Smoke, 216 Great Portland St, Fitzrovia, W1W 5QW, London.
TUBE: Portland Street / Warren Street.
THE WORKOUT: Friday 18:00pm Breathe. Move over running and spinning, rowing is now the next big cardio thing on the scene. So much so that The Engine Room is entirely dedicated to training with the rower (possibly becoming a new kind of fitness religion since the studio is located in a Grade II listed church!). Once you’re inside you’ll be confronted with a line of state-of-the-art SKILLROW™ row machines (by Technogym) that will be your vehicles to workout success for the next fifty minutes. The Brits have always loved an under-dog, which is what rowing has been in the world of cardio since forever. Unjustly so perhaps - until now. Expect this to be a hard grind, but you might just fall in love with this under-rated piece of equipment. Founder of The Engine Room Chris Heron says, the work-out is “all about heart and lungs”, which we can best believe, considering that rowing works 85 per cent of the body's muscles across nine major muscle groups. During the class you can also expect a body composition test and a hook-up to heart-rate monitoring to track progress and fitness levels. The studio recommends you start with a Row 101 session to get your technique nailed. Otherwise dive straight into this “Breathe” class. Here you work with the SKILLROW™ App to track your metrics (its basically like getting your own personal cox to shout at you to go harder). Expect a body-shock. The time you are rowing (like nine minutes) may not sound long but trust, us it will feel like eternity. Thank god between periods of hard work there are intervals of active recovery. As you row, try and keep to specific metrics like distance or power split to time. End with a team race - one row of rowers against the other. Ignore the ache in your arms and do it for your new crew.
FYI: If you can’t make the 18:00pm class this week then no worries - the studio switches up the timetable so its likely there is a later class on next week.
THE FOOD: You’ll be starving after your work-out, but lucky for you the food at Honey & Smoke is sexy AF. This place is the sister restaurant of Honey & Co. (right next door), and staying true to the original, Honey & Smoke crams you in like family to serve up comforting plates of big, bold flavours. On the menu you will find a fusion ancient ingredients from Jerusalem to Istanbul and stopping off at Casablanca. Start with a meze plate; burnt celeriac, chive sour cream and urfa butter is perfectly nutty and slightly sweet. For adequate moppage get some Moroccan sourdough with the red pepper falafel and creamy tahini dip. However, the best bit is main course. If you are an aubergine whore (like us) then you have to order the“Smokey aubergine”. It arrives oozing with a garlic and chilli marinade and dripping with tahini and burnt yolk on top. For meat-eaters the “Mechoui”, a succulent slow-cooked lamb with creamy hummus, pitta, chilli and tomato, is really delicious. The lamb falls apart, the hummus is as creamy as can be and the pitta is perfect to mop up the juices. It might even be worth ordering extra bread (nothing worse than wasting the juices - they are the best bit - and plate-licking sadly is socially frowned upon.) There’s also a spiced chicken flatbread with garlic yoghurt and zaatar that we challenge anyone to dislike. Fish-lovers are also catered for with prawns and tuna and sometimes slow-cooked octopus. It’s understandable if you decide to pick up dessert to take home - portions are quite generous. The Pistachio baklava travels well - and you don’t want to risk getting a second wave of hanger later on from all that rowing now do you?
THE PRICE: A single class at The Engine Room is £18-25. Honey & Smoke mezze plates are £8.75. Mains - “smokey aubergine” £17.5, “Mechoui” lamb £18.5, spiced chicken £18. Extra bread £2. Desserts £7.5. Cocktails are £9, wine starts £6.5.
BEST FOR: Blowing-off steam on a Friday night with a tough work-out and then comfort food. It’s also good for learning a new skill - god you are so productive.
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