Round 5 of Burgerlympics saw us heading into Joburg CBD (Braamfontein to be specific) to The Smokehouse. Most of us had been to the Smokehouse before but really just for their ribs – which are incredible – so we were eager to give it a try.
The décor at Smokehouse is your pretty standard, Americanized decor. There’s nothing wrong with it but nothing to write home about either. I think when it first opened a while back, the décor might have been something cool and new, but now it’s just old hat.
We visited on a Tuesday night and it was packed. If we hadn’t booked we definitely would not have gotten a table. There is something really fantastic about being able to visit Joburg’s previously “dodgy” areas and being surrounded by happy, safe people. However, let’s be realistic – if you are going to sit on the outside deck, keep your bag on your lap or under the table. Someone could easily grab it off the back off your chair and bolt into town.
You’ve only got a choice of beef, one chicken or one veggie. As I generally always order beef, I wasn’t fussed. We have to remember that Smokehouse is not a burger joint (like many of the other places we’ve visited) so we couldn’t expect it to have a huge choice of patty selection. Although well-seasoned, I found my patty to be a bit dry. I was also not asked how I wanted it cooked, which would have been nice because then it may not have been so dry. Tasty nonetheless.
Average score – 7/10
A coupla’ comments – “nice, but could have been asked how I wanted it done”; “overcooked and strange sweet sauce”; “beefy yet grainy, needed more spice”; “excellent”
As mentioned, Smokehouse isn’t a burger restaurant. That being said, it covered all the bases and offered some new combos. I was hard-pressed to make a decision, torn between ordering the juicy lucy (beef burger stuffed with cheese), the piggy in the hole (beef burger topped with pulled pork) or the blue cheese burger. I eventually went with the blue cheese burger, owing to my unadulterated love of avo. I was a little bit let down by the quantity of blue cheese on the burger – there should have been more – but overall I was happy. I would order it again but ask for a little extra cheese and maybe a rasher of two of bacon.
Side note: in addition to Piggy in the Hole being topped with pulled pork, it also has a smoked bacon onion ring. I’m not a great lover of fat onion rings (I prefer the thin crispy ones) but this was unbelievable… I mean…. Bacon wrapped onion ring? Come on! Smokehouse should definitely offer these little rings of heaven as starters.
Standard choice of sides, fries, onion rings, salad, veggies. Their fries are amazing. Don’t have your burger without them.
I really don’t care about this but I’ve covered it in each review – there are no banting options – take your burger off the bun if you like.
Average score – 7/10
A coupla’ comments – “amazing combo”; “monkeygland sauce was fabulous but not enough, had to order more”; “needed more blue cheese sauce”; “the best”; “was lacking tomato but otherwise good”.
Ease of Consumption:
Smokehouse – toast your buns. They are just a little too soft and fall apart-ey. The patty itself held together perfectly and the bun to burger ratio was spot on.
Also, if you’re going to offer avo on a burger I sometimes think its better to mash the avo up instead of slicing it. Sliced up avo makes it difficult to keep the burger together when you’re shoving it in your gob. That’s just my opinion, though.
Average score – 6/10
A coupla’ comments – “perfect”; “bacon ring made it difficult”; “very tall and hard to consume”; “bit soft but otherwise great”; “bun crumbled a bit”; “fell apart after a few monstrous bites”; “easy to eat”
Awesome! Our waiter was really fantastic. I’m not sure whether he just woke up on the right side of the bed or is always so happy but seriously, this guy did not stop smiling. He handled our big table perfectly. All our orders were taken correctly (those who asked for no tomato did not find a sneaky tomato hiding under their patty, and those that asked for extra bacon got it).
Our mains took a while to come out but this is understandable when your entire table orders burgers. The main thing was that everyone got their burger at the same time and everyone was happy. Yay!
Average score – 9/10
A coupla’ comments – “”Excellent, attentive service. Was cool that the manager kept visiting”. “great waiter and manager was involved”; “fantastic, friendly and efficient”; “waiter was superb”
Ribs, you guys, RIBS! Even if you’re going for burgers, order ribs to share or as a side. They are THAT good. We initially wanted poppers but they were all out so we went with the ribs. We ordered 1.5 portions of the baby backs to get our night started and, without exaggeration, it was probably the best decision I have ever made in my entire life, ever. A fellow restauranteerer mentioned that we probably all rated our burgers higher because we started off with the ribs – this may or may not be true.
I’ve been to Smokehouse quite a few times and we always order the ribs. I have never been disappointed. All I can say is – ORDER THE DAMN RIBS!
p.s in our haste to eat, we forgot to take a pic. Whoops.
Average score – 8/10
A coupla’ comments – “atmosphere fantastic, very festive but burgers could use a little work”; “awesome, ribs are incredible and the vibe is great”; “ribs please”; “vibe was awesome, even on a Tuesday.Need to come back for a rib mission”; “great chips” “THE RIBS”.
Ribs, ribs, ribs. Oh sorry, burger competition.
I really enjoyed my burger from Smokehouse. Was it the best one I’ve ever had? No. But I would without question go back and order another one. With a side of fries and ribs. I might even become besties with the waiter. Who knows. Smokehouse is awesome. Braamfontein is awesome. Visit and enjoy!
Corner Juta and De Beer Street
Tel: 087 550 3679