Mumbai, over the last few years has become home to cuisines from all over the world … The Italians were here first (and still make the most news due to different reasons – not food), the Mexicans (Sammy Sosa’s et. al.) followed suite with their oh-so-spicy delights that suited Indian palates perfectly. The Spaniards (Poco Loco etc.) were careful … though the Paella & Spicy sausages was bound to be a hit here! The French (Le Pain Quotidien) still remains aloof and high-nosed, as always, catering to the elite. Won’t mention the Orientals here, as they can probably give competition in number as well to the local delights.
Coming back to the Italians … the ‘Mangii’ family & friends here can give the Godfather family a fight when it comes to Dons with the restaurants all talking about the ‘original & exclusive’ wood-fired ovens. The original one (Café Mangii, Khar) still manages to delight but we have been dying for a change … a different menu, something exciting – visually as well as well as on the palate. Roaming around the city and after trying out the Indigo Deli’s, Little Italy’s, Mia Cucini’s, Spaghetti Kitchen’s of the world – we found one such ‘place’ … right under our nose at the High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel.
Smoke House Deli comes from a good pedigree and doesn’t disappoint. Skeptical at first, the whole experience was a sheer delight – in every aspect. A beautifully done up restaurant in Black & White theme, it’s ‘different’ and inviting… and it works. Perfect & attentive service, an excellent host (the Duty Manager) who personally got us to enroll in their loyalty program (the first I have come across), a decent selection of wines and most important – amazing food – in the middle of a busy mall, you have a winner!!
We ordered a Sangria and Riesling to start with the latter available in glass, a delight compared to other stand-alone restaurants who offer only the local Sauvignon & Chenin Blanc varieties. We had a movie to catch at the nearby PVR, so were hard pressed for time and no possibility of antipasti. The bread basket (or should I say an innovative brown sack) came without prompting and a nice variety of warm breads in it. For main course we ordered Pasta and Smoked Lamb Shank … I am not sure whether it was on account of us rushing them or a screw up, the pasta came in well before the lamb and my wife kept cribbing about eating ‘alone’. We forgot all that once the dish came in after a wait of about 20 mins. By far, it was one of the BEST slow-cooked lamb dish I have had in ages and boy, did I forget about the movie. Perfectly cooked, with the meat falling off the bones in an amazing tasty sauce … every bit was consumed with the respect it deserved. Served with vegetables, I could not resist dipping my bread into the sauce and finishing off the entire plate.
We will definitely be back, with enough time in our hand to try out the other dishes and the lamb again. Deserts were average with the cheese cake disappointing a little. Would highly recommend the place to all …