I visited Smokehouse Deli for weekend lunch with a few relatives.
Service: 5/5 (because of a specific incident)
Food (Taste): 3.5/5
Portion size: 3/5
Reached there around 3ish and were told that we have a 15-minute wait, and then the courteous maitre d' returned to tell us that we'd actually be seated in less than 5. Great! Under-promise and over-deliver works for me.
We got seated at a corner table and looked around. The design is very innovative, and it works. They've painted everything white and then let some reasonably skilled kids do their thing with black Sharpies. The white gives the place a feeling of space. It's not a very large restaurant, but they've taken care to space out the tables so each table gets reasonable privacy. That's good too.
Service -- Top marks for service, especially because of something that happened. They give you this 'brown batuwa (sack)' filled with assorted bread + butter + other aioli. My family loved the breads, especially the small sesame topped buns, and we asked for a repeat. They got us some more bread. My fam loved em so much we asked the waiter if we could buy some from them to take home. He replied that they didn't sell the bread but he said he could pack some for us. And he did. That is a touch one doesn't see in Indian restaurants, and yet, that is the touch that makes winners and retains regular customers!
Food -- This is the part that is Good but short of Great.
They serve water in carafes that contain slices of orange and mint sprigs. However, the flavor didn't carry through to the water. Those things need to be changed often.
For appetizers we got the seafood fritters (good but not great; the aioli was missing a 'hit' factor) and the chicken satay (ummm, good). For any appetizer, the aioli needs to be distinctive. SHD misses on that count. For benchmark, try the beer batter fried veggies at Indigo Deli. They give you three aiolis to go with that. One word for em - STELLAR.
For the mains, we ordered the seafood risotto (though, it appears, the mushroom risotto is more popular; I'd still go with the seafood one), and the penne pasta (one of my relatives wanted it; I never order pasta). The smoked lamb shanks and the rawas looked more inviting. Unfortunately, we wanted to avoid feeling stuffed and let them pass.
The seafood risotto is very good but falls short of stellar or Great or Incredible. The prawn, rawas chunks, and calamari in it are tasty but the actual rice (the arborio) falls short. I believe they need to source better quality rice. And I'd suggest two drops of truffle oil to make it Fit for Gods.
The penne pasta, well, it was as good or as bad as a pasta can be. I've never been a penne guy, so...
Portions - For the price, I think the portions should be larger. How much larger? 10-15% more?
They do a good job with plating. Loved their choice of plates to serve the food in. The balsamic vinegar + sugar reduction was also well done.
VFM -- The total tab came out to ~2300 (including tax + 10% service charge aka tip). At 800 bucks a head in Mumbai, that's reasonable VFM.
Will I go back again? Yes, to try the Rawas and the Lamb Shanks. Hear their burger and steak are good too!