Smoque Restaurant @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

This is another new restaurant for us. It makes buying the house on Panglao so foodie exciting, with so many new places opening up for us to explore. Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines has another twist too. Let me plagiarise some text from another blog, whilst painting a story.

The first time we tried the place we were being served by a lovely lady. Then YanYan and Mae arrived, and a guy sort of barged passed her to serve us. It was a former colleague of YanYan’s from The Amorita Resort. So, I hear you saying. Well, that is where the Head Chef of Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines was originally from. Yep, he packed up his bags, coerced a few of the staff to follow him, and opened this place up. And thank goodness he did because this place is a KNOCK-OUT.

If you happen to be visiting Bohol, or even staying at our house or the resorts of Panglao, pop in and say Hi to Chef Raphael Ongchiong. He’s a big lad, so you can’t miss him. I love his style; architecture is minimalist with concrete, massive family tables (yep we need them as you’ll see), huge platters (almost ChillaxBBQ in style), and callosal open kitchen so all can see what’s happening in there. Yes, I really really like this place.

The location is close to the bottom causeway between Panglao and Bohol, and because it is new it might take some finding. Get yourself an older tricycle driver who has ‘the knowledge’. It’s uber cool though. Packed both times we went with noisy, chatting, chewing and laughing families with the light tones of an acoustic band and singer playing away. Yeah, I REALLY like this place. Be proud Chef Raphael – you have a winner here mate. I have not even shown off the food yet.

Chef Raphael, or Paeng to his mates pops to the market each morning to see what’s fresh and in season and builds his menu around that. He moved to Bohol in 2010 and was the Executive Chef at Amorita Resort, before packing up a year or so ago to create Smoque. He said to me that he is a self-professed island boy. Good choice of your new home mate!

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines; +63 918 300 8180, Cpg East Avenue, Bool District, Bool, Tagbilaran, Philippines. https://www.facebook.com/smoquebistrocafeandbar/

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Night #1 and we arrive here for the 1st time. Yeah, this is a GEM in the middle of not a lot else. Me like, me like a lot. You won’t be finding this on Google Maps – in fact, have a look at the address and there is literally nothing there… Now, this. What a change!!!

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Yep, see what I mean. Bare concrete, with big signs and neon. Huge long quasi-picnic tables for family dining. This is uber cool. 6 of us to start, but soon to join us is Papang, YanYan and Mae – 6 becomes 9, but so comfortably accommodated.

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Yes, The Beard was there too. One is a VERY happy camper. I just had a look at the menu too. Shit yes, this is going to be amazing!

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Amy is more than slipping into her comfortable place, ordering a mocktail ; cucumber, lemonade, slushy, shake. That works!

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Now that’s what you call a kitchen. Heavenly!!! Home-made bread baking, and hustle and bustle of service. The great man, Chef Raphael, is the big guy in the #1 shirt -very apt!!!

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Check out that oven thing. Almost like my Japanese grill with the cinder blocks to keep it super hot inside. I am falling in love with this place more and more.

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Check this out. Holy shit. Brioche, straight from the oven. It gets served with this little container. Inside that container is some weird looking stuff at the bottom. “It’s BBQ butter.” described the server. WTF is that I was thinking… After some investigation, Ollie and I get to the bottom of it. It’s pork dripping. I kid you not. It’s the fats from the pork roasts, turned in to butter. I tell you what I could have covered myself in this so I could have kept licking it off all night. AMAZE-BALLS!!!

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

We’ve all missed JimBoy so far. He’s been so busy with exams, school and Graduation prep. One person has missed him massively, his baby brother Jude. Awwwwww!

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Here come’s the food for this first night. Yours truly basically got stuck into the menu and ordered for the family. 1st up is cheese nuggets, mozzarella wrapped in bacon and fried (I shit you not), served with fresh relish and white BBQ sauce. Fried, cheese, bacon all in one dish. Yeah, you just know this is gonna be so good. And it was, by the way! Another San Mig please, as this is beer food on steroids.

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

MAJOR competition for ChillaxBBQ. This dish is heavenly. One of the absolute best roast dishes ever in the mouth of moi. It’s a stunner. We order two lots of this night #1 and ordered it again night #2. This really is a; “You can’t get enough!” This is Crackling Pork Belly. The photo does not do this justice. Chef be very proud of this one. It’s stellar!!!

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Amy is a strange one sometimes. An amazing variety of fare on offer, but she sometimes slips back to that bit of Margate in her. Yes, fish and chips. Mary had a good tug on this, and she said SUPER fresh fish, and absolutely delicious.

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

I can’t remember how many of these we ordered. Chef Raphael, again my friend be proud. Wifey openly stated that this is the VERY BEST octopus dish she has ever eaten. Believe me, mate, that is saying a lot from her. Ollie kicked in with an overwhelming agreement too. So there you have it, folks, the best octopus so far on the planet that we have visited is here. This is simply called Grilled Octopus. Man oh man is that an understatement.

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Clearly, my Mary has her fish feeding frenzy head on this evening. Up next is the Yellowfin Tuna. Again, such a simple name for such a complex dish. It’s a stunner. Everything is just so fresh, with stunning plating, and bursts after bursts of flavour and colour. Amazing!

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Time to get serious. Let’s be having you then!!! One of Chef’s only non-local produce selections. Here is his Kitayama Wagyu T-Bone. It’s a beast. How good is that plating! So, so ChillaxBBq. But you know me and sous vide – sorry Chef, one moan, I love reverse searing technique!!! Still a beautiful hunk of perfectly medium rare steak. A cracker. A gravy to die for, and mashed potatoes that are off the charts.

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Are we happy? Shit yeah. Believe me, Papang is not asleep, just closed eyes when I snapped. Although he did say the lady singer had a slow soothing voice that was making him sleepy haha. See what I mean re the family gathering food fun. My favourite style of eating. Smoque is truly a cracking location, and now up there at the very top of MUST eat at again and again locations on Bohol. You must NOT miss it.

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Happy Days, Happy Family!!!

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

I lost my son yet again, to his favourite Uncle YanYan. Also, this is funny. See the guy in peaked cap with the guitar? A few days later when we stayed at The Bohol Beach Club, guess who was part of the band one night? Yep, this chap! Small world. Well, small island actually!

We then come back for sitting #2. Chef comes to say Hi again. Thank you for that Raphael, the family loved to say hello, and of course, loved to be back at the restaurant. This, sadly, is mine and Amy’s last night before disappearing back to Singapore. So our departing meal. Yet another cracker was had. We ordered again the favourites of pork belly and octopus and went large on some super huge sharing platters this time. Yes, we had a huge table of Kennetts and Burlas’s. We even had one of the party get up and sing two songs for us, wonderful that was Jhea. So here is our final meal at Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines. Very sad to say goodbye. Until the next time.

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Platter #1 is the seafood option. Seriously, check that bad boy out. Pan roasted Norwegian salmon, Beer battered fish and chips, Charred seasonal fish, Garlic butter shrimps with sides and salad. BOOM!!! These platters are called “For The Team”. So aligned to ChillaxBBQ it’s not funny!!!

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Next up “For The Team’ is “Beef Up”. Come on I had to!!! What an absolute cracker. Missing from here is what I stole for Jude and I. A big lump of medium rare US CAB Ribeye. Just fricking heavenly. On here is again that awesome gravy, a side and salad and Slow Smoqued beef belly, Australian strip steak, and US CAB ribeye roast. Angels sing, the clouds part, and I slowly drift up to heaven with this platter. It’s a BELTER!!! Death-Row cuisine on steroids folks, on steroids!!!

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

Goodbye Bohol, Panglao, Smoque. It’s been a blast and a blur (just like this photo). Be seeing you soon family and new friends.

Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines

And naughty Chef Raphael even gave us a parting gift of some of his stunning cake selection. This one is fresh strawberry as modelled by my beautiful wife, and the other was a cracking salty caramel style. What an end to a perfect meal. A meal perfect in so many ways.

Chef Raphael be very proud Sir. You have a truly wonderful restaurant. An incredible menu resides within. The food is just sublime. The ambience is so chilled, and family. And you have a fantastic crew, every single one of them. Keep going buddy, as for sure we will be hitting you hard the next time we come home to Panglao. We have so much more to select from the menu, and who knows what specials could be on there from the catch that day? Folks, Smoque Bistro & Bar @ Tagbilaran, Bohol, The Philippines, is a Die Die Must Try restaurant, it IS Death-Row Cuisine. This is a GEM!!! You simply have to go and meet the gang and eat this food. I am so so confident, as this was so wonderful that I’ll pay your bill if you don’t – ENJOY!!!

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