Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review: Smoke House Deli

Smoke House Deli
Scores better on looks than food

Look:  Superior designing has gone into Bangalore’s two Smoke House Delis, in Indiranagar and on Lavelle Road, making them fetchingly good looking. An all-white look gives these restaurants a clean, bright air and fills them with light. The Smoke House Delis are also known for their signature style of paying tribute to their locales; quirky hand-drawn illustrations cover walls, white bottles, old gramophones and most other surfaces and become a talking point.
Food: The ambience may have you expecting an equal edge to the food. What Smoke House Deli does do though is a version of European or Conti, as we used to know it, without too many surprises. It’s not technically a deli either, though there is a small section retailing breakfast cereal, pasta sauce and olive oil.
On our several visits we’ve found the food to be a bit of a mixed bag. An Asparagus and Grape Salad with Smoked Fig which we tasted at Indiranagar was a perfect balance of textures and flavours. But the Oak Ash Chevre and California Orange Salad with Passionfruit Emulsion at the Lavelle Road restaurant was all wilted greens and over-dressed. No hint of oak ash either. 
The Paprika Puffs are a well done appetizer and moreish, for nibbling with your drinks. The Three Cheese and Jalapeno Toast was a disappointment, for as it cooled the not-so-tasty cheese topping just came away from the drying bread.
The Tomato Polenta, Grilled Vegetables and Pesto Cream was also rather too creamy for our liking. We’d expected a mound of caramelized veggies on the polenta, but these were minuscule bits mixed into the sauce. The Peri Peri Rubbed Grilled Chicken with its brined chicken was tender and packed with flavour.  SDH hot dogs and burgers are, apparently, a hot ticket but we can’t see the point of eating what’s essentially grab-and-go food in a fancy restaurant. Then it would have to be Kobe beef burger topped with truffle!
The dessert menu plays safe with Tiramisu, Flourless Chocolate Cake and Philly Cheesecake – all creamy, sweet and satisfying.
Drink: There are some well-made cocktails to be had here and healthy drinks like mocktails of carrot, apple and celery. The tea and coffee choices are exhaustive, too.
Occasion: Dates, family dinners, catch-up with friends – SDH is good for all that.  Don’t expect quiet and privacy, though. For this is a closely packed restaurant, crowded most days with Bangalore’s hip set which wants to be seen at the most happening spots.
Prices: A three-course meal will cost approximately Rs 1200, including taxes but without drinks.

Review by Priya Bala