I haven’t seen many restaurants who can combine a fun atmosphere with awesome food. It’s usually either/or, for some reason. There are restaurants that deliver beautifully cooked and plated food in an atmosphere where diners run the risk of drowning in their very delicious soup. Then there are restaurants where the atmosphere is fun, so much so that the passage of hours is a barely noticeable blink. The food at most such places however is either deliciously simple or simply disastrous.
When I first visited Smokey’s, I was unaware of its provenance. The evening of my visit featured Karaoke, which I admit was a little overwhelming. Apart from that, Smokey’s was fun! The service appeared to be warm and friendly, every table looked like they were having fun and the menu, while not vast, was representative of everything a diner could desire.
We started with a selection of appetisers, Loaded Potato Skins (INR 290), Corn and Cheddar Triangles with Blue Cheese Dip (INR 350), Grilled Fish Red Harissa (INR 375), Charred Chicken Skewer (INR 425), Polenta Crusted Chicken (INR 425) and Lamb Kibbeh (INR 475). When you’re tasting a bunch of things, at times, you simply look for the basics – crunch in the triangles, cheese in the dip, moisture in the fish, smoky succulence in the skewers and juiciness in the kibbeh… they were all there! I especially loved the Kibbeh and have yet to taste a juicier and better cooked version of this dish and it would be the one I remember Smokey’s for… or so I thought.
I found my next, a Smoked Red Wine Poached Pear Salad (INR 350), unremarkable, especially the poached pears, that were a little too tannic for my taste, while my Tenderloin Burger with Bacon (INR 580) was overdone and had lost whatever moistness it may have started out with. I was later informed the kitchen had a few issues with that grill station that evening, so my experience was probably an exception. I thought the Chili Potato Toasties (INR 200) quite nice though my guest felt they were a little too reminiscent of homemade food and so, didn’t share my enthusiasm. I couldn’t disagree with her because that’s precisely why I liked them!
Time however stopped when I tasted the hot dogs they make at Smokey’s, GK. When you visit Smokey’s, these are the first items you must order, and then begin the task of planning the evening.
They wrap them in bacon,
they pile them with meat,
they smother them with flavor
and all kinds of heat.
The rolls were made in-house, the meats simmered for hours; the end result was an amalgamation of textures, flavors and aromas that I simply could not get enough of! I didn’t want to eat any more, but I did. I didn’t want to talk while eating, but I had to ask ‘How?’ and exclaim ‘So good!’ every now and then. I should have stopped at a bite and even used a fork and a knife to try and take off one bit at a time, but I only ended up eyeballing the remnants for a few minutes and grabbing the half dogs lying there. The shredded meat glistening in the warm lighting, shiny white spirals of mayonnaise standing out against the woody tones of the platter, the crisp, fatty streaks of bacon wrapped around a visibly taut sausage, each element mocked me with the sure knowledge that resistance was futile. Indeed.
If you haven’t been to Smokey’s, at any of their locations in Gurgaon or Delhi, I can very confidently state that you’re missing out. On a lot.