There’s no smoke without fire they say, and I’m glad that the chef’s fiery passion to cook good food is still burning bright over at Smoke House Deli in DLF Promenade, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi.
Elegance, charm, class and one of the best services I’ve come across in a restaurant, Smoke House Deli has a very uncluttered and chic decor with comfortable and retro-modern seating arrangements that makes it easy to just sink in and while away a few hours with friends eating and making merry.
It’s December in Delhi and while the debate over climate change becomes more and more political there’s no denying that weather has turned stranger with each passing year. Even though there are no sign of heaters or woolens being used anytime soon, Delhi weather has turned comfortable enough to sit outside – minus the pollution. The central patio area between Emporio and Promenade malls house a couple of restaurants – Mocha Arthouse being the other – and both of them have outdoor seating throughout the year, but now is the perfect time to enjoy their locational fruits.
The service at Smoke House Deli is toned down, quiet, and non-intrusive. For a change I didn’t have to raise my hand high up in the air like a school kid, who finally knows the answer to what the teacher has asked, whenever something was required. Nor did I have to resist the awkward feeling of knowing that someone is there a few feet away from me, watching my every bite, ready to pounce any second and ask “How is the meal Sir?”. “Considering I still haven’t chewed anything since the last time you asked, I’ll go with my earlier reply”, is what I always chicken out from saying. No, none of the service faux pas were evident at Smoke House Deli.
Nor was there any hurry. Being a group of seven with three toddlers, it took a while before we could decide what we’d eat. Not once were we bothered to “order”, and it seemed that whenever something was required, a simple eye contact was enough to get the attention of the staff. The drinks came in quick shortly followed by the food and even though it was a Tuesday afternoon when we visited, the place was quite busy, but the service didn’t deter one bit.
And now for the obligatory food descriptions, which I’m trying to cut down on as much as possible to try and give you an idea of what’s on offer, leaving enough space for you to enjoy your meal without having it spoilt by pre-read details. This tough will take some time and you’ll just have to keep coming back to the blog over the next few months to see the change. In saying this, I’m obviously assuming that you read my reviews and rush to the places I recommend.
The Cucumber Spitzer has become one of my favourite “refreshing drinks”. A lack of any sugary feel, a beautiful zing in the back of the throat as an after taste – this is what I meant earlier, I’ve told you about the “zing” and now you’ll expect it and it won’t be a surprise like it was for me, but here I am telling it to you nevertheless, so I hope you have short term memory when it comes to food descriptions – the bubbly-ness from the Sprite, with the green colour that is naturally pretty to look at. I’m not one to recommend drinks that often, but if you’re eating at Smoke House Deli then the Cucumber Spitzer is a must.
The menu at Smoke House Deli is moderately extensive, pretty to look at, easy to understand, but most importantly has lots of Eggy delights and for me that’s a sack full of brownie points for the restaurant. Eggs Florentine happened to be the choice of the day and it came with a pretty presentation of two perfectly poached eggs, runny yolk – not a spoiler because you’d expect nothing less than runny yolk – spinach for the health freaks, a crispy brioche making it perfect for a relaxing lunch. I was a happy man, not just because the food was colourful and delightful, but also because it turned out that my guests didn’t eat eggs and my wife didn’t want any, so I didn’t have to share my food with anyone – Yay!
I did take a few bites off the wife’s Couscous with Chickpeas dish and wished that the couscous could have been a little more flavourful or spicier. The veggies had a pleasant brightness to them and chickpeas were nicely done. However, this food was for my wife – she liked it a lot – and my decision is based on just a few incomplete bites. Trust me though, you don’t want your wife hungry and roaming around in a shopping mall because if you haven’t fed her well, she’ll make up for it in the shops and that is a much more expensive affair. It’s best to get her bloated enough so that she even complains about walking back to the car.
The Wild Mushroom Risotto that our guests had left them happy while the Macaroni and Cheese for the kids ended up in their stomach and we all know that that is the best compliment any child can give to the food they are eating.
Now, thanks to the power of advance reservations and the benefits one receives because of that – Eazy Diner is what I use – we managed to score not one, not two, but three desserts for free – Hallelujah! It’s a good thing I went for my morning run that day because the Crème Brûlée was creamy and soft and tasty and had the gentlest of crackle up top and just have it okay, its light and its yummy and you have no excuse not to try it. The Tiramisu and the Hazelnut Flan were both admired by my company on the table, but I was too busy with Ms. Brûlée to pay attention to anything else. Mind you, Ms. Tiramisu, my regular on lunches, was not a happy, for today she was completely ignored.
Appetizing food, wonderful location, surprisingly priced – three and a half mains and three non-alcoholic drinks cost around Rs. 2500 -, good sized portions, and extraordinary service, Smoke House Deli is a place I look forward to returning as there is still a lot from their menu that caught my fancy. However, until then, if you make it before me, remember to give a big (c)hug to Mr. Spitzer and a little peck on the cheek to Ms. Brûlée.
Psst, I didn’t really go for that morning run I mentioned above. I just wrote that to con my wife into thinking that I did. Also, I have a feeling she never reads my reviews in full, so telling you this here is a risky yet good way of finding out. I’ll keep the couch ready in case she does read till the end.