Healthy dining and grilled food may seem incongruous, but at Holy Smoke the combination of the two has been honed to a craft.

Healthy dining and grilled food may seem incongruous, but at Holy Smoke the combination of the two has been honed to a craft. Here, food is grilled on volcanic stones heated to 400 degrees celcius using olive oil and the freshest ingredients, dispelling the notions of grilled food as greasy and laden with trans fat. According to chef and General Manager, Operations V. Bharathan, “grilling over volcanic stones rather than cast iron is healthier as it ensures that the meat juices and nutrients are locked in”.

A wide spread

Tucked away in a corner of the Isaphani Centre in Nungambakkam, the restaurant is tastefully decorated with several art pieces and sculptures. The chic ambience is tempered by its friendly service staff and comfy sofa chairs, ensuring that the restaurant remains unpretentious and laidback. There is something for everyone at Holy Smoke and it is evident from the menu. Each dish has vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions, and there are a staggering 10 categories of food and drink to choose from in the extensive menu, ranging from fondues and sizzlers to desserts and mocktails.

The menu is decidedly experimental. For starters, the spicy tortilla triangles (Rs. 140) defied one's expectations of how a tortilla should look and taste like. Instead of having filling enclosed in a soft tortilla skin, the tortilla skin is deep-fried and the meat-and-bean filling is used as a topping instead. The lettuce wrap (Rs. 220) was a refreshing take on the Korean barbeque tradition of wrapping food with lettuce leaves. The vegetables used were fresh and the taste of the raw lettuce leaves provided a good contrast to some of the heavier items on the menu.

Concerns over how well chilli and cheese would go together were laid to rest with the chilli fondue (Rs. 480), which was spiced with just the right amount of paprika. The fondue is highly recommended, as it would be a fun experience with friends and family, dipping vegetable and bread into the communal pot of melted cheese. Wash it all down with a glass of sweet lime iced tea (Rs. 90), a tasty thirst-quencher with crushed mint leaves.

With the Holy Smoke sizzler (Rs. 450), one had the choice of a beef or chicken steak to pair with a fish fillet. All sizzler dishes come with rice, fries and boiled vegetables. The meal was hearty, but the meats were a tad too tough. However, rating high on both taste and presentation points is the brownie with ice-cream (Rs. 110), which came on a sizzling plate. Chocolate sauce was poured over the brownie and ice-cream before the diner's eyes.

Besides offering value-for-money meals, Holy Smoke has other draws, such as a corporate lunch menu, live music from 7-11 p.m. daily and “Magic Moments” a concept where snaps of diners are taken and posted on the restaurant's facebook page. This service usually takes place over the weekends, and aims to capture the magical moments that one enjoys while dining with family and friends.

Linette has recently graduated from the Singapore Management University with a bachelor's degree in Business Management.