125, DLF Promenade
Nelson Mandela Marg
Vasant Kunj, New Delhi
Ph: 011 4607 5646 / 4165 0945
Timing: 11 am to 1 am
Map: Click Here
Do you have a blindfold? If not, make one. Then walk into Smoke House Deli, ask for the cocktail menu and pick a cocktail blindly. You can’t go wrong.
Stuck in office on a Thursday evening, when I get a call from Sanjay Roy, a Bangalore based client, who’s in Delhi for a planning meeting and is @ the Grand. I pick him up and we head for DLF Promenade. Sanjay has a distorted impression of Delhi and low expectations. I think he expected that I would take him to a Delhi theka, where we would order some Bagpiper and Tandoori Chicken. @ Night, the area around the Grand is pretty deserted, as does the Grand, and DLF Promenade was a welcome relief, although it wasn’t actually buzzing. Walking in to Smoke Deli, Sanjay remarked, that “he could be anywhere in the world”, it’s very international, with a large inviting cold cuts and desserts counter, and bar, with lots of nice seating. We were drawn to the outside seating however, which is a part of The Hub, which is a common open area for Promenade and Emporio.
I persuaded Sanjay to try a cocktail, as Smoke House Grill normally does good cocktails, and I thought their cousin wouldn’t disappoint. I recommended he have their Watermelon Caipirojka. I picked a drink from the top of the list, in the section marked Smoke House Signatures – Fresh Fruit, Herb, Floral Infusions. I picked the Kiwi, Cantaloupe Melon and Jasmine one (vodka base). We ordered a platter of cold cuts to accompany the starter and sat back. There’s not much happening in the Hub on a Thursday night, except for a big screen, showing Channel V and on the other side, is the open area of Mocha Art House, which still is to be visited. We were toying with the idea of going bar hopping, but as the cocktails arrived, we soon ditched that idea.
My infusion was served in a tall glass, and I wasn’t exactly sure as to what was in it, except definitely for a lot of vodka and fruit, which were brilliant in combination. 2 long skewers with Cantaloupes are your garnish, and there are loads of bits of kiwi and melon to chomp on, and I even tried my palate out with the jasmine flowers (floral!). Sanjay’s Watermelon Caipirojka, blew him away, he’s not normally a cocktail drinker and was amazed as to how good they can be. It was packed with fresh watermelon, mint and lemons, giving the drink a great, fresh taste. That’s the deal; a well made cocktail can briefly give you faith in the cocktail as a category, until the next shitty one at some bar, brings the mistrust back. Have no such fear @ SM Deli.
A quibble, the waiter knew next to nothing about the cocktails, and I had to ask for the bartender, who after the first time, never came back to the table to ask how the drinks were, or whether we wanted a repeat. That’s a typical Delhi thing, and progressive outlets like SM Deli, need to fix this with better training and monitoring.
Emboldened by the first 2 cocktails, we ordered a Smoked Melon Mojito for Sanjay and a Cucumber, Basil and Lavender Infusion for me. The melons as Sanjay remarked, were “nicely balled”, but were missing the smoky flavour, apart from that the drink was perfect, as was my infusion, although I preferred the earlier combination of fruits to this mix, and it seemed to finish much faster than the earlier one. As Sanjay remarked also, the drinks had enough alcohol for you to be certain that you weren’t being short changed.
The clock struck 9.30 and the fountain decided to get jiggy, and proceeded to run through a set of blinding maneuvers. We shared a lamb burger to accompany the cocktails, and moved on to Cinnabon for coffee and bons.., with our faith in the craft of the cocktail restored.