There’s a new ‘smoker’ in town.
Sharing its spacious Mega Kuningan area with Japanese restaurant One Eyed Jack, Up In Smoke has been making quite the buzz since its first opening in July, dishing rustic, slow-cooked specialties that combine traditional wood fire smoking and grilling techniques of Texas with modern, innovative culinary twists that extend both in presentation and also use of ingredients.
Here, beef briskets are not just served sliced with, a lot of times, bland looking sides (despite tasting good regardless), but presented beautifully with freshly grilled shishito chilies and dots of homemade barbecue sauce.
Although this was their first break in Jakarta (One Eyed Jack already made its mark in Bali’s food scene), Up in Smoke actually has been making waves in Jakarta’s catering and pop-up scene since 2014, quickly garnering a reputation as Jakarta’s premier source of artisan smoked and grilled meats.
To get to the restaurant(s), you can enter the restaurant from either of the 3 entrances. Stepping in, your eyes will quickly be drawn into the ‘hearth’ Up in Smoke’s open kitchen, with its open grill and two bright red smokers, and the conventional line kitchen that’s divided in half for both Up in Smoke and One Eyed Jack. Customers dining in the restaurant can order from both menus too, making it quite an exciting clash of culinary experience. The atmosphere is undoubtedly laid back yet tastefully trendy.
For starters, Up in Smoke serves some of the best I’ve tried in the ‘bar food’ category. Every-part-of-the-animal pork fan will love their home made pork-crackling, best served with a squeeze of fresh lime, while my favorite would be the deep-fried home made pickle served with bbq sauce and aioli. I guess I should pointing out the ‘home made’ part because pretty much everything they serve IS home made, except for their sourdough bread that they source from BEAU.
Their USDA meat smoked brisket is ridiculously succulent, and their smoked chicken served with a tangy white sauce, and topped with beautiful mess of pickled onions and deep fried spring onions. But what really caught me by surprise is how good (and quite big) their vegetarian option is, that what came out as my favorite item on the menu is the grilled broccoli, served with pickled raisins and romesco sauce. I like vegetables, but the thought of ‘grilled broccoli’ never crossed my mind. Somehow they can get this little green trees to taste smoky, tangy, spicy, cheesy and refreshing all at the same time.
Fans of American desserts will love the deconstructed s’mores with toasted marshmallow creme, vanilla ice cream, graham crumbs and honeycomb, and the simple yet decadent banana cream pie with a center of salted caramel and brown butter graham. Delicious!