Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Smoke Haus - Wind Street

(NOTE: I have since revisited the Smoke Haus and written a second review - check it out here!)

We've all watched Man vs. Food and sighed as Adam Richman scoffs a 3lb double-dipped brisket-topped burger, while we take a sad bite from a cold ham sandwich. However, there is now some salvation for those who can't afford the first plane to America to join the chubby presenter.

The Smoke Haus on Wind Street attempts to deliver the gourmet pig-out sessions that Richman has made famous to the people of Swansea.


My spontaneous visit to The Smoke Haus was during a quiet Saturday lunchtime. 

Immediately you will notice that the restaurant sports a rough-around-the-edges feel - a 'we-want-you-to-feel-like-this-place-has-been-open-for-decades-but-it's-actually-only-been-a-few-weeks' kind of look. It works well though - you don't want to be biting through a massive hot dog dripping with chili in a place with crisp white table clothes. The Artex walls, hastily-hung music posters and plastic table clothes give you nothing to concentrate on but the food.

A deliberately casual decor

However, before we discuss the food, I will give you a tip - avoid the table at the small booth next to the kitchen. Every time the kitchen door opened (at least once a minute) it slammed into the back of the seat. This annoyed me enough to make a note of it. Avoid that seat.

Now, the menu boasts plenty of American fare as you may expect - from double deep-fried hot dogs to brisket-topped burgers. I actually went for The New Orleans (£8.95), which is a beef pattie, topped with brisket and a pickle, served with a big basket of fries. Overall it was very tasty and, naturally, very filling. The only criticism I had was that there was no sauce on the burger - this made it a little dry. In the end I had to make do with mustard.

My burger with brisket and pickle, along with plenty of fries

My dining partner had The Traditional New Yorker beef hot dog and fries (£6.95), which was more than enough for lunch and had plenty of dog, sauerkraut and sauce (even enough for me to steal a quarter of it without complaint!).

A big dog!

And, yes - there are eating challenges. The Famous Smoke Haus Challenge offers ambitious eaters six intensely spicy 'WTF' (we all know what it stands for) chicken wings for £5.95 OR free if you can eat all six in ten minutes, with no napkins or drinking.

One nutcase on the table in front of us undertook the challenge as we were leaving. I caught a glimpse of his red face as he licked the sauce from the basket. Either it's not as difficult a challenge as the restaurant make out or he was a severe nutter (I suspect the latter). Anyone who completes this challenge, in addition to not having to pay for the wings, receives a t-shirt and mug-shot on the wall.

Other massive meals include the Big Bertha burger (five burgers in one bun, piled with cheese, bacon, etc) and the Head Banger hot dog (a metre-long dog with cheese and pickles). Not for the lightweights - especially at £18.95 a meal!

Bit of Coke... no substitute for beer though!

The drinks menu also impressed me, no more so than the fact that they serve Blue Moon - one of my favourite American ales - on tap. Along with a few different bottled beers and Coke served in the traditional glass bottle, there is plenty to wash your feast down with.

I've travelled America and been to a few of the Man vs. Food style restaurants and, while it will never be the same as visiting a genuine American eatery, it's safe to say that the Smoke Haus is the closest you'll come to sampling that food in Swansea.

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Check out my REVISIT to the Smoke Haus - a year later for lunch!

17 comments:

  1. Great site. I was going to head down there last weekend but read nothing but negetive reviews on facebook and twitter. It seems they have got their act together! Keep up the good work!

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  2. Great site. I was going to head down there last weekend but read nothing but negetive reviews on facebook and twitter. It seems they have got their act together! Keep up the good work!

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    1. Many thanks! I hadn't heard any reviews (good or bad) before this, but it seems a good place. They don't take bookings as far as I know, so it's worth going early to get a seat!

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  3. any veggie options?! haha

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    1. I was wondering that myself... I forgot to check! I doubt it, but you never know - there may be a massive veggie burger challenge!

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    2. There are veggie options actually and vegan

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    3. Not sure if they have a website, but they're on Twitter https://twitter.com/TheSmokeHausUK

      Meanwhile I didn't notice the vege options, but I am sure they are there. I'm an all meat guy though so never tend to notice the vege options!

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  4. My wife and I went there tonight and were really looking forward to it but unfortunately I found the whole experience very disappointing. I'm not a food snob but the quality of the ingredients was extremely poor. We both had deep fried shrimp and the double dip sandwich (gravy dipped pulled pork). The food was on our table within 5 minutes of ordering (although we waited 15 minutes before actually getting a menu)which should have started alarm bells ringing. The shrimp was undercooked, the "fries" were frozen oven chips but worst of all was the pulled pork. The meat was greasy and bland and tasted more like tinned chicken than anything butchered from a pig. The grease saturated the bread and made it very unappetizing. Add to this the décor looked half finished and the general disorganisation of the staff. Unfortunately I really can't recommend this place.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment with detail!

      Sounds like you had a rough time there. Personally I can't say I found the quality poor, but restaurants seem to differ every time you go in (The Woodman is always my example - sometimes it is the best pub food in Swansea, other times I just feel depressed leaving there).

      I didn't find the staff in the Smoke Haus particularly great, but they didn't do that much to annoy me either.

      However I really need to go in the evening because the poor reviews I've heard of, tend to come from people who have been there in the night.

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  5. Do you have anything that is gluten free?

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    1. Hi,

      I don't have any association with the restaurant - I'm just an independent reviewer.

      It's probably worth Googling the restaurant and giving them a call to check!

      Thanks for visiting!

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  6. went there last night and waited an hour and a half for what i can only describe as the worst burger i've ever had, ordered the new orleans waited all thst time for a cold burger in a cheap tesco value bun, the burger was dry and horrible and could hardly be found underneatch the lettuce, it came with a basket of cold oven chips all of which was sent straight back. I wouold be embaressed to serve that stuff myself

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    1. Thanks for the comment, shame about your experience there! I too had the New Orleans, which I found a tad dry. Needed sauce (as a few others have said). My chips were hot however, thankfully.

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  7. I've experienced negative and extremely bad service from the staff at The Smoke Haus.

    Taking into consideration we were a party of 12 people, including a 7 year old child…It took more than 20 minutes for 3 drinks to arrive, over an hour for our food order to be taken, starters were brought out the same time as the main courses and food was not hot when served (especially the chips). After looking at the receipt a few days later I realised that the WTF Chicken Wing Challenge (which I completed) was not removed from the final food bill...and I'm still waiting for the t-shirt. On the night, we tried to raise our concerns but it felt like staff would not take the complaint serious and were very rude, non-cooperative and dismissive. I have other friends who have also experienced this level of juvenile service. I am currently in communication with the Manager (Jane Myall) via email in hope that these issues can be resolved professionally and quickly.

    I will update this column in future and say whether these issues have been resolved, how long it has taken for them to reply and what resolution has been offered to hopefully make up for this unprofessional extremely bad service.

    Watch this space….

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Yes, please keep us updated! I love good food and good restaurants, and I believe customers should have their voices heard when it comes to poor service/experience.

      In all I found the Smoke Haus has plenty of potential. Just needs to iron out some wrinkles. I am going there again this weekend (I think), so may post an update after my visit.

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  8. NEW!! I've since revisited The Smoke Haus and have been impressed once again (after my disappointing second visit). Check out the new review here - http://www.swanseaonaplate.com/2014/01/the-smoke-haus-revisited.html.

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