Review: Exploring South African flavours through open-fire cooking at SMOKE

Fast facts

Restaurant name: SMOKE

Address: 16 Firwood Avenue, The Village, Pretoria, Gauteng

Phone number: 065 868 8647

Opening times: Wednesday 2pm to 10pm; Thursday to Saturday 9am to 12noon; Sunday 9am to 10pm

Average price of each plate: R120

Corkage fee: No BYO

Parking situation: Street parking located right in front of the restaurant

Food type: Tapas-style dishes; South African cuisine

Step into the heart of Pretoria, and you’ll find yourself at The Village in Hazelwood, home to a vibrant community of restaurants. Among these culinary gems lies SMOKE, a restaurant that beautifully encapsulates the cosmopolitan spirit of this city.

As you enter SMOKE, you’re immediately drawn to ‘The Secretary Lounge’, a section of the restaurant that pays homage to the South African Secretary bird, an iconic symbol of the region. Here, SMOKE serves up delectable tapas, all prepared overnight in their two giant cabinet smokers and open fires, perfectly complemented by South Africa’s finest gins, rums, tequilas, and wines.


SMOKE’s food menu showcases an array of creatively and skilfully prepared dishes.


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The Halloumi Crumbed Fingers, served with crème fraîche and a sweet and sour chilli dressing, feature perfectly cooked halloumi, though the crumb could be dialled back just a notch to let the halloumi shine.

For meat lovers, the Karoo Lamb is a true treat. Cooked to perfection, this dish is a celebration of South Africa’s rich culinary heritage. Oh, and don’t forget to order it with a side of double-cooked fries served with a coriander, lime, and chilli butter – a heavenly combination of flavours.

The BBQ Open Fire Corn Ribs, generously coated with chimichurri, are a must-try!


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While the dessert menu at SMOKE is limited, it offers sweet and satisfying options. Choose from the Rooibos Panna Cotta, the Warm Miso Vanilla Sago with Burnt Brûlée, or indulge in the nostalgia of S’mores, featuring sourdough chocolate chip cookies and charred vanilla marshmallows with liquid chocolate ganache.


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Now, let’s talk drinks. The drinks menu at SMOKE is a testament to the innovation and boundless creativity that define this establishment.

The Granny Fynbos Cocktail immediately stood out with its intriguing mix of bourbon, Granny Smith apples, lemon verbena, Fynbos honey, ginger beer, citrus mix, and Rooibos and passionfruit foam. This cocktail is a refreshing and unique concoction that reflects the diversity of South African ingredients.


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Another standout includes the 1800 Cristalino Margarita. Made with 1800 Cristalino Tequila, dry Rosé, rose petals, fresh grapefruit, citrus mix, and Van der Hum citrus jelly, it’s a refreshing and visually stunning drink. Classic cocktails like the Whiskey Sour and Classic Margarita are also on the menu.

In addition to these delicious cocktails, the drinks menu boasts an extensive selection of South African wines, MCC, whiskey, rum, brandy, and more, catering to a wide range of tastes and preferences.


Dining at SMOKE, you’re in for a treat when it comes to exceptional service – it will be one of the standout features of your visit. A well-informed waiter stands ready to skilfully navigate you through the menu, providing suggestions with a warm and inviting attitude. The staff are highly attentive to your needs throughout your meal.


SMOKE has a warm, inviting and charming ambience that complements its open-fire cooking spaces and cabinet smokers, where meats are slow-smoked to perfection. However, it’s important to note that the lack of air conditioning or fans in The Secretary Lounge on a hot day can make the dining experience somewhat uncomfortable.


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Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here

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