I don’t want to be biased…no I really don’t. But I couldn’t help doing cartwheels when Smoke House Deli finally opened in Bangalore a week ago. I remember driving down 100ft road and doing a double take in Feb, when I saw the huge glass façade with the black and white writing that said ‘Smoke Hou’ (the rest of it was covered, but I knew in my heart, that it was Smoke House Deli). For all practical purposes we are going to refer to it as SHD in the rest of the post!.
“Smoke House Deli is an all-day café and delicatessen. This award winning brand serves everything from pancakes to noshes, pasta to burgers and dessert to cocktails.” – SHD
After wowing patrons in Mumbai and Delhi SHD decided to grace Bangalore!! I was invited for a Bloggers Table a day after it opened (yes, I have some perks) and boy was I raring to go, even though it was a Wednesday night. And what a night it turned out to be –chatting with the owners Riyaaz and Kiran, being lavished with an awesome menu from chef Glyston Gracios, gossiping with my fellow bloggers and downing cocktails like there was no tomorrow. (Unfortunatley there was a tomorrow… and a hangover crashed the party as well, but that’s a story unfit for a food blog!)
You walk into SHD and it’s like walking into a very quaint and expensive illustrated storybook. The walls are like a treasure trove of interesting sketches of the stories that make Bangalore special. Take a walk around when you visit and spend some time staring at the walls. I guarantee a wave of nostalgia and euphoria will sweep over you, as you decipher and connect the dots about what makes this town your own! Zameer Basrai needs a big pat on the back for doing his research on Bangalore and translating that into his detailed quirky illustrations. Riyaaz Amlani, can we get a coffee table book soon please?
For the second day that SHD was open, it was packed. The hipsters sure know how to find the best watering hole! We made ourselves comfortable in our little nook, when our cocktails arrived. SHD is not SHD for nothing! The concept revolves around interesting food that they can churn out using a smoke machine. Meats are de rigueur but they even have smoked cocktails! I opted for a Pineapple and Vanilla one (to start with). By the end of the night we had tasted all of the smoked cocktails and most of the other cocktails on the menu. There’s a picture of umpteen empty martini glasses doing its round on the internet. (I’m just saying….)
That night, the cocktails were perfect. Good amount of quality alcohol and great taste coupled with quirky combinations. (Need to go back and check if they maintain the same good punch on regular days).
Considering our calorie intake for the day was already maxed out on the alcohol, we asked the chef to bring us only tasting portions of everything. So here’s a grand tour of what went down that night.
The Paprika puffs with Wasabi Salsa were so bloody good, that I could eat a whole plate by myself. It’s almost like fancy chaat and no, that’s not a bad thing at all!
The Squid rings are an all-time favorite at most places. Here the batter was spicy and crunchy and I couldn’t have asked for it to be any lighter. Hear hear! The Tenderloin bites apparently were a hit as well.
Cottage Cheese Skewers – ok so they were fine, but I really don’t care for them much. The Tofu and Sesame sliders on the other hand were really good. If Tofu can be pimped to taste this way, maybe more people will turn fans of it!
The holy grail of SHD for me – the Bacon wrapped Potatoes. Hamana hamana hamana!! Good Lord have mercy on me! I am melting in my seat just thinking about them. Perfectly chewy bacon wrapped around crispy on the outside, buttery on the inside golden potato squares. Sigh… sigh… sigh…!
In a day and age where soggy lettuce leaves are the norm for salads (even in fancy places), I loved that SHD got its salads right. I don’t have a picture of the Oak Ash Chevre with California Oranges and Passion Fruit Emulsion, but that was the star of the three! Divine.
Heading to the mains – the Spinach and Ricotta ravioli with tomato, capers and olive tapenade was faultless. The Chili crusted Cobbler with Lemon and Thyme was good as well. Basa is gaining popularity in Bangalore though there are an equal number of folks who would run a mile away from this most un-fishlike fish. There is even a foodie group that says ‘Basa beda’ – which essentially means ‘we don’t want Basa’! I am not in that group – so I liked this fish main course especially because it was served with a gorgeous risotto. I sent my compliments to the chef.
Little did I know a revelation still lay in store for me – the Mushroom risotto! This was a close to heaven experience for me. I have always sung paeans of the Mushroom risotto at Graze (Taj Vivaanta) – this one is it’s equal! I don’t think I can do justice to it by writing flowery words here – just go eat it!
Even though we tasted all the mains as a group – I was reaching bursting point. I took a small bite of the Peri Peri Chicken. I’ll give it a decent rating. It’s not the Chicken’s fault – if you follow the Risotto, that’s what happens to you! The rest of the group raved about the Tenderloin steak. They got the Medium rare just right and I heard a round of applause when they sliced it and found it nice and pink.
My spare stomach for dessert was putting on it’s party shoes. There was a heated debate on the Tiramisu being mildly under the radar on the coffee flavor. Since I don’t much care for coffee at all, this didn’t affect me. The flourless Chocolate fudge was brilliant. Being a chocolate dish, it got polished off the plate in a jiffy.
The White Chocolate and Orange Crème Brulee was very well made. The custard silky and creamy and the caramel crust just cracking with a snap under the spoon. (You know how this works right? After all we are Masterchef addicts!). I’m saving the best for the last. The Plum Philly Cheesecake. Most perfect cheesecake in Bangalore. Take a bet with me…go ahead I dare you! It brought back memories of the perfect Philly Cheesecakes I used to gorge on in Philadelphia and New York. 10/10 for you SHD.
I loved the SHD experience. Can’t wait to go there for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Maybe for tea sometime in the evening as well – they are open all day! Welcome to Bangalore Smoke House Deli – I expect fantastic things from you …don’t let me down!
SMOKE HOUSE DELI,
No.1209, Ward No.72, HAL II Stage,
Ph: 080 2520 0899/ 080 2520 0898
Cost: Rs.2500/- plus taxes for a meal for two with alcohol.
Parking: Valet Available