Now let me get this disclaimer out of the way, when we arrived at The Smoke Haus last Saturday evening my friend and I had already been making merry at The Bristol Harbour Hotel beforehand. A back-to-back bar review is not a common occurrence for me but if anything, it put the Smoke Haus at an immediate advantage. The post-cocktail cravings had emerged and we were very much game for something that was gloriously filthy.

Alas, we soon came to realise Smoke Haus’ menu was all filth, and no glory.

The venue was a large one, spread out across two floors with Bambalan sat somewhere above it. A great location perched right across from the habourside fountains. Threads of fairy lights adorned the ceilings and besides the booths which gave a nod to the very “in” industrial-chic theme were several TV screens showing the footie. We were sat upstairs, away from the screens but in the face of some questionable graffiti-art. My friend Helen however, was only focused at that point on making her contribution to Smoke Haus’ restaurant playlist via their app. It didn’t work but perhaps it was a teething error which can be forgiven.

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To keep things civilised, we ordered one round of drinks for the evening – a G&T for me and a Dissaronno and Coke for Helen. Both arrived in a timely fashion with our friendly waitress and both quenched our thirst nicely.

For food, we skipped starters and went straight in for the kill with a 8oz steak with sweet potato fries, Peppercorn sauce and coleslaw for me (£15.95) and well, exactly the same thing for Helen. A sound meal choice for a Saturday night binge.

When our mains arrived, the fries were lukewarm (borderline cold) and the steaks were pretty charred on the outside. I tend to opt for a medium-rare option but when ordering, I wasn’t given the option of choosing so well-done was what I got. That said, I didn’t step in to make my preferences known so I’ll let that one go. What I will say is, regardless of being cooked to a well-done state my steak had gone a level beyond well done, it was so well-done there was barely any taste left. My jaw got a good workout I tell you!

To salvage the situation, I smothered the steak in Peppercorn sauce, or what I thought was Peppercorn sauce. The orangey liquid didn’t look very Peppercorny, and it certainly didn’t taste of Peppercorn. I couldn’t really get my head around what it tasted of to be honest, some form of spicy, thick goop – but it did give the meat a touch more moisture so I was grateful for that.

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Once our plates had been whisked away, we umm-ed and ahh-ed over the desserts and decided to give Smoke Haus a second chance to redeem itself. Our waitresses, there were three who stopped by, all praised the Psychoshake and Mississippi Mud Pie (£4.95) so we ordered both.

In comparison to the mains, The Smoke Haus desserts were better. The peanut butter and chocolate Psychoshake (£4.95) in particular was a hit. It was also our entire daily intake of calories, but we shared it, so it was fine. This said, in comparison to the masterpieces that can be found at the nearby Beehive Coffee House, The Smoke Haus still have a lot to learn. The Mississippi Mud Pie was fine, through no better than an out-the-freezer alternative from ‘Spoons. For double the price.

It’s always tragic when a newcomer bites the dust on opening night but maybe there is hope still they’ll turn it around. Particularly at the prices The Smoke Haus are charging, you can find much better in Bristol.

Please Note: Whilst we were invited to review The Smoke Haus and our meals were complimentary, this is no way impacted upon the opinions given in this review. The photography belongs to myself, with the exception of the featured image.

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