Smoke House Room (3rd Floor, The Crescent, Lado Sarai, Mehrauli, New Delhi)


In a nutshell:
A series of quirky masterpieces served one after another in equally quirky & masterfully done interiors. This coupled with well informed, warm & attentive service contributed to our best continental eatout in Delhi so far.

A beautiful partition wall at The Smoke House Room

Facebook page: Smoke house Room

Cuisine type: Vegetarian & Non vegetarian

interior of the restaurant - look at the mushroom shaped pillar

Meal for 2: Rs. 8000 onwards

Short Description – In case u r in a hurry:

We went for a Grand ‘Degustation’ menu at Smoke House Room last week. At times it felt like a magic show also ………… A powder looking like paan parag turned out to be a Duck liver pate (once it hits ur tongue), a sunny side up was made not with eggs but coconut froth resembling the white & passion fruit resembling the yolk!!!!!!!!

watermelon Caprionshka with mint foam

It was a ten course menu excluding snacks & Petit Fours (confectionary eaten at the end of the meal). Some of the dishes were created using ‘Molecular gastronomy’. Each & every dish was a work of art – both for the eyes & on the palate.

So lets see what Wikipedia has to say about Degustation – It is a culinary term meaning a careful, appreciative tasting of various foods and focusing on the gustatory system, the senses, high culinary art and good company. Dégustation is more likely to involve sampling small portions of all of a chef’s signature dishes in one sitting. Usually consisting of eight or more courses, it may be accompanied by a matching wine degustation which complements each dish.

This is what wiki says about Molecular Gastronomy – It is a subdiscipline of food science that seeks to investigate, explain and make practical use of the physical and chemical transformations of ingredients that occur while cooking, as well as the social, artistic and technical components of culinary and gastronomic phenomena in general

The restaurant has three interesting named menus – The Hunter (nonvegetarian), The Gatherer (Vegetarian) & the Grand Degustation menu (with or without wine pairing). They also serve alacarte.

Champagne topped with frothed creme de cassis

The visual theme of the restaurant is mushrooms – so there r mushrooms printed on the table napkins, mushroom shaped badges on the shirts of all the members of staff & very interestingly, the pillars & the space around them was also mushroom shaped.

It is mandatory to inform a day in advance if u go for a Grand Degustation menu. We did that & were pleasantly surprised to see a specialized menu created & printed just for us with the date of visit mentioned on it. This menu was prepared post a discussion over the phone with the Chef on our ‘food restrictions’ if any – Needless to say we opted for the ‘no restriction’ option & left the menu to the Chef’s imagination.

menucard tailormade for us - right click & save it to desktop if u want to read it (very interesting)

What came on our tables post this was way above expectations.

Since this is a new concept to India, the members of the staff come & explain a lot about the concepts. A very good experience for foodies. For those who love eating food but not interested in the backround, they might just request ‘ pls excuse us – no stories, only food’.

Detailed description – In case u have the time to enjoy reading:

The evening started off with the serving of a pink candy floss – usual taste if u nibble at the corner. We were then told to have it at a go. ……….. turned out to b candy floss with chicken liver pate at the center. Unusual unexpected combination that tasted YUMM. Magic no. 1.

Then came a ping pong ball sized dollop of Soy butter with spray of porchini mushroom. This was accompanied with thin bread sticks – thinner than a pencil, yet had a interesting taste – mix of crunchy but not flaky. Very tasty combination.

soy butter & mushrooms

Cheese ball Portugal came next – It was tiny cheese balls freshly prepared & served warm– too good aroma & taste.

cheese balls Portugal

Parmesan & cheddar cheese crisp – looked like sabudana papad, interesting texture & taste, with a cheesy aftertaste. Loved it.

parmesan & cheddar cheese crisp

Post the snacks, we were served Tenderloin crisp along with a Black Truffle soup. The crisp was a new form of tenderloin that we had had. The texture & the look of the crisp was that of onions fried till brown. Surely it had a tenderloin flavor but with the texture that it had, u cud not get a real taste but just an aftertaste. The broth was outstanding. The crisps tasted much better with the broth.

Tenderloin crisp along with a Black Truffle soup

Brioche bread was served on the house. Soft – layered (visible) look, cool taste, served along with orange & thyme flavored olive oil. Very very interesting bread & the olive oil. Reordered the bread.

multilayered soft n tasty Brioche Bread

Magic no. 2 unfolded immediately after this. We were served a white plate with a small heap of something that looked like’ paan parag’. As the spoon landed n the food, I realized that the powder was soft as well – close to milk powder. As soon as the food landed in the mouth, it turned into a paste & yo…………. It was duck liver pate. Excellent taste, flavor & aftertaste. On the second bite we discovered a raspberry emulsion at the base of the heap. The emulsion added a twist to the pate & enthralled the taste buds.

Duck Liver Pate that looked like 'Paan Parag'

What came next was a visual treat as much as it was a treat for the tastebuds. The look was like ‘a morning walk in the woods’ – fallen leaves of different colors & textures. Turned out to be an amalgamation of seven exotic mushrooms & dried cauliflower!!!! The dried cauliflower tasted like cauliflower but looked like a fossilized flower that has been resting inside the folds of a book for years. This was served with prune porchini chutney, garlic olive oil pudding & coffee olive soil. The taste was so good that even a hardcore carnivore like me wud prefer this anyday over a normal nonvegetarian meal – That was Magic no. 3.

'walk in the woods' comprising seven exotic mushrooms & more

What came next had little element of magic in it – it tasted good on its own but as compared to the other marvels, I wud say was the last in order of ranking. It was a dish called Maize with three forms of corns – Charred Baby corn with powdered butter & carrot ginger emulsion.

Maize

Magic no. 4 was a tiny sunny side up placed over a bed of what looked like a curry & besides this was a piece of scallop. The sunny side up had nothing to do with eggs – it was white frothed coconut milk that looked like the egg white & a passion fruit emulsion in the center that looked like the yolk!!!! The curry beneath was that of apple in kerala style!!! The seared scallops I wud say descended from the Royal Kitchen in Heaven – buttery consistency, super soft, juicy & outstandingly tasty. I do not remember having such good scallops anywhere so far – this one was a tad better than even the ones at my favourite Legal Seafood Boston.

looks can be really deceptive

The smoked Scottish Salmon that came next was drooling good, full of flavors, flaky, juices bursting inside the mouth & very enjoyable. This was served in a bed of a fish roe in a buttery sauce – whey butter emulsion. A beet chutney (acidic beets) was also a part of the accompaniment but I cud not appreciate that much. A flattened braised cabbage ‘coin’ that rested on the top was way too quirky. It retained its bright green color & also the crispiness – tasted like cabbage though.

smoked scottish salmon

Pan seared duck breast with slow cooked duck legs was served with a strawberry jus. The duck breast pieces showed up on the top – they were crispy on the sides & very soft & juicy within. The Peking Duck at China Kitchen, Hyatt Regency Delhi is better than this duck breast. Beneath these pieces was the marvelous duck leg pieces in an excellent thick dark brown sauce. A tiny cube that lied in a corner was a pork liver pate. Wow overall.

Pan seared Duck Breast & slow cooked duck legs

Pork Belly that came next was no magic visually but made the tastebuddies feel that they were in paradise. This masterpiece, we were told,  was cooked for twelve hours. Unlike many other places, it was not just layers of fat, but mostly soft & succulent meat. It had a buttery texture & an outstanding taste. This was better than our favorite so far – Pork belly at ‘ai’, Saket, MGF Mall, Delhi. A super thin bacon (almost like paper) was very enjoyable too.

12 hour cooked pork belly with caramelized onion reduction & cranberry toddy jello

For palate cleansers we were served assorted melons & Bacardi foam on a bed of tiny cubes of cucumber!!!! What an imagination. The cleanser was as effective in its job as possible. That reminded me of some very interesting palate cleansers that we had at The Orient Express, Taj, Sardar Patel Marg, Delhi.

palate cleansers

Porcini ice cream was another Magic. On our tables came a flat base, a mushroom in the center, surrounded with what looked like rocks. The rocks turned out to be ice cream which felt like biscuits as soon as u pop them in the mouth but sooner it wud melt to taste like ice cream. The round center of the mushroom was actually a marshmellow !!! Meringue was used to make the stick of the mushroom!!! Taste – too good.

porcini ice cream

‘French toast with whipped orange mascarpone’ that came next was good on its own but cud not match up to its prodigal peers.
Swollen like balloons till then, we asked for the bill & then came two surprises.

French Toast with whipped orange flavored mascarpone, served hot

A flat base plate came with ‘Happy Anniversary’ written on it & a candle besides that was lit. That was a pleasant surprise.

the 'Happy anniversary' board with a lit candle

As we blew the candle, they asked us to flip it – It turned out to be a dark chocolate with a white chocolate cover. Loved the whole experience & the taste.

................. the candle that actually was a chocolate!!!!

Post the receipt came the ‘petit fours’. Served in something that looked like an electric bulb, the Petit four was a small coat button sized chocolate which has to be popped into the mouth in one go. As u bite, the thin external chocolate layer bursts & there is a splash of marvelous fruity liquid all over your mouth….

petit fours

Loved overall, will revisit to try out alacarte some other time.

Worth spending such an absurd amount on a 3 hour Dinner, rather than on a pair of Designer shades that last 2 years. A priceless experience.

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14 comments

  1. Dear Yummraj!!

    We wen throughyour experience of the Degustation Menu with great interest and a little apprehension. You are right that this kind of tasting is novel in India, and congrats on doing a great job of reporting it faithfully. Though we are not regular readers of your blog, we wish you the very best!!

    Daktarbabu

  2. Interesting concept!!! but I like your comment comparing the food cost to pair of shades!! coming from you thats something!! :))

    1. ………. ood thought on th e’i will go & learn cooking’ … once in a while to banta hai yaar – infact it is so good that we r willing to ‘save up’ & revisit:)

    1. Our 11th Wedding Anniversary turned out to be one of our best Anniversary evenings – Thanks to u guys. Hope u keep this place as quirky & fun & magic as we experienced.

    1. Hi Huh,
      That’s one’s personal choice. To think of starving people & not eating anything / eating little / eating very inexpensive things / eating things that cost less than Rs. 10 or things that are within Rs. 100 etc…….. who decides what is right?

      Starvation & spending more than Rs. X (I do not know what benchmark u r talking about & who decided on that benchmark) on food are two unrelated topics. One is Goverenment or NGOs or society (comprising us) doing something to generate employment & reduce poverty & starvation & the other is to spend one’s own money in anything one wants to buy – in this case it is food.

      The amount spent in this case could have been on travelling to e.g. the himalayas as well. Wud that have solved the starvation issue. Answer is NO.

  3. I am a big fan of you Yummraj but in my opinion rs.8000 for a meal for 2 is just too much for INDIA.
    How do we decide “too much” ?
    Well the basic minimum pay per month has been set by the Indian government at rs.7000 for unskilled and Rs.8000 for skilled labour. yes its very low but thats what it is..
    The basic minimum wage in america starts from $6.25 in Arkansas to $9.04 in Washington, so that would make it about $64 for 8 hours of work taking $8 an hour, which in turn would mean $1984 monthly.
    Would anyone in their right mind ever charge $1984 for a meal for 2 in America ? At any good eatery ?
    If you stayed in the Presidential suite at the Waldorf in N.Y yeah sure but Smoke house room is’int even close to any decent eatery in N.Y forget the Waldorf.
    If this argument does’nt suffice then lets say we decrease it’s price to $1000 for 2, even then its ridiculous.

    Another way to look at it would be to take the food cost in account ?
    From the drinks to the starters to the the main couse and off course petit fours the food cost cannot exceed 500 – 600 taking the quantity in account..then we can take the rentals,overheads,salary say add another 400. So at the maximum this meal for 2 would’nt cost more than 1rs.1000 give or take a few.
    & Smoke house isint a Michelin star restaurant not that it matters here…..but still.
    So my friend paying rs.8000 for a meal which costs a grand to put together seems a little too over the top to be polite and Criminal to be blunt !

    I know special occasions deserve the best and no harm in splurging…after all it’s your money.
    I just know Smoke house or the Pretentious Olives just aint it.

    my congratulations for your Anniversary 🙂

    1. Hi Rishabh, Thanks for the detailed note. I actually did not think about of it that way.

      However, now that I think about it, it seems to me that inspite of knowing everything that u said, I have no regrets.We enjoyed the evening that much.Maybe this is similar to the theory of why at times irrational overpowers rational. …………….

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