Smoke House Deli
DLF Place Mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi.
Meal for two: Rs 2,700
If you want the music turned down, as we did, then you are too old for Smoke House Deli. “It’s very New York, isn’t it,” says my well-travelled dinner companion. Frankly, it appeared to me more like a post-1990s Nirula—the same desserts with exotic names behind glass counters, the same jeans-clad American Dream aspirants, but with a lot more spending power, judging by the prices of beverages. We of course took the precaution of tanking ourselves on single malts at home before setting out, but the young men at the next table ordered a bottle of French wine without a blink and left after drinking hardly a glass of it. The menu card would have required a French-English dictionary—if I didn’t have my friend along to translate.
We settled for blackened kingfish—the neymeen that Malayalis love to fry in hot spices—but grilled suitably blandly with citrus beurre blanc (white butter for us illiterates in French) and pumpkin seeds and saffron pappardelle wasabi with prawns and smoked trout, which my companion assured me was as good as it gets anywhere in the world. I chickened out of the exotica by opting for a German wurstel hotdog with grain mustard and onion relish which tasted like a...hotdog. The SHD caesar salad (with smoked bacon add-on) made me wish they wouldn’t try so hard to improve on a good thing. The dessert was the best part—an Irish Bailey torte that couldn’t be improved upon.