To be honest, I’d heard a lot of mixed reports about The Smoke prior to heading over there on Friday night. From friends, I’d heard it was some of the best food out there, however there have been some fairly unforgiving reviews out there in the blogosphere (check out urbanspoon and see what I mean). I decided to make a booking and give it a go.
When I phoned to make the booking, I will admit to finding the gentleman who took it a little brusque (particuarly when informing me no less than three times that our table had been re-booked for 8:30pm, and we would have to be out within 2 hours). Needless to say, we were a little shocked to arrive half an hour early for our 6:30 reservation, only to findthe place pretty much deserted. A lovely waitress found us about to order a drink in the bar, and assured us that we could have our table early.
We sat down and one of the outdoor tables and had our cornbread served very promptly. It was actually pretty good, however I found the honey butter to be cloyingly sweet to the point of sickly. That said and done, the sweetness actually turned out to be a good counterpoint to the meal that followed.
Our entree came out very promptly after our cornbread had been tidied away. M and I had decided to share a bowl of the onion rings. This was the absolute biggest mistake of the night. They were AMAZING!! The batter was crunchy and salty and set off perfectly by the creamy ranch dressing. I actually spent most of the night wishing I’d had a bowl to myself, even though I was totally full.
The mains came out around 20 minutes after our entree had been tidied away, and I was blown away to see the size of the meal. We had asked our waitress how many people the shared platters were supposed to feed and she advised two. M and I decided to order the Chicken and Pork platter with a side of Mac and Cheese. We were shocked to see that the amount of food that came out could happily have actually fed three (almost four people). Shocked, but definiately not complaining ;). Our platter consisted of chips, pulled pork, Memphis pork belly and 1/2 char-grilled chicken with some BBQ dipping sauce. It was a bit of a mixed bag. Both varieties of pork were soft and well-seasoned but the chicken and chips were a bit tough and over-cooked, which was a little disappointing.
Food: 8 / 10