Smoque Restaurant, Canberra


Authentic, fresh and flavoursome Southern American cuisine in the heart of the nation’s capital.

Just before Christmas I had the pleasure of dining at Smoque Restaurant in Canberra. I went there for two reasons:

1. Because people had been raving about it

2. The creator, Grant Kells, has a talent for delivering an outstanding food and dining experience (a renown chef by trade and making his mark on the Canberra restaurant scene).



The concept behind Smoque, as its name suggests, is to replicate the authentic smokey flavour synonymous with real Texan food. Grant has successfully captured a little bit of Southern America for Canberrans and visitors to the nation’s capital to enjoy.

He is so committed to providing authentic Southern American tasting meats that he imports his hickory chips all the way from Texas. Talk about the real deal!

Now I know what you’re all thinking…Southern America isn’t necessarily known for its healthy eating! True, however when it comes to dining out my motto has always been that it’s what’s in the food that’s most important. Smoque believes in freshly prepared ingredients and clean, delicious food.

A lot of attention goes into the preparation of the slow cooked meats and vegetables, which are marinated in house-made secret spices (with nothing artificial).




The great thing about the menu is that there are different sized dishes to suit your appetite. I’d fasted for the morning so that I could enjoy as much as possible, so my friend and I ordered the BBQ Trifecta, which is a shared plate with a mix of different meats and sides. There are different sized shared plates to suit your group size which means you can try a bit of everything whilst it also makes the food really affordable for what you get.

I dined with my best friend (of more than 25 years, without giving away my age!) and we also ordered two of the salads – far too much even for two hungry cavewomen but we did our best! We had the Aloha Salad, and since it was the day after thanksgiving, fittingly we ordered the Thanksgiving Salad (both pictured above).

My friend said that the Aloha Salad was one of the best salads she had ever had! When I mentioned this to Grant, who was the perfect host during our lunch, he told me the dressing was one of his signature recipes from all the years earlier at Flint.

Aloha Salad

Aloha Salad

Thanksgiving Salad

Thanksgiving Salad

Now for the meat. Succulent, tender, juicy and oh my goodness so flavoursome! I am still dreaming about the ribs and pulled pork. Apparently it does make a difference to source hickory all the way from the other side of the earth!

If you’re worried about whether the restaurant will cater for any specific dietary intolerances, they have celiac and veggo’s covered and for anything else just ask them and I’m sure they would be happy to meet your requirements.

Smoque is a healthy and refreshing take on slow cooked, smokey and flavoursome food. You won’t find any fast, deep fried foods here – only the best of Southern America y’all!!

Expect a casual, affordable, friendly, fun and memorable dining experience.


Baileys Arcade, Shop 2 131 London Circuit, Canberra


A new website will be launching soon.

For updates and specials, go to their facebook page.

Planning a Canberra trip? Here are a few reasons to go:

Smoque on Urbanspoon

Alison Sims

Passionate about real food and healthy living, Alison Sims is the founder and author of Paleo Foodies. She is on a mission to discover the best paleo dining in Australia and all around the world. What started as a part time blog in 2013 has lead to a full time career for Alison, who previously spent a decade in Advertising and Marketing. She is now a regular contributor to health and lifestyle publications, a public speaker in food and health, and co-publisher of Paleo Foodies Magazine.


  • Reply January 15, 2014

    Paleo... Really?

    Cornbread, paleo?
    bbq/hickory sauce paleo?
    Whatever the white sauce/cheese is all over the corn paleo?
    Seriously if I were a caveman I’d be dead by the time I searched hunted, collected and cooked the food laid out here??

    • Reply January 15, 2014

      Ali @ Paleo Foodies

      Thanks so much for your opinion which is completely valid. Like most restaurants, Smoque doesn’t prescribe to be paleo, and indeed there are many things on the menu which are not in line with the paleo diet. But what I like about them and the reason I have featured them on my website is because they use real ingredients and they believe in clean food. By virtue of this, many of their dishes are very much paleo-friendly, albeit the corn bread that you pointed out.
      If we were all to only dine at restaurants which were completely paleo I think we’d all be missing out on some great food. The reality is that we live in a modern world where we no longer hunt and gather all our food and we have to do the best we can at sourcing real, whole food options. But on the upside, we have access to some delicious healthy cuisine that our caveman ancestors could only dream about. So if you leave the corn bread, barbecued corn and dessert out of the mix, there’s a lot that can still be enjoyed :)

  • Reply January 15, 2014


    I wouldn’t expect this place to be Paleo-friendly, I’m glad you found out it is!

  • […] think Smoque got in my radar from this review at Paleo Foodies. I had high expectations knowing that most of their smoked meats are gluten-free. […]

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