It’s been with great interest that I’ve been watching the transformation of Up In Smoke from plumbing supply shop to barbecue restaurant…and today I finally got to have a taste of what’s in the works.
The restaurant opened today with a soft launch truncated menu. The official launch is not till Thursday when they wheel out their huge $20,000 Yoder Frontiersman offset smoker and start serving slow-cooked smoked meats, smoked oysters, smoked jalapenos and smoked mushrooms.
But already, based on the finger-lickin’ deliciousness of our meal, I predict thatUp In Smoke is going to be one smokin’ joint in Melbourne’s west (pun intended).
The rooms that used to hold a jumble of plastic pipes and plumbing have been transformed into a slick black-walled brick space with shiny copper flourishes, neat tables and a long long leather banquette at the back.
The menu consists of small share plates, salads, tacos and sandwiches.
We go for fried smoked mozzarella sticks, stretchy cheese coated in a crisp batter – so bad yet so good ($8), the pair of potato skins stuffed to the gills with fluffy mash, jalapeno, bacon and cheese ($8), a punchy smokey babaganoush with La Tortilleria‘s tortilla chips ($10) and the highlight, sticky smoked hot wings with ranch sauce ($10). Have a plate of these with a beer and you’re set for the night!
We are extremely full at this point but in the interests of research continue with the tacos made from with La Tortilleria‘s tortillas ($5 each). There are three options – smoked pull pork shoulder, grilled pineapple, avocado, queso fesco and pico de gallo; polenta crumbed prawns with corn, black beans, avo and lime crema; and my favourite, smoked brisket burnt ends, tomatillo salsa, smoked bell peppers and topped with queso fresco and picked green japalenos.
I particularly enjoy the strong smoked flavours combined with the sharp salsa and heat from the jalapenos.
Up In Smoke‘s beer garden is still in the throes of completion, as well as their adjoining general store where you will be able to buy some of that amazing hot wings sauce. Until then, enjoy your smoked meats with local craft beer, whisky, rum or cocktail and enjoy the Straight Outta Compton soundtrack of early 90s hip hop.