Every March long weekend, J and I, along with Miss SoCal, head down to Launceston to spend the weekend with my parents. This year, so that my mum wasn’t cooking all weekend, we decided to go out on the second night we were there.
I did a bit of research, well I tried to. Why is it that the majority of Launceston restaurants don’t have websites? It makes it hard to check a place out and menu stalk.
I had heard good things about Smokey Joe’s Creole Cafe, but couldn’t find a menu online. I gave the restaurant a call to see if they could fax or email me a copy as while I knew mum, dad, myself and J would be catered for, I wasn’t sure how vegetarian friendly Creole food is and whether there would be something suitable for Miss SoCal.
I spoke to Smokey Joe himself (not his real name) and he was lovely, and we had a good chat about what vegetarian food they could do and he said that as they had advanced notice it wouldn’t be a problem.
According to Smokey Joe’s, Creole food is “based on dishes introduced by many cultures including French, African, Spanish, Dutch and Indian that creates a unique flavour which borrows from many exotic spices and techniques to create a memorable, blended and original style that is called Creole.”
(that was on the back of their menu by the way, not on a website)
Smokey Joe’s is in a renovated cottage and we were seated in what would have been a front room.
The kitchen and the rest of the tables were down the back and on the other side of the entrance hall, which opened out onto outdoor dining on a front porch.
We started with the garlic and herb bread.
I personally thought this looked like something I would buy from the supermarket and neither myself or Dad thought it was great but we were outvoted as the other three really liked it.
For main course I went with one of the specials; a pulled pork sandwich served with fries and coleslaw.
Loved it! The pork was tender and flavoured really well.
Mum had the half BBQ chicken; smoked roast chicken glazed with ozark mountain BBQ sauce. Served with your choice of fries, potato salad or baked potato.
Dad had the chimichanga; tender smoked shredded rump grilled with onion and traditional spices, wrapped in a flour tortilla and deep fried golden. Served with Spanish rice and refried beans, salsa, sour cream and guacamole.
They were both very happy with their meals.
Miss SoCal had another one of the specials on offer, a jackfruit curry.
She declared it to be excellent. And after trying it I had to agree with her.
J had the Smokey Joe’s dry rub ribs; a combination of traditional herbs and spices rubbed into the meat, cooked in the smoke room. Slightly firmer and spicer than the Northern style ribs. Served with potato salad and BBQ beans.
He said they were OK. But bear in mind J travels to the States a lot for work and has been spoilt by the ribs over there.
There was a bit of a gap between the bread and our mains and as we watched meals come out to the other tables, we had the great idea that we need to try a serve of the fire fries.
On the menu these are described as hot and spicy. At first bite this didn’t seem to be correct, but wait for it, bang! My goodness these bad boys packed a punch. There wasn’t a lot of seasoning on them but whatever it consisted of (cayenne pepper, paprika?) it did the trick, numb lips, tongues and even gums (Miss SoCal) ensued. Dad sensibly stopped at one, as did mum I think, however, they were strangely addictive and myself, J and Miss SoCal polished the basket off.
The service was casual but friendly, as befits a cafe. The one gripe for the evening was the corkage charge of $8 per bottle. It seemed a bit steep, and for that price we expected the wine to be poured for us.
I am not going to comment on the authenticity of the food, as I am definitely not an expert in Creole food, but what we had tasted great and was well prepared and that is what matters I think.
Overall, we had a really good night and I would go back to Smokey Joe’s without hesitation. I am really pleased to see Launceston has something a little bit different to offer in the dining scene as well.