Smokey Joe's Creole Café | Restaurant | Launceston | Tasmania Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Smokey Joe's Creole Café HeartHeart
Restaurants and bars
Location: -41.430891,147.143283
Open: Lunch and dinner Tue - Sat
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson And Roger McShane
Phone Number: +61 3 6331 0530
Address: 20 Lawrence Street
Launceston, Tasmania, 7250
Country: Australia

Smokey Joe's Creole Café is an ideal place to go if you want a no-fuss meal that is packed with flavour. The food cuts a swathe across the southern states of the United States and then down into Mexico and beyond to places such as Cuba although on our more recent visits the chef seems to be honing in the dishes he grew up with.
We first became entranced with the food at this restaurant when it was a small hole-in-the-wall in Charles Street with a couple of tables on the footpath. We used to enjoy juggling the food and our bottle of wine on the wobbly tables. But the food won us over.
The restaurant moved to more upmarket premises in Lawrence St and the owner moved out of the kitchen. Since then we had always felt somewhat diffident about the food. That is until our last visit when we were delighted to see him back at the stoves!
And the results were amazing. We had one of the best meals that we have ever tried at this restaurant. The squid entrée and the chicken salad were quite nostalgic. The presentation and the flavours reminded us of our time in the deep South. In other words, the presentation was basic as it always is in the south, but the flavour was good!
But it was the main courses that really sang. The Cuban style pulled pork sandwich was stunning. Last year we travelled through the United States and one of our missions was to sample the best pulled pork sandwich. We loved the one we tried at Sentinel in San Francisco as well as a number of others in smart places in New York, but this moist, flavoursome bun was sheer heaven!
And the long cooked brisket slices were also amazing. Although the outside of the slices was a bit dry, the flavour of the meat and the strips of fat that ran through the brisket were very moorish. This was very good food. We hope that Jon stays in the kitchen where his talents really shine. He actually understands the basis of southern food and he understands flavour.
The wine list needs some attention but they do allow BYO and they do serve a quite good Mexican beer called Cerveza Tecate.
At our most recent meal we ate chaurice, a fresh pork sausage we’d never eaten before, with white beans, then quail stuffed with dirty rice served with creamed cabbage seasoned with pieces of andouille sausage mix (the cabbage based on his grandmother’s recipe). And finally jambalaya, with the andouille as a fully-formed sausage and garnished with tasso, just to make sure there’s enough pork. Another very satisfying meal that reminded us, once again, of our stint in New Orleans many years ago.
This is a very casual restaurant that you might walk past without noticing. But we like it very much!


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