Having been open for almost a year now, Smoky has gained a reputation as one of Hangzhou’s front runners in the whiskey and cocktail bar scene, offering a relaxed, yet refined environment in which to enjoy a nice glass of whiskey or an expertly made cocktail (70RMB and above). After being closed earlier this year for some renovations, doors have been re-opened to bring us the new Smoky 2.0.
Much will be recognisable to anyone who has been here before. The long bar provides sanctuary for a selection of whiskeys and spirits a man could only dream of possessing, and the comfortable leather seating acts as the ideal position from which to enjoy a scotch and cigar and while away the evening.
Then you notice some more unfamiliar aspects: the lighting is turned up a notch, tables have been laid, and waitresses offer a third menu in addition to cocktail and whiskey lists. That’s right, Smoky is now in the business of food – more specifically, Japanese cuisine. A whole new section (non-smoking) has even been opened in the back to allow for the extra demand. Soon, you begin to see that Smoky is as passionate about Japanese food as it is about whiskey.
A selection of cooked dishes including Potato Salad (28RMB), King Prawn Tempura (60RMB for 3) and Grilled Ox Tongue (58RMB) were all cooked excellently, as well as being presented attractively. However, the cuts of raw fish were simply out of this world. Huge chunks of Salmon Sashimi (58 RMB), Oysters, Scallops and (for the more adventurous) Sea Urchin (priced daily) straight off the boat and onto your plate; it would be a shame to cook seafood this fresh.
I was given the run down on which were the best days to get the seafood just as it came through the door, proving my assumptions about the quality of the seafood were right. Daily specials are available, giving you an even greater opportunity to enjoy excellent seafood at affordable prices, including half-priced Oysters on Tuesdays and by-one-get-one-free every day after 10 o’clock, half-priced Salmon Sundays and Botan Shrimp on Wednesdays.
So, next time you come in search of that special blend of whiskey, or a well-made cocktail, take advantage of Smoky’s new love affair with a plate of some the best the sea has to offer.