This venue has closed.
We push open the heavy metal door
beneath The Smokeyard’s proudly
emblazoned marquee. The two-storey
dining room is filled with an
alternating collection of hardwood
tables, pressed-steel enamel chairs
and high-top tables.
At the outset,
everything seems to be in order –
cool, modern and an attempt at the
We crack open a menu and rattle
off a drink order with some starters.
A craft beer seems in order, and
lucky for us, it’s right there on the
menu! What sort of ‘craft beer’ no
one seems to know, we’d heard
it’s from Lark Brew Pub but our
server is insistent that it’s a house
concoction (on a separate visit this
belief was echoed a second time),
but we’re not here to argue and at
18RMB a pint, it’s hard to complain.
We sit back to wait as the content
of the brightly painted walls come
into focus. A two-storey-high image
of a Mercedes G-Class is bursting
from one wall, while a black decal of
a lorry screams a roadhouse anthem
from another. It’s hard to place all of
this – somewhere between rich kid’s
trucker fantasy and toned-down
Our beers arrive to put a
stop to our musing, followed shortly
by our starters.
The mozzarella sticks (26RMB)
are an affront to cheese in stick
form everywhere. Dry, devoid
of anything resembling cheese
and purported to be served
inexplicably with ketchup (although
our order came with sweet Thai
chilli sauce). The Mexi Shrooms (32RMB)
fare much better, stuffed with a
satisfying combination of cheese
and spices. Beer-battered chips
(26RMB) are a nice attempt at
something more than just plain old
chips, but the batter has no flavour,
adding a crunch but nothing more.
The Green Dip (38RMB) – a sort of
guacamole riff with mango – goes
down well, but skip the thick greasy
bits of toast posing as tortilla chips.
The barbecue standards are eons
ahead. The ribs (78RMB) are tender
and delicious, even if the sauce is
over-seasoned with cumin. Likewise,
the steak (98RMB) is on point,
delivering great value as well as a
satisfying protein fix. Both suffer
from disappointing sides, but a
carnivore would hardly notice.
Service is eager, if clueless, and
they have an iPad ordering system
that seems to create more confusion
than it solves.
In the end, we leave
The Smokeyard a bit disappointed.
We’d hoped for more, but if you’re
looking for a cheap steak, a rack
of ribs, and not much else, The
Smokeyard has your number.