Monday, January 05, 2015

BACONY PIG-OUT AT SMOKING HOG

One foodie's bacon is another man's poison as far as Smoking Hog (SH) is concerned. The new resto upstairs from Crab Factory has generated such heated debate in FB and blogs that I reckon it is best you judge for yourself before saying 'yay' or 'nay'.

The bacon used in this resto is smoked on premise (up on the rooftop in a barbecue contraption) and some are lightly candied for certain dishes. TY Ooi and her partners have spent hours to test and experiment dishes for their menu so expect some curveballs that will catch you by surprise. Some offerings would go down better than others I suspect as the pairing of sweet and savoury remains an acquired taste among local palates.
Yours truly love everything bacon so Smoking Hog definitely gets a 'YAY' from moi, especially the signature Bacones (RM27). Just feed me two of the crisp smoked bacon cones (essentially bacon strips layered and rolled up into cones) stuffed with mash, scrambled eggs and SH's housemade baked beans and I'm a deliriously happy camper. They taste scrumptious slathered with the house tomato sauce (it's way better than the bottled stuff) but seriously, they're good enough on their own.
For those who like a little 'dramatic' effect with their food, SH's Signature Smoking Cheeseburger (RM34) literally gets smoke in your eyes as it comes to the table, covered in a glass dome lid filled with roiling wisps of smoke. The juicy burger patty is made from pork, beef and lamb mince with chopped onion. A slice of melted cheddar complemented by sliced gherkins, tomato and lettuce complete the tempting offering with fries and tomato sauce on the side. Burger maniacs rejoice!
IMHO, the classic BLT is never boring but hey, some crabby treatment here never hurts as SH's Ultimate Soft Shell Crab BLT (RM29) proves. I was sceptical the combo would work but it turns out better than expected...the chunky pieces of fried soft shell crabs and coleslaw lend a nice moreish taste to the ensemble so no complaints there.
If you feel guilty scarfing down so much bacon, order a portion of Caesar Salad (RM22) to boost your green intake. Not that it's any less indulgent mind you ;p ...the fresh romaine lettuce is tossed with bacon bits, salted egg and fried ikan bilis (anchovies) and topped with a poached egg. Chockful of rich, voluptuous flavours that leave you smacking your lips after the last leaf is devoured. Yums!
Ardent 'egg heads' would crack up over the eggs-cellent dishes available: Deviled Eggs (RM26 for six halves) and Runny Pan Omelette or Scrambled Eggs (RM22) are just but two options. The former has mashed egg yolks with avocado while the latter is cooked to order with a choice of mix cheeses, mushrooms or cherry tomatoes complemented by two slices of toasted Ciabatta. Personally, I'd roll with the latter though the cheesy version is strictly for fromage fans.
 
The Spaghetti Bolognese (RM33) features a tomato-based meaty sauce that again mixes the 'unholy' trilogy of beef, pork and lamb. I find it's a rather ho-hum option but heck, I'm sure no self-respecting spagbol fan will care two hoots what I think.
SH also brings new meaning to the 'ear to tail' eating with its Pig's Ear & Oxtail Stew (RM58) - marrying local pig's ears with Aussie waygu oxtail in a viscous stew brimming with barley, mushroom, mashed potato and grilled vegetable. It's disconcerting to see a whole piece of pig's ear in the milieu but overall, it's an earthy dish that should appeal to diners who have a penchant for innards, offal and such or those who want a dose of natural collagen.
Those with kids in tow may like the Mushroom Bacon Soup (RM16) - a creamy-rich, earthy broth flecked with smoked bacon bits. I surprised myself when I lapped up every spoonful but then, I abhor the thought of all those bacon bits going to waste.
In case you have pals who eschew pork, the Lamb, Brown Rice & Barley Soup (RM35) is a hefty meal on its own thanks to the whole lamb shank in it. Honestly, I was too distracted by the porky dishes served hence this particular dish just fell below my radar but I noticed several tables actually had it so presumably it's a hit in its own right.
What do you get when you cross pancakes with crepes? Dutch babies that's what. Baked until puffy then collapsing back into flatten pieces, you can sample Dutch Babies with eight different toppings such as Nutella, Crumbled Cookies & Ice Cream (RM22) and Chicken/Pork Sausages with Avocado/Tomato Salsa (RM24). A substantial serving that's enough for brekkie or lunch, their mouthfeel are chewier than normal pancakes.
I prefer the deliciously indulgent French Toast (RM27) which has two slices of thick-cut bread cooked with a hint of whisky and adorned with roughly crushed nuts, smoked bacon and bananas. A dollop of vanilla ice cream and maple syrup served on the side completes this perfect platter.


Equally notable is Beer & Bacon Mancakes (RM25), an adult version of pancakes made with Guinness Stout-laced batter. The fluffy pancakes are stacked with candied smoked bacon and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some maple syrup, resulting in a melding of sweet-savoury accents and crispy-fluffy soft textures.
Beer & Bacon Mancakes pix courtesy of Smoking Hog
Sweet encores appear in the form of Bacon & Egg Ice Cream (RM24) or Havana Rum & Raisin Ice Cream (RM16). Churned on premise, the former is loaded with bacon bits and accompanied by more crispy smoked candied bacon while the latter is boozy enough to leave you smiling from ear-to-ear.
First-time patrons will have to head to the side entrance of Crab Factory (Smoking Hog is on the 3rd Floor) and look for a flying pig sign. Take the lift up and you'd enter a dark, clubby space with dimmed lighting. Plush velvet-upholstered studded and leather armchairs, a long table carved out from a solid tree trunk and brass shaded lamps evoke a quirky, arty ambiance to dine in.
TY stresses that SH is an informal bistro that's conceived to be an inviting space where patrons can hang out with friends after a decadent pig-out session. A flight of wooden stairs adorned with specially commissioned art pieces leads to an upstairs dining cum lounge area as well as open-air rooftop patio. 

A bacon haven for an oink-ing good time...what more can you ask for?

For reservations, call SMOKING HOG, tel: 03-7865 9239. Address: 3rd Floor, 21, Jalan SS2/64, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Business hours: Tues, Wed & Thurs 11 am-11pm, Fri 11am-1am, Sat 9am-1am and Sun 9am-11am. Closed on Monday.

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