Holy Smoke makes Fort Kochi a barbeque destination serving options like pigs in blankets
One and a half-year-old Sutra restaurant on Rose Street in Fort Kochi has carved out a name for itself. Serving excellent Mesoamerican, however, is not owner Imogen Loughran’s only plan. This British-origin foodpreneur has launched a two-week-old outlet called Holy Smoke in the adjacent Princess Street.
A small board facing the alley is the only sign of the outlet located in Tom’s Old Mansion as I walk into the charming 32-cover space. The facade of a ship’s hull made of wood adds to the rustic ambience of the rather unsophisticatedly decorated restaurant.
“The concept behind this restaurant is to introduce the dishes that are popular in Southern USA like Texas and Tennessee, which mostly include grills and barbeque cooking,” says Imogen, as I’m served a citrus-heavy, bitter-sweet Passion Jack drink and couscous salad. The light and colourful (think loaded with olives and zucchinis) salad is indeed the best appetiser for a great meal.
Unlike many other barbeque destinations in the city, Holy Smoke is keen on accommodating vegetarians as well. The best I can do is eye the names like grilled aubergine before biting into the Texas triple meat burger. The thin patty, glazed with bourbon sauce, is topped with barbequed beef, bacon, and a frazzled onion.
“We use lava stones brought from North India to get that natural heating from the grill. The buns and sauces are also made in-house to give our customers the best experience,” says the owner, as fresh rainfall adds its calming pitter-patter atop Western music playing in the background.
The plating by consultant chef Shivji Sasidharan does perfect justice to prime cuts like T-bone and tenderloin. Head chef Eldho Cheriyan’s version of a baby back pork rib doused in sweet BBQ sauce is simply delicious with its melt-in-the-mouth slices.
Alongside pocket-friendly hot-dog and sandwich options, the menu also prompts gourmands to choose their sauces and sides like appleslaw and mac ‘n’ cheese. If you can’t forgo the spicy experience, their butterfly chicken with pepper sauce or Anglo-Indian dishes like the beef musard and kedgeree rice will definitely satisfy your palate.
“We’re going to revise the menu constantly once we get to our full-functionality and also include desserts,” Eldho winds up.
From 8 am to 11 pm.