You’re thinking of going back to the north. Yes, we dug deep into your subconscious. You’ve seen the sights, heard the sounds, dipped your toes in its pristine waters but you want to go back for the food. Food is love and in Ilocos Norte, we can fatten you up just in time for Christmas. What is most amazing is, it can also come with our wines – Basi del Diablo.
I will be writing a number of articles about my favourite restaurants in Ilocos Norte. Here’s one of them.
Smoke Bar & Restaurant
Paseo de Paoay
Paoay, Ilocos Norte
Must-Try: Meat Platter
Suggested Pairing: Basi Maria
Smoke Bar & Restaurant’s chef and owner Chris Stolk is a force to reckon with if you’re in the restaurant business. His smoked dishes are mouthwatering. If you want a sampling of pulled lamb, pulled pork, and other smoked meat, get the meat platter. If you’re heading to Smoke for lunch or dinner and can’t eat one whole order of their meat platter, make sure that you at least try their smoked longganisa. The chef uses wine vinegar from Basi del Diablo to give this old favourite a fuller flavour. The restaurant also serves poqui poqui, buffalo wings, and bagnet. The latter is referred to as bagtit bagnet because either someone in Smoke’s kitchen is crazy good at making it or you’ll go gaga for bagnet in general.
Don’t like meat? The chef is just as talented when it comes to fish as he is with smoked meat dishes. The restaurant serves blackened blue marlin, one of my absolute favourites in this restaurant. This dish is a clear winner for seafood lovers and is quite filling too. Smoke also rolled out its succulent Norwegian salmon dish recently and it looks good. Pair the salmon with a glass of Basidina, a crisp white wine from our brand Basi del Diablo or be more adventurous and try it with our Virginia Blush and you will be in foodie heaven.
The chef also happens to serve fattening shortcakes and sinful spice cakes. His most recent creation is a mango shortcake that can make you abandon your diet. He is currently working on a new dessert with spicy chocolate ganache, strawberries, salted caramel, and cream cheese. While it is not yet on the menu, I must say that if he decides to serve it at the restaurant, you will be in for a treat. This crazy cake, as he calls it, is insanely amazing and should be eaten with bacon. I am not joking. I don’t kid around when it comes to cake and bacon.
If you love laing, Smoke’s laing is a must-try too. If you don’t like laing, you should try Chris Stolk’s laing to awaken your secret love for the dish. It is so good that even Bicolano customers approve of it.
Warning: You will likely order more food because all the dishes prepared by the chef and his talented team are amazing! I think I used that word twice!