|Me with Riyaaz Amlani|
[Photo courtesy: Swapna Venkatesh]
I still remember their unique concept of having price tags on furniture and art, so you could literally buy a chair and take it home if you fell in love with it. Later, there was one in Juhu with a most perfect location across the sea and you could sit on their comfy sofas, order a huge mug of coffee and catch up on all the gossip with friends or just people watch. It's been 10 years but my tastebuds remember their fantastic apple pie and one hell of a killer dessert (taste & calorie-wise) which I think was named 'Death by Chocolate' & of course I remember feeling all 'posh' having to choose from a menu featuring coffees from different parts of the world. Don't scoff at me, I was after all in my 20s then! I remember hearing the name Riyaaz Amlani who was behind this chain of coffee shops and admiring his creativity. And then his name was all over the restaurant scene in Bombay, with the Salt Water Grill at Chowpatty and dozens of other restaurants around the country.
It was such a pleasure to share a table with Riyaaz and a few other foodblogger friends to celebrate the opening of Smoke House Deli, their first restaurant in Bangalore. Day 2 of opening, and the restaurant was buzzing from 8 pm onwards- credit it to the location (100 ft road, Indira Nagar) or the building that now stands like a show stopper on 100 ft road or the fantastic menu & drinks.
One thing that catches your eye as soon as you enter are the hand sketched walls - black on white, and you keep looking at it for the entire time that you are in the restaurant. Quotes, quaint old Bangalore institutions, new music bands and more, all find their place on the walls, including the depiction of a haunted house in the city.
The credit for this goes to the Busride Deisgn Company whose founder Ayaz himself gave us a walking tour of the walls. Yes, that's right!
The drinks menu include plenty of fresh fruit flavours, with an interesting mix of spices and some of them even use smoked fruits. Between the 5 of us, we
Their menu lists a range of fresh fruit, herb & floral infusions out of which the Californian Plum, Star Anise & Lily was pretty sensational.
Among the vegetarian appetizers, the tofu sesame sliders looked and tasted amazing, with the sesame oil aroma wafting through the dish.
The spiked cottage cheese skewers, the paprika puffs with wasabi salsa both had bags of flavour. My favourite salad was the asparagus with grape, smoked fig and white balsamic vinaigrette. My perfect salad has to have a balance of all flavours - salty, sweet & sour and a mix of textures and this one hit all the right notes.
While the table was tasting a variety of mains, the spinach ricotta ravioli was generously stuffed and perfectly cooked, a little niggle for me was that I don't like my ravioli smothered by too much sauce. The wild mushroom risotto was something everyone on the table dug into with gusto. While I gave the desserts a miss, I feasted my eyes on some of the beauties in the display counter, early in the evening.
For entire set of photos - check Saffron Trail's Facebook album
Smoke House Deli
Category: All Day Dining / Bar / Breakfast
Price: A meal for 2 with a drink would cost roughly Rs.1500 plus taxes
No. 1209, Ward no. 12, HAL IInd Stage, 100 Ft Road, Indiranagar. Opp. Nike showroom, Bengaluru 560038Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smokehousedeli
Phone: 080-25200898 / 99
They are open from 11 am onwards