This is a really difficult review to write. Difficult because even after several visits to Smoque it’s hard to pin down this restaurant. Self described Bar and Bistro, the restaurant is a real change from most of the restaurants in Bohol, from the well thought out decor to the succinct menu you can tell this will really shake up the local dining scene.
In some ways walking into Smoque is like entering an alternate universe. You could be anywhere, Manila, Cebu, London, Paris….Is this really Bohol?
The decor is minimalist industrial with bare polished concrete and voluminous spaces. Unfortunately the voluminous spaces also come with it terrible acoustics so don’t expect a cozy tet a tet with your dining companion. The menu is refreshingly small yet offers enough of a range to please most fussy diners. Prices aren’t cheap (by Bohol standards) but everything is value for money when you consider the quality of the produce and the deft hand preparing the meals in the kitchen. During our visits we tried the St Louis Ribs, Norwegian Salmon, lamb (best we have ever had), roasted chicken, white marlin and several of the salads.
In each instance the dishes were beautifully prepared and presented. Unfortunately the fad of serving meals on weird and wonderful plates has found its way to Bohol with Smoque.
When it’s hard to eat off a plate it’s time to put creativity aside and move to the more practical. The case in point was the ribs served on a circular metal contraption that had our dining companion chase the spinning plate around the table. The knife and fork pairing with the bowls was also impractical with nowhere to rest the utensils. It was obviously an issue facing several other diners as you could hear the clang of forks being dropped across the restaurant.
Wait staff were attentive and professional but on two occasions our meals didn’t arrive at the same time. This seemed incongruous in an establishment that obviously has a professional at the helm. As mentioned earlier Smoque is on the higher end of the pricing scale but this doesn’t seem to have an impact on the patronage as each visit the restaurant seemed to be about half full. Again things are certainly changing in Bohol. Oh nearly forgot….There is also a wickedly tempting dessert selection which one of our companion (the one who doesn’t need to keep an eye on her weight) said was as good as it looked.
Smoque is quite the surprise and after our first visit we wondered if this ‘grand experiment’ would really work in Bohol but after several visits the place seems to be getting traction with the A listers in Bohol. Time will tell if Bohol is ready for this style of dining but we really hope Smoque is the flag carrier for more adventurous entrepreneurs.
Smoque Bar & Bistro. Setting the Bohol restaurant scene on fire!
CPG East Avenue, Bool District along ACE MEDICAL bldg
6300 Bool, Tagbilaran, Philippines
0918 300 8180