Somewhere in the suburbs, one of the Klang Valley's most ambitiously inventive restaurants of 2014 launched this week - it's a dirty, deliriously delicious secret, its sole entrance tucked away on an SS2 side alley that leads up to the top floor of a shop-lot, without a signboard to call its own.
Smoking Hog is smokin'-hot; this passion project by TY, Audrey, Alex, Ryan, David & their collaborators (some of them were also the founders of SS2's Crab Factory) is swathed in sultry shadows. Inside, the blinds are completely pulled down over the windows, creating a space where the daylight hours blur seamlessly into night-time.
It's an intimate place that's meant to evoke Melbourne's hidden gems, seating scarcely over 30 guests in a sure-to-be-bustling dining hall with an open kitchen. A lounge upstairs with an alfresco terrace is slated to open later this month, so a few dozen more people can hang out there. The restaurant is still a work in progress, with a chandelier & other fittings to be set up soon.
Smoking Hog's menu is extremely extensive (head here hungry!), but its name & its repertoire are both best summarised in this one recipe - 'bacones' (RM27), an all-day-breakfast dish of house-smoked crispy pork bacon cones stuffed with scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes & own-baked beans, served with Smoking Hog's excellent kitchen-made tomato sauce.
A can't-fail magnet for crowds, this seems certain to clog up your arteries & your social media feeds in the months to come. One of the most reassuring aspects of Smoking Hog: It emerges as a fully-formed, completely confident restaurant that knows exactly what it wants to do - no half-baked ideas here.
Lifting the lid on the smoked cheeseburger (RM34), another only-at-Smoking-Hog staple, adding scorched new dimensions of nuance to the entire ensemble, from the sesame bun & beef patty down to the cheese, lettuce & tomatoes.
Carb overkill? Mac-&-cheese sandwich, mixed with pulled pork & bacon (RM25). Everything here is built for sharing, with tons of temptations for bread-lovers, such as toasts topped with either chopped-up chicken liver or fried quail eggs & buttered leeks.
Protein power: Stew of Aussie wagyu oxtail, crowned with layers of pig ears for a terrifically tender, gloriously gelatinous platter. RM58; the serving's sufficient for two or three customers. Smoking Hog's team says the menu is expected to evolve every few months (with a measure of molecular gastronomy likely to bubble up next year), but this stew is here to stay.
Dutch Babies are born at last in Malaysia - these puffed pancakes are pleasurably textured at Smoking Hog, served with savoury accompaniments like a plump pork sausage with avocado & tomato salsa (RM24) or sweet treats such as honey-coated cornflakes & ice cream.
Raising the bacon bar for French toasts, piling plenty atop this nut-coated bread, with caramelised bananas between the bulky-thick slices, tinged with a tantalisingly naughty hint of whisky. RM27.
Chivas whisky also figures in the making of these mashed sweet potatoes, whipped up to a smooth & sumptuous butteriness, aromatically adorned with garlic chips. And yes, it has bits of bacon in it too. RM18.
Don't leave without trying the 'Mancakes' - an adult's alcoholic version of pancakes - with Guinness Stout batter pancakes in a beer mug topped with ice cream, maple syrup & - no surprise - more candied bacon, the pride & joy of this restaurant. RM25.
We begin with smoked bacon, so it's fair to finish with it - bacon-&-egg ice cream, freshly churned at Smoking Hog all day long. RM24. Also: Rum-&-raisin ice cream (RM16), ice cream with crunchy corn fritters (RM18), plus multi-flavour popsicles (RM8).
There's much, much, much more on the menu - Aussie pie floaters; oysters with kitchen-made sriracha sauce; meatballs with grated potato waffle hash browns, BLT sandwiches with soft-shell crab; lamb shank with brown rice & barley soup; vegetable lasagne with three cheeses & 11 types of veggies; spicy panko-crumbed bacon coleslaw; spaghetti bolognese with a trilogy of pork, beef & lamb in its sauce (& duckenail - duck, chicken & quail roast for Christmas). Smoking Hog's parent enterprise, Culinary Dreams, is a name to remember & to reckon with.
21 Jalan SS2/64, SS2, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Behind/by the side of Crab Factory.
Mon-Thurs, 12pm-11pm; Fri, 12pm-1am; Sat, 9am-1am; Sun, 9am-11pm. Kitchen closes 10pm, Sun-Thurs, & 11pm, Fri-Sat.
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