The restaurant When you walk into any outlet of Smoke House Deli, the first thing that would probably catch anyone’s eye are the hand drawings on the walls. With a largely minimal décor, the space comprises white surfaces, even on the decorative items on shelves, with black marker line drawings on them, done by The Bus Ride Design Studio. If you’ve been to just one outlet, you’ll probably just smile at the illustrations as a set of whimsical elements, but if you look closely at every artwork on the walls, or the range of decorative articles, you’ll see some kind of theme running through it all.
We visited the Bandra-Kurla Complex outlet of Smoke House Deli. Being a major business district of Mumbai, the restaurant management decided to go with a business theme, with elements of auction houses or auctioneering. The restaurant seats 60 comfortably and is home to several professionals meeting business associates for power lunches or simply networking. However, the establishment is up and running for business at 7:00am every day, catering to the breakfast needs of anyone working in the area. Moreover, they even offer delivery in the vicinity.
The cocktails Known for their special smoked ingredients—which is what give Smoke House Deli its name—the signature cocktails incorporated these just as well as any dish could. The refreshingly delicious smoked melon martini is the highlight of the offering, without a doubt. Seeing the chopped melon being subjected to the blast of the smoking gun under a film of cling wrap revealed how it got its smoky flavour. The smoked pineapple mojito, however, lacks the same unique quality. For those interested in the more conventional, the green apple martini would be a good choice, while you could easily skip the sangria.
The food Coming from the kitchen of the impressive Chef Rollin Lasrado, the most memorable feature of the food served, was probably its strong flavours complementing each other. It’s not easy to use a blend of spices and herbs to bring about a cocktail of a flavour that isn’t largely overpowered by one particular ingredient. The agreeable flavours are further enhanced by the freshness of ingredients and the light quality of even deep-fried dishes. Each dish put on your table is bound to leave you feeling satisfied, sometimes without you being able to point out exactly what made it work for you.
THE APPETISERS: Some dishes come in small, bite-sized divisions, as seen in the sea food or chickpea and horseradish fritters and in the devilled tenderloin bites, making it convenient to share with the rest of your party. While the fritter batter and accompanying dips make for a delightful combination, the tenderloin is perfectly cooked, and feels rather wholesome.
SALAD: We would recommend the oak ash chevre + Californian orange salad. The passion fruit emulsion and the melt-in-your-mouth cheese are divine. Contrasting this refreshing quality is the strong flavour of the satay chicken salad. Despite how the asparagus and apple provide a good balance, it might be little too intense to finish, but if you’re splitting the salad course with someone, it would be fine.
THE MAIN COURSES: are probably the highlight of the menu. From the simple peri peri chicken to the light and fresh chilli-crusted John Dory (fish) served on a bed of saffron risotto, the dishes are extremely satiating. We recommend the house-spiced smoked chicken with five spice jus. Its rich medley of flavours will leave you looking forward to each bite. For the vegetarians, the boss-style aglio olio pepperoncino spaghetti is a must-try. Putting an adventurous spin to an Italian classic might make some cringe, but the outcome is amazing. The tomato polenta with grilled vegetables and pesto is another safe option to go with.
DESSERTS: The betel-flavoured panna cotta sounded quite ridiculous when it was introduced to us, but what we tasted took that preconceived notion away immediately. The flavour is so subtle and the delicate cream and gelatine dessert melt in your mouth, forming the perfect end to a scrumptious meal. However, the highlight among the desserts is the flourless chocolate fudge slice. Perfectly accompanied with vanilla ice-cream, the light, yet rich swirl of chocolate it creates is absolutely divine. The combination in the Oreo and raspberry cheesecake turned out to be a pleasant surprise, but the Philly cheesecake took us by instant surprise. All in all, Smoke House Deli’s desserts were a real discovery—one that could easily give popular dessert-favourite restaurants such as Moshe’s and Le Pain Quotidien a run for their money.
Ultimately, Smoke House Deli turned out to be a real gem of a place, from experience and ambiance, to the drinks and the amazing food. While Chef Lasrado proved to be truly gifted, Smoke House Deli promises consistency, in quality and in service, across their outlets in Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta and Bangalore. One thing’s for sure—you won’t ever leave this restaurant unhappy.
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