After all the time we’ve lived in New Farm and reviews we’ve heard, we haven’t had the chance to try out the Bluesmoke BBQ, which was renamed the Smoke BBQ after it reopened post-renovations earlier this year.
As always, we just dropped in and asked if we could have a table. The waitress asked if we would mind sitting outside (we didn’t) and took us around the back, where the options were high tables with tall chairs, or leather covered cubes with low tables. Thankfully there are potted bushes cordoning off the area and formed a barrier between diners and the foot traffic from the neighbouring bottle shop and Merthyr Village carpark.
We were given a small bun-sized slice of cornbread with butter to nibble on, as we surveyed the menu. The cornbread is quite lovely, so I didn’t mind that it wasn’t much – had I eaten more, I doubt my stomach would have enough room for the main act.
After some discussion with the staff, we opted to share a Smoke BBQ’s Big Rib Combo – enough to feed two with a small selection of what the Smoke BBQ has to offer.
Texas Beef Short Rib is fantastic! The flesh literally falls off the bone with a gentle tug from a fork and there’s plenty of meat on it. I reckon it could have been slathered with a little less sauce, but the sauce is yummy and doesn’t overpower the beefy goodness.
North Carolina pulled pork is fantastic with some really strong flavours, but I found myself struggling to have more than 4-5 mouthfuls. The richness and fullness of flavour just got to me. Even the SO had trouble as well and we agreed we would not be able to handle a plateful of the pulled pork on its own.
The Memphis Pork Belly was the disappointer on the plate: the pork belly slices are reasonably sliced and are covered in a thick dusting of what I think is paprika. The pork is a touch too dry and goes down better when the Memphis sauce is slapped on.
Coleslaw was great – the dressing not too thick and really refreshing. And the chips were good.
Service was alright. The waitress who initially served us would answer our queries about the menu without cracking a smile, so I wouldn’t call her warm, but it wasn’t bad. The man working the floor, who I assume is either the owner or the manager, was attentive and checked in on us regularly. He didn’t smile either, but I got the sense he was just the sort of man who had a drier sense of humour.
So while service doesn’t get a gold star, the food is the drawcard and we will definitely be back to try the buffalo wings on our next trip.