24 September, 2006


182 Ocean Beach Rd, Sorrento; 03 5984 1246

The array of stickers on the front window of the Smokehouse, Sorrento, indicates it’s a staple of food critics’ recommendations. Situated at the southern end of Ocean Beach Road, the Smokehouse is open for dinners only. The interior is cosy, with wooden floorboards and tables, but a decent size (seating about 80). On this Saturday night, it’s rammed and a booking would have been a good idea. We get a table right by the front door, which allows us to witness not only the pizza preparation area but also the steady stream of customers collecting take away orders: this is definitely a local favourite.

One corner of the Smokehouse kitchen features a large, stone pizza oven and we’ve come to sample its wares. The menu features eight pizza options, all priced between $11 - $19. Pizzas are available on gluten- and yeast-free bases. There are other mains, including seafood risotto and pasta, Moorish barramundi, lamb shanks and salads.

SG goes for the Barbecue Chicken - when it arrives it seems to have at least a full chicken breast sliced on top, and a sizable spread of bacon, topped with caramelised onion. I’m informed it tastes as good as it looks. I’ve gone for the Boursin, a garlic and cheese overload. And to be honest it is a little overloaded - given it features garlic boursin cheese as a topping, perhaps they could have gone easier on the mozzarella. I find it a bit filling, though very satisfying, with the ‘hot salami’ more tasty than hot, though the oil residue on my plate (perhaps from the pesto base) is a little disconcerting.

I want to leave room to sample their dessert menu and am thirlled with their sensible approach to doggy bagging - the food is foil-wrapped, with a sticker detailing heating and storage instructions and the current date and time to indicate the food’s use-by. Dessert is happily shared - chocolate, strawberry and vanilla Norgan Vaas ice cream, with mars bar sauce and shaved almonds. Sounds like something you’d dream up at home to go with a mushy DVD, and between two it’s a nice, sweet end to the meal.

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