Tuesday, 21 January 2014

SmokeHouse Charcoal BBQ (Great World City) |ThumbsForFood

We were pleased to be invited to SmokeHouse Charcoal BBQ's Media Preview. SmokeHouse, spearheaded by award-winning Master Chef Naoki Tsuzuki, is the first in Singapore to have a retail and self-service BBQ concept. SmokeHouse is under the branch of RE&S Enterprises consisting of restaurants like Ichiban, Kuishin-bo and Kuriya.

Photo Credits: SmokeHouse Official Photos

SmokeHouse's highlight is their wide variety of premium rare cut meat parts of Wagyu beef that cannot be found in local butchery. They offer parts like chuck flap, flank steak and even beef's tongue. Besides their speciality beef, they also offer pork, lamb, poultry, seafood, sausages and more. Besides that, SmokeHouse sells a variety of Japanese side dishes (Souzai), drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) as well as desserts from their sister company, Green Pumpkin.

As you step into SmokeHouse, you will be greeted by their retail section. Their retail section does not only consists of food, they also sell a variety of Japanese condiments, charcoal, sauces, e.t.c.

Retail Area (Photo Credits: SmokeHouse)
We were blown away by the selection of drinks SmokeHouse has. For alcoholic drinks, they have their unique-flavored Soju made from Sweet Potato and Barley. Drinks are sold by the bottle. I like that they also include wine and beer in their drinks selection as it provides a good range of alternatives. It would not be difficult to find something suitable for everyone.

Alcohol Drinks
Sweet Potato and Barley Soju Taverns

As for non-alcoholic drinks, they have the usual canned soft drinks as well as hot drinks. For hot drink, you can purchase a capsule from the counter at $3, insert it into their special capsule dispenser and voilĂ , you get your self-serviced drink!

Refrigerated Beverages (Alcoholic and Non-alcoholic)

Hot Drinks Capsule Dispenser
Before I move onto the taste of the food, let me share with you about the unique dine-in concept of SmokeHouse. Here are the simple Dine-in Steps!

Dine-in Steps

Step 1: Book a table at the dine-in Cashier Counter. Do ensure you do that to secure a table!

Cashier Counter

Step 2: Select your BBQ ingredients and drinks at the retail counter. We were honestly quite overwhelmed as to what to choose from the wide variety of meat on display. Thankfully, the staff were very friendly an patient in giving us recommendations.

Retail Area

Step 3: Make Payment for your items and cover charge at the dine-in cashier. Cover charge entitles you to free flow of salad, condiments, soup and rice. The dine in cover charge is as follows:

Step 4: Enjoy Do-it-Yourself BBQ at the table. Not to worry if you want to get extra ingredients or desserts after your first serving. Just repeat Steps 2 and 3!

Dine-in Area
The highlight of SmokeHouse is undoubtedly it's beef. Just look at the wide range of beef below with different cuts, different marbling, different textures! They even have beef tongue as well as premium cuts. Prices range from about $15/100gm to about $30/100gm. One look at the display and you can see that all the beef are actually of good grade and quality. If you would like to purchase rare beef to barbecue or grill your own steak, you can request the chef to cut your desired weight for you.

Beef  on display
SmokeHouse imports their beef mainly from Japan. When the beef reaches Singapore in their vacuum packs, they will be placed in an ageing cupboard as seen below. Ageing helps tenderize and increase the flavour of the meat. The meat is placed in ageing for about 17-25 days. 

Beef Ageing
When the meat is properly aged, the chef will remove the meat from its vacuum packaging and they will remove excess water by using paper as seen below.

Removing excess moisture

Then, they will remove excess mould that is formed on the surface of the beef through ageing. 

Carefully removing mould formed during ageing
Then, they will cut the beef based on the desired cuts. Below, the chef is cutting the beef into steaks. The chefs at SmokeHouse underwent training in Osaka to perfect the cuts.

Cutting the meat into steak slices
We tried various cuts and types of beef that day to find our favorite cuts and types. Their beef is sold in slices as seen below and weighed individually. 

Various beef slices tried

Our top three favorites are actually the Japan Wagyu Ribeye Cap ($28/100gm), Japan Wagyu Striploin ($29.80/100gm) and Japan Wagyu Chateaubriand (Most expensive beef in SmokeHouse at $46/100gm). 

We liked that SmokeHouse uses charcoal for barbeque as it really brings out the flavors of the meat. 

Meat on the barbeque
Meat on the barbeque
The Japan Wagyu Ribeye Cap's texture is firm with a nice bite. It is moist and juicy and of straightforward character. It has a lingering impression. We feel that it is really delicious! This is our top favorite. 

Ribeye Cap
Japan Wagyu Striploin is usually the cut used in steaks other than sirloin and ribeye. The fatty content is someone in between the two. The Striploin was slightly more chewy, with a general meaty flavor and clears the palate quite quickly. 

The Japan Wagyu Chateaubriand seems to be more evenly marbled though not as juicy as the Ribeye Cap. The flavor is really impressionable with a good bite. I guess we preferred something that was juicier and thus, even though the Chateaubriand was more flavorful, we preferred Ribeye Cap. 

For those who are up for something more adventurous, try the Beef Tongue (Jo Tan)! We did not finish ours because the thought of eating a tongue is way too overwhelming. The tongue is chewy and personally we didn't feel that it was of much flavor. However, we met some food bloggers who felt that the Jo Tan was really good!

Beef Tongue (Jo Tan)

Besides beef, SmokeHouse also has a selection of pork, seafood and vegetables. We tried their scallops which were really fresh, huge and tasty. Their pork jowl was a recommended pork dish which we enjoyed as well. 

Vegetables, Seafood, Chicken & Pork Selection
3 pork choices available
We tried their two of their side dishes which are the Pumpkin salad and their Daigaku Imo. We personally felt that the pumpkin salad lacklustre because it wasn't very sweet and flavorful. But, the Daigaku Imo was good! It is like candied sweet potato with a sweet and slightly crisp layer on the outside and a sweet and velvety flesh on the inside. We would love to try their other side dishes!

Pumpkin Salad (Left) and Daigaku Imo (Right)

The cover charge that you would be paying to dine-in would consist of the various cutlery, utensils, cups as well as the array of condiments, salads and free appetizers. I liked how everything is nicely organized and laid out. I mean to save on 10& service charge, I really wouldn't mind taking the utensils myself and barbecuing the meat myself! 

Cutlery, Paper Apron, e.t.c. for use
Salad bar on far left and appetizers such as kimchi on the right
They also had two BBQ sauces that you can use to dip your raw meat and barbeque or you can use it as a dip for your cooked meat! Personally, we felt the sauces were a little too strong, so don't dip too much or it might cover the natural meat flavor.

Barbeque Sauces
SmokeHouse also offers some desserts and fruits for diners who would love to end of the complete and perfect meal with some sweets! I am sure everyone from young to old will find something that suits their palate here. 

Desserts and Fruits
We tried their Yuzu Roll Cake and their Melon. The Yuzu Roll cake was really light and the cream was smooth and not oily at all. It is a perfect cake for those who are looking at something light yet, special to end the meal.

Yuzu Roll Cake
The Melon was very sweet! It was nicely riped and the fragrance of the fruit really shone. If I do not remember wrongly, a slice of melon is about $8. But, I guess for those who have been dying to try the Japanese Melon but yet, don't bear to get a whole fruit, this is a good alternative!

Juicy Melon
We shared a bottle of Sake with the two ladies from WheretoeatSingapore who were seating beside us. The Soju is really smooth and goes so well with the meat! I would love to come back to try their Sweet Potato one!

Overall, we had a good meal thanks to the invitation by SmokeHouse. We really gained insight on the various beef and the ageing process. We enjoyed talking to the Chef Naoki Tsuzuki and staff who patiently showed us around the place. We look forward to dining at SmokeHouse again and will definitely be back to try their unique Soju flavors!

Our dining Area

Thank you for the warm hospitality!
1 Kim Seng Promenade, Great World City
Tel: 6235 2185
Opens Daily: 12pm to 3pm (Lunch); 6pm-1030pm (Dinner)

For inquiries on invitations, please email us at thumbsforfood@gmail.com.


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