SMOKE: Bar & Restaurant with a View
Ilocos Norte is starting to develop its palate and over the past couple of years, its broad appreciation of foreign flair of flavors is surely starting to come up the surface. It won’t be a matter of time when the Ilocanos will be very open to different food fusions and gastronomic adventures. Yet again, here’s another one to get excited about. SMOKE Bar & Restaurant is an authentic Southern American restaurant serving classic smoked & barbecued meat & poultry in a variety of dishes as well as other home-cooked American recipes. They have a pretty neat bar which will also serve really good “mix & match your own” smoothies, cocktails & booze starting happy hours up until you drop. Located in Paseo de Paoay’s 2nd Floor, you’ll have the perk of enjoying home-cooked American dishes with the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Paoay Church as the view. Fancy, right?
The guys behind SMOKE Bar & Restaurant is Chris Stolk, Matthias Smit, and Mon Manotok (M.I.A.) The idea has been a long-time dream of Chris aka The Meathead for 25 years and along with Matthias aka Capt. Booze, the dream of opening up a restaurant came to reality. Mon, who I was not able to personally meet during that time is also one of the business’ major partner. He actually owns a resort in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte called Kingfisher where Chris & Matthias would spend most of their time kite surfing.
I was dragged to SMOKE by these two girls, Mara & Angel. Angel’s partner, Daniel of We Do Media will be taking food photos for the restaurant so I figured while getting along with them, I could sneak in taking photos of what will be in the menu and get to taste them as well.
That’s Pop Manuel doing photography, on the far left & Daniel of We Do Media. Our colleagues in the events industry. I totally love heir work! You guys should look them up on facebook!
The kitchen, were all the magic happens. First on the list is “Bagtit Bagnet.” It’s a local favorite, no doubt about that but Chris took it to another level by smoking it using their DIY smoker. The restaurant boasts about their use of high-grade selection of wood chips they personally shipped from the US, and how they tediously & painstakingly smoke and season their dishes to perfection. “Low & slow,” so they say.
Their laing was one of my favorites as well! Chris said it was his own nanny’s recipe.
Who wouldn’t enjoy a classic baked mac & cheese?
Everyone had a sweet tooth and was totally pumped trying out their spiced brownies! Oh dear, this would be perfect ala mode. Yes, they’ll be serving it ala mode!
Chris is a lover of everything spicy that’s why at SMOKE, he will be definitely generous on that! They make their dips from freshly, handpicked peppers. He makes his own concoctions from scratch with different scales of spiciness. The hottest one he mentioned that’ll be on their selection of sauces for their Buffalo Wings is the California Reaper. The hottest pepper he had that time was the Ghost Pepper and after Eric had a little dab on this chicken, he claims it made him more of the man he is right now. Haha!
Their Buffalo Wings’ sauces come in different names according to their level heat. From tolerable to deadly (lol), they are “The Shire” (note how they are fans of Lord of the Rings & Tolkien), “Lord of the Wings”, “Modor’s Revenge”, and “The End of Middle Earth.” Choose your pick! Chris & Matthias says that anyone who could finish “The End of Middle Earth” in 10 minutes will be placed on their Wall of Flame and if you fail, a glass of milk will cost 1,000php and will be placed on the Wall of Shame. Challenger, anyone?
Another American classic is their homemade corn bread with chili. We enjoyed this, super filling!
Cajun shrimp over pasta or with their version of dirty rice. They also make their own cajun spice mix!
Smoked longanisa! Angel, who invited me here does not eat longanisa EVER until she had 2 of these!
I was excited to try their own version of pulled pork and it was divine! Smoked then slow cooked until it falls off the bone when prepared. Here they serve it with our very own Pasuquin biscocho, a local pastry which worked so well with the juicy meat. This was definitely mouthwatering!
I love these guys!
Food will be much more enjoyed with really good drinks. They made this bar on their own and Matthias will be the guy behind it so satisfy your thirsty thoughts, or throats rather.
Mix & Match your own smoothies!
They also serve local crafted beer from Baguio Craft Brewery.
Look at that froth!
Matthias started to mix cocktails and this was the first one. A Mojito with freshly squeezed calamansi for that smooth zing. The team had to stay a little longer while Eric and I had to leave during the cocktail shoot to catch up on another appointment. But hey, at least I will have something to come back to!
The food is barely half of what they’ll be serving. They’ll be opening for breakfast, lunch, dinner, up to midnight for the bar! Spare a weekend or two if you can and visit SMOKE Bar & Restaurant. Enjoy dining home-cooked American dishes that’ll keep you craving for their distinct flavors and while you’re at it, you get to enjoy the Paoay Church as a view.