Bandra, especially the Pali Hill area, has no dearth of great restaurants and cafes. Yet the launch of a new Smoke House Deli in the posh Mumbai suburb last week has created a definite buzz
The lamb shanks are so soft and juicy that even the nonstop chatter coming from the next table no longer irritates me. The meat is lightly smoked and even the mushrooms and zucchini ooze the jus. I close my eyes and surrender to temptation. If making the perfect, slow-cooked, grilled meat is an art, the chef here has just created a masterpiece.
The tempting Greek Salad
But let us not get ahead of the story and make you hungry before we must. It’s always tough living up to great reputation and high benchmarks. So when Smoke House Deli opened two branches in quick succession in recent weeks, one could almost see the critics waiting to pounce. Smoke House Deli (SHD) knows how to get you hungry, fast.
The charcoal-flavour of the Smoked Chicken and the Goat Cheese Tart is beautiful at Smoke House Deli at Bandra
So when we step inside the brand new SHD on a week night, we expect good stuff. The place is easy to find luckily as this same location earlier housed the Yellow Tree Café. Up a flight of stairs we arrive at the restaurant, a quaint and rather small place, perhaps the smallest of the three Smoke House outlets, but surely the best looking one.
We spend the first few minutes admiring the walls that make it look much like a Catholic home. The tablecloths for one are floral and we can’t help but notice the white lace curtains. The walls have sketches and scribbles that talk about the Bandra area, its people and its history.
But it’s the food that has enticed us this far and we get cracking. First up while we wait for the main course, we ask for a quick Greek Salad (Rs 370). It comes with liberal amounts of cheese, leafy greens, cherry tomatoes and actually goes quite well with the slightly sweet and light bodied Syrah.
But then we come face to face with the Lightly Smoked Lamb Shanks (Rs 590) and all conversation ends. This is bliss. Next up is the Saute’d Tenderloin Strips with Shitake mushrooms (Rs 450). The meat is tender and once again slow-grilled to perfection. The herbed mash and the sour cream complement the meat. The forks and knives hardly get rest.
To get an idea of how the vegetarian fare fares, we ask for a Tomato Polenta with Grilled Vegetables and Pesto Cream (Rs 450). We try and avoid the healthy greens when out on such sinful assignments, and perhaps in the larger scheme of things we should have stuck to that rule. The polenta is average, or at best ‘good’ but perhaps not something we would order again. But then again, maybe I am biased against all things vegetarian.
But tell you what, the Smoked Chicken and Goat Cheese Tart (Rs 470) is awesome. See, we love vegetarian. The smokey flavour of the cheese goes well with the smoked chicken and since this is easy to digest, even a child would love this (SHD also has a long list of pasta, including the old favourites such as pasta with meatballs and spaghetti carbonara, to keep pasta-loving kids happily occupied).
We are full by now but can’t resist asking for a Warm apple crumble with ice cream (Rs 190). We share this one and realize that most of the portions at SHD are generous enough for two people to share.
It’s a satisfying meal and even though it makes us poorer by almost Rs 2,000, we are not complaining. It’s always good to begin a new year with a meal to remember.
We cannot rate the experience as it was a preview
Food: Generous portions
Go here for: The meat and veg grills
Meal for two: Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000
Ambiance: Bright and cheery
At: 320 Madhu Milan Building, BR Ambedkar Road, Bandra West