Most of us love a good BBQ. Whether it’s ribs in your backyard or a steak at a joint in the city, we’re game. There’s something truly primal about barbecuing. Throwing whatever you want on the grill, whether that’s big slaps of meat, delicious vegetables, or sweet fruits, and letting that smoky charcoal flavour coat it.
As the barbecued food trend continues to swell in Guwahati, the decision of where to indulge gets harder and harder. There are the age-old classics with their mile-long queues, the new kids on the block – each vowing to have ‘the best treats in town’ – and the neighbourhood ones you always go to – so maybe it’s time to try something new.
Smoke & Sauce – the latest entrant in Hatigarh Chariali – loves to take things slow (and low) with a bit of flaming peril to liven things up. With only 6 seats, there is still a queue. Besides, once you have a plate full of succulent BBQ Pork, paired with their array of in-house dips in sweet, savoury, and spicy flavours, you’ll forget you even waited at all.
Although small in size, the interiors are happy and vibrant – think wooden flooring, orange painted walls, and warm white ceiling lights. At the entrance of the operation are two large smoker.
Owner Riku Gogoi, a one-man army, who does the cooking, smoking, serving, and attending the customers – has an interesting tale to tell. “I used to be a professional wildlife photographer but was always inclined towards cooking. I finally decided to pursue my passion and give wings to my dreams. That’s how I ventured into food business.”
However Smoke & Sauce isn’t the first outlet owned by Gogoi. “I began my entrepreneurial journey with Foodcart – a small BBQ eatery – in Sivasagar. People love our food, service, and most importantly pricing. We’ve been able to do great business since its inception. Currently my brother is looking after it. We’ve kept the pricing minimal at Smoke & Sauce, too, so that even students could enjoy quality food without burning a hole in the pocket.”
The menu at Smoke & Sauce has very limited options as of now. Kick-off with BBQ Chicken Leg and Thigh (Rs 120). They arrive with white and pink-hued raw onion rings against the dark brown. On the side is their signature sweet pineapple sauce with a hint of spice, along with the regular mint dip – made by blending fresh mint leaves, garlic, ginger, and green chillies. The dish is a play of delightful and dramatic burst of flavours.
Honey-glazed Chicken Wings (Rs 100), that we highly recommend, is one dish that will wow you and leave you craving for more. Sweet and spicy tender chicken wings drenched in honey, and served with fried pineapple sauce is a treat to the senses.
The BBQ Pork (Rs 100) – chunks of juicy pork, marinated and skewered on bamboo sticks, and then chargrilled – is a crowd pleaser. It comes with two special sauces – raw grapes dip and fresh pineapple dip.
Smoke & Sauce Special Chicken Breast (Rs 120) is hands down one of the best chargrilled chicken breasts we have had! Smoky and tender, when teamed up with their sauces, it makes a vibrant and punchy grub.
We were obviously curious to know the secret behind these recipes. “Honestly, I learnt all of it from my mother. She is an amazing cook. The taste is even better when she makes it. These are our family-favourite recipes. I’ve plans to come up with some interesting pan-fried pork items, and I’m super excited about it, already,” Gogoi said, flaunting a wide smile.
Gogoi has been seeing a lot of repeat customers and that makes him more than happy. He hopes to attract more food lovers in the days to come with new additions to the menu.
Address: Smoke & Sauce, Hatigarh Chariali, Opposite HDFC Bank. Landmark: Nayanika Medicos