There is so much to celebrate about Delhi’s rich cultural and architectural heritage and I have often wondered why more restaurants and shops in the Capital don’t draw inspiration from this history. Which is why it was a treat to dine at the newly opened Smoke House Delhi, nestled amongst 800-year-old ruins.
While the interiors of the restaurant remain in keeping with the Smoke House Deli chain, look closer at the exquisite hand drawn illustrations on the walls and you will find that the talented team behind the restaurant has hand picked couplets by famous poets of Delhi and; taken extracts from classics on the city and even included QR codes on the wall which takes you directly to a dedicated website about the evolution of Hauz Khas, be it art, culture or music.
The restaurant has been intelligently divided into three areas – the bar area, the deli and main restaurant. The references on the walls here are more modern – paying tribute to some of the talent that calls Haus Khas Village “home” such as B.L.O.T and Midival Punditz.
Rarely is it that an establishment gets the ambience AND the cuisine right. It was time to check out the food!
I had dined at other Smoke House Delis before but was looking forward to the new menu that had 33 new dishes introduced as a result of feedback from patrons. The new menu has healthier options such as wholewheat pasta options, gluten free pasta and bread and the inclusion of super foods such as chia and sunflower seeds.
We let Sid Mathur, Director & Head, Food & Beverage help us order and he did a fine job in ensuring there was a wide selection.
We began the meal with a Cauliflower Soup. I know, it doesn’t sound exciting. But… when a cauliflower soup is slightly smoked with crispy leek and truffle oil, it’s an entirely different story. Next, we moved on to the Green Bean, Apple, Satay Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing. If all salads tasted this good, bring on the diet!
For the main course (there were 5 of us – I promise!) we had Steak and Cheese Dog ; Peri Peri Rubbed Chicken with Citrus Pimento and Saffron Potatoes; Smoked Chicken and Goat Cheese Tart with Rocket Salad and John Dory with Smoked Chilli, Creamed Leeks and Tomato Risotto.
While the Steak and Cheese Dog and Chicken and Goat Cheese Tart were slightly heavy for dinner, the Peri Peri Chicken and John Dory were huge successes. The chicken was succulent and cooked just right with the right flavours. The risotto which accompanied the John Dory should be a dish by itself on the menu. It was polished off in minutes and the kind waiter took pity on us and immediately replenished it.
Which brings me to the service. A perfectly good meal can be ruined by poor service and unfortunately, this is more common than necessary in stand-alone Delhi restaurants these days. The staff is obviously well trained in just service but also in the history and importance of the area in which the restaurant is situated.
We finished the meal with the Flourless Chocolate Fudge and Raspberry and Oreo Mousse Cake. The former was delicious while the latter didn’t quite tickle my taste buds.
Smoke House Deli has never pretended to be a fine dining restaurant – dishing out food that is hearty, popular and tasty. To be able to enjoy a meal or just an evening at the Smoke House bar with the spectacular view of the lake opposite the restaurant is indeed a pleasure. I know where I am going to be spending my weekends this winter – what about you?
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