Smoke on the Water, a barbeque by the poolside at Vivanta By Taj, Vazhuthacaud, is the place for an interesting dining experience

The city’s paucity of quality barbecue restaurants has come to an end, thanks to ‘Smoke on the Water’ – the brand new, uniquely-themed restaurant at Vivanta By Taj, Vazhuthacaud.

Having had few opportunities to taste these exotic dishes that have forever been enticing us on television and the Internet, my friend and I set off to the restaurant to satiate our taste buds.

As we walk into the restaurant, which is set discreetly by the sprawling pool on the hotel’s first floor, we are blown away by the ambience! All stops have been pulled to ensure a classy, delicious meal – tables adorned with candle lights coupled with cushioned chairs were decked neatly by the poolside; indeed, the perfect setting for a romantic date. At the end of the pool, the chefs were busy preparing a host of choicest dishes underneath a canopy. Barely a couple of weeks old, the restaurant has already drawn eyeballs from the Taj’s discerning clientele, whom we see scattered across the restaurant, as we make ourselves comfortable by our table.

“We offer a wholesome dining experience for our customers,” says Hari Krishnan, the chef, who has come to help us out. “The idea is to not fill your tummy. Our food is specially designed to satiate and refresh you, and even make you crave for more,” he smiles. “Does the restaurant’s name have something to do with the Deep Purple song with the same title?” my inquisitive friend, who also happens to be a rock music aficionado, duly asks.

K. Prem, the deputy sales manager is pleased by his observation. “Yes indeed. We have a restaurant of the same name in one of our other hotels in Coimbatore. We decided to borrow the name, to suit our ambience; as you might have guessed, we give you ‘smoked’ delicacies by the water,” he explains.

Dining at ‘Smoke on the Water’ is a different experience altogether. There are no appetisers or desserts per se – you get to choose from quite an eclectic array of Barbecued dishes – including meat, sea food, grilled sea food, red snaffers, groupers, smoky barbecued flavours – including pork and chicken, among others. Even veggies are not left out – there’s a wholesome grilled vegetarian platter, cheese steaks and a wholesome variety of other dishes. The dishes (which keep changing on a daily basis) are a mishmash of both Indian and international recipes. They are priced per portion, which means they are easy on the pocket too.

The dishes we selected were served to us in platters. I decided to start off with the Minute Steak (Tenderloin). Even though I was never a big beef fan, this one was quite satiating. The German Snail Sausage – a pork dish (it is called a snail dish because of its snail-like shape), was not a bad selection either. It was juicy and delicious, just as I had expected. Having had our share of international delicacies, we decided to give the indigenous dishes a try – we got to taste the ‘Whole red grouper in spicy Kerala smear’ as well as the ‘Grilled fresh catch of the day’. The exquisitely marinated dishes left us craving for more! I also gave Chef Hari’s exclusive dish – the ‘Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders’, a try. This dish, which also happens to be a customer favourite, has chicken wrapped in bacon and turned out to be the winner of the day.

We also tried the vegetarian dishes, primarily because my friend is a vegetarian himself.

Both of us ended up getting addicted to the ‘Cajun Marinated Cottage Cheese Steak’, we simply could not have enough of it! As we concluded our dinner with a glass of red wine each, we were satiated, not just because of the quality of the food, but by the dining experience altogether.

One can visit the restaurant between 7 p.m and 11 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The cost factor depends on the dishes chosen, most of which range between Rs. 800 and 1,500.