At Smoke House Deli on Lavelle Road, the walls may not have ears, but they speak volumes about the neighborhood’s illustrious history. Some whisper secrets about the city’s glorious past, some pass on ideas about what the city can be. More often than not they reveal a mysterious, bizarre and curiously optimistic side of Bengaluru. To allow these stories to talk to you, they’ve tagged their baby with QR codes that will virtually transport you through time to a fascinating lesson in alternative-urban history, with a delicious meal for company.
As they say, cities are made by its people, and Smoke House Deli at Lavelle Road is a tribute to the locality’s foremost resident: Michael F. Lavelle himself, the neighborhood’s namesake and the region’s first gold prospector.
The restaurant is a hat-tip to a bygone British era of excessive luxuries, as its proportions will hasten to remind you. Invitingly spacious, it is divided into an outdoor area, a lounge and the restaurant at the end, giving you the choice of multiple experience formats. The trademark eccentrically hand-illustrated interiors recreate a hypothetical hunting lodge that one might imagine belonged to Michael F. Lavelle. The walls record his memories as a hunter, an art collector, a family man, a friend and most significantly, they parody his membership in the East India Company as a ‘gold-digger.’
As you glance around the deli, there is a lot to take in, the menu, for starters. It draws on a variety of inspirations, some as old as the locality and others as avant-garde as the deli itself. The result is a flirtatious assortment of gourmet creations that tease you with tastes and aromas you think are familiar, but take a bite, and you’ll realise you’re wonderfully mistaken.
The cocktail menu makes for an exotic piece of literature, with combinations of fruit, herbs, flowers and high-class liquor from around the world. Hedonistic martinis are offered in ravishing red grape and sage, mandarin and rosemary and beguiling pomegranate and balsa. And if you’d prefer something a little headier, the pick of the world’s best wines is only a flip away, with selections from as far as South Africa to Sicily and nearly everywhere in between. We notice, gauging by the number of glassy eyes and happy faces, that their Sangrias are a big hit with the ladies, while their potent cocktail mixes are what lure the men in!
The kitchen and bakery churn out luscious breakfast offerings of pancakes, omelettes and concoctions like the granola chunks and yoghurt with honey and fresh fruit. Their Eggs Benedict has been given a 5-star rating by the city’s gourmands and their wide selection of coffees and teas have bleary-eyed diners walking in just for their favoured caffeine fix.
For the health junkie, a wide variety of choice exists in fillers like the House Spiced Smoked Chicken With Five Spice Jus, Green Beans And Lyonnaise, Smoked Pimento With Leeks, Herbed Balsamic Smoked Chicken with Smoked Tomato and Gherkin. And more devilish meals include the Chilli Crusted Cobbler with Saffron Risotto, Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Sausage Stuffing, Sautéed Tenderloin Steak with Shitake, John Dory served with Smoked Shimla Chilli and even the My Boss’s Style Spaghetti.
For those who don’t have a sweet tooth, make sure you indulge, at least once. The Baked Yoghurt of the day is most unique and leaves you feeling a wee bit less guilty (considering its yoghurt and all), otherwise let loose with the scrumptious Hazelnut Mousse Tart, Blueberry Panacotta, Citrus Tart, New York Baked Cheesecake and the array of wonderfully colourful Macaroons.
Portion sizes are like none other you will find in Bengaluru, so make sure you encourage your co-diners to share. And never be shy to ask for a doggy bag coz sometimes there just ain’t enough space in your belly!