As The Smoke Haus on Mary Ann Street, Cardiff (on the former site of Hooters) prepares to celebrate it’s first anniversary, I was invited to review the restaurant along with a guest.
The opening of The Smoke Haus last August followed the success of a sister restaurant by the same name in Wind Street, Swansea, which opened in 2012.
Designed to resemble a traditional American BBQ joint, The Smoke Haus serves a tantalising selection of grilled meat dishes, from burgers, hot dogs and steaks to light plates and sandwiches, with a full dessert menu and a children’s menu also available.
As we entered the restaurant we were greeted by one of the waiters, who kindly escorted us to our table and introduced himself as George. He was really friendly, enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about all of the dishes on the menu.
The menu boasts several Man V Food-style challenges, including the Big Bertha (five cheeseburgers in one bun; apparently no one has ever managed to finish this and I’m not surprised!) and the famous donut burger; a Haus burger piled with grilled smoked bacon wedged between two glazed donuts. Adam Richman would be proud.
Whilst you eat, you can even vote for what songs are played in the restaurant using the Remote iPhone app.
As we pondered over the menu, my friend Sarah ordered a Pepsi and, after catching a glimpse of the extensive cocktail menu, I opted for a Bloody Mary. The Bloody Mary was served in a tall glass, topped with ice and garnished with a celery stick. It tasted good; I would have liked it to be a bit spicier, but that’s just personal preference really. I would suggest cutting down on the ice too, as it tasted rather watery towards the end.
To start, we shared the Haus crackling (£3.95); home-cooked pork crackling cooked in Haus rub. This was hard and crunchy and it made a loud cracking noise as we bit into it – just how crackling should be! The portion was more than enough to share between two people and the fresh apple sauce made for a delicious accompaniment, although we couldn’t really see the point in the lone lettuce leaf.
For my main course, I went for the butterflied breast of crispy Kansas chicken (£9.95, or £10.95 in a bun); served with ranch dressing, skin-on fries and home-made slaw. Having spotted someone at another table tucking into a dish of cheese-sauce smothered fries, I upgraded to cheesy fries (+0.50p).
The chicken was lightly fried in a moreish batter made using Haus herbs and seasonings, similar to southern fried chicken. It wasn’t quite as crispy as the batter on fried chicken usually is because it hadn’t been deep fried, but it tasted great and the chicken was succulent and tender.
Sarah ordered the 8oz rump steak (£14.95) also served with skin-on fries and slaw. She chose to upgrade to sweet potato fries (£1) for a slightly healthier option. The steak was cooked medium-rare to her liking and it looked delicious, while the sweet potato fries were crispy and flavoursome.
After our main courses we were feeling too full for dessert, but we figure this gives us an excuse to return to The Smoke Haus for a second visit! There are several American-themed restaurants in Cardiff, but The Smoke Haus’s menu definitely seems more authentic than most. The prices are also fairly reasonable, while the service is friendly and efficient.
The Smoke Haus
Mary Ann Street
Tel: (029) 2022 0777
Visit The Smoke Haus website
I was invited to The Smoke Haus as a guest and our food and drinks were provided complimentary. However, I was not obliged to write a positive review.