Restaurant Review: Smoke House Deli

December 6, 2011 2:04 pm by

The folks at Impresario, the company that owns Salt Water Café and the Mocha chain of coffeeshops, have coined a term for their Smoke House Deli chain of restaurants. SHD, which has outposts in Delhi and Chandigarh and opened in Mumbai at Phoenix Mills last week, is what they call a “hand made” restaurant. It’s a literal reference to the hand drawn illustrations that fill the walls at their three outposts. The Bus Ride Design Studio, the people behind the cryptic drawings, told us that it was the most time-consuming feature of the design, and often kept them working post midnight a few days ahead of the launch.

Sure enough it’s all we can talk about, after dining there last week. At the restaurant, we were told that you simply need to Google some of the captions, which are clues to cleverly masked Mumbai references. For instance a sketch of Bombay Harbour with ‘April 14, 1944, the day began like any other…’ as the caption lead us to this link.  It’s a fun way to bide time while waiting for a friend or for your order of truffle-scented scrambled eggs, which is how we started our meal. The eggs were lightly seasoned with salt and cooked to fluffy perfection. The addition of the earthy and aromatic truffle oil elevated the dish from being a mere breakfast staple to a worthy dinner contender. The only regrettable part was the thick, dry and chewy croissant accompanying the eggs.

Next, we tried the iced chicken liver pate with apple marmalade, which tied with the devilled tenderloin bites for the honour of best non-vegetarian appetiser. The former, an elegantly plated dish comprised rusk-sized pieces of crisp baguette smeared with a subtle marmalade, the sweetness of which was nicely offset by the robust intensity of the smooth, chilled liver pate. The bite-sized cubed tenderloin snack, on the other hand, was like a more sophisticated version of a spicy Goan beef chilli fry served over a savoury, biscuit-like pastry swirl.

Vegetarians looking for matched excitement will find it in the creamy and fiery smoked pimento and jalapeno crostini rather than the bland chickpea and horseradish fritters. It’s not possible to get a comprehensive sampling of the Smoke House Deli menu in one sitting, so we passed on the pasta, risotto and grilled mains in favour of soups, sandwiches and burgers. If ever there were a soup that could fit the chicken soup for the soul description, it’s Smoke House Deli’s baby fennel, smoked chicken and thyme offering. One guest heaped hyperbolic praise on the creamy, fennel flavoured broth, going so far as to say that she “wanted to swim in it”. Let’s just say it’s the sort of soup that would be the perfect antidote to an emotionally exhausting day.

If we worked in the vicinity of Phoenix Mills, we would make their grilled tuna sandwich and chicken soup part of our weekly lunch routine. In fact, Smoke House Deli offers a soup plus half-sandwich meal option that’s perfect for a working lunch. The wholewheat sandwich had what we suspected was a canned tuna filling that was gussied up with celery, scallions and what tasted like a measured dollop of Thousand Island dressing. The staff-recommended smoked chicken and oregano burger was our least favourite dish, because like the croissant, the burger bun was too thick and yeast-y. We had no complaints with the juicy, herbed minced chicken patty, but it was sadly let down by the insipid bread.

Despite the bread debacle, we expect to frequent Smoke House Deli for its casual, almost homely vibe, mostly great food and also to solve a few more of the graphic riddles. Its edge over most restaurants in Phoenix Mills has to be the prompt and attentive service, which is especially lacking at both Indigo Deli and Café Moshe’s in Palladium.

A meal for two costs approximately Rs1,400. This review was conducted anonymously.

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Smoke House Deli

LocationNext to Spaghetti Kitchen
High Street Phoenix
Phoenix Mills
Lower Parel

Phone6561 9618

HoursDaily, noon to midnight

Comments (6)

  1. Jai |

    The Smoke House Deli is Mumbai doesn’t not come close to the one New Delhi i’m afraid.
    I find Indigo Deli in Mumbai a lot better with its food staying true to the contemporary European cuisine they say they serve (although i agree the service at Indigo Deli is not up to the mark). The Smoke House Deli at Phoenix Mills did not quite get that right i’m afraid. The Spaghetti Bolognese i ordered just seemed to have a lot of spices that one would normally associate with Indian food and therefore seemed like an ‘Indianised Spaghetti Bolognese’.
    Having said that i frequently go to the Smoke House Deli at the Promenade Mall in Delhi but have never experienced this there.

  2. Ritika |

    The decor was mind blowing to start with, then came the breads which are possibly one the best in town. We ordered a lamb burger and a beef burger. I loved my lamb burger but the bun was too small for the fat patty and it some how got dissolved by the time I finished eating half of the burger. My boy friend’s beef burger was really not we expected it to be. The patty was a little too flavored. But the service was so quick, they noticed us and offered to change the burger.
    Next came the hotdog, which was alright. The mustard though is terrific.
    I’m going back definitely to try the soups, pastas and the others.

  3. RC |

    I agree that the service at Moshe at Palladium is bad. Sorry..make that very bad!

  4. Deepti |

    I love Indigo Deli way too much! Including their service staff, who are amicable and prompt. The food is such high quality that I dont mind waiting those extra few minutes for a meal.

  5. shilpam |

    been following your reviews regularly and genuinely enjoy reading them.. was therefore surprised at the remark of poor service at Indigo Deli.. we go there very regularly and have never had an issue, in fact our request to warm the maple syrup with cinnamon and an orange slice to go with our waffles is always complied with with a smile.

  6. Pranav Gandhi |

    Do you know if these guys deliver?