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.
Facebook page: Smoke house Room
Cuisine type: Vegetarian & Non vegetarian
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!!!!!!!!
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.
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.
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.
Cheese ball Portugal came next – It was tiny cheese balls freshly prepared & served warm– too good aroma & taste.
Parmesan & cheddar cheese crisp – looked like sabudana papad, interesting texture & taste, with a cheesy aftertaste. Loved it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
A flat base plate came with ‘Happy Anniversary’ written on it & a candle besides that was lit. That was a pleasant surprise.
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.
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….
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.