I know this is a food review but what I enjoyed as much as the grub at Smokey’s Original, an American-style diner in downtown Batley, was the music.
Being of a certain age the tunes of the 1980s were what I grew up listening to.
And at Smokey’s the classic tunes just kept on coming.
One minute I was singing along to Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car, the next Town Called Malice by The Jam.
Just as I was recovering from that, Bananarama belted out Ain’t What You Do followed by The Proclaimers and I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).
One-hit wonder Nena came up with 99 Red Balloons while UB40 promised Red Red Wine.
It was like being transported back in time, not that I want to rewind the clock 30 years, you understand.
Fancying a big tea we headed to Batley for a taste of America.
When it opened in St James Street, close to Batley Bus Station, last December it had rave reviews on Facebook.
So much so it was packed out. Booking was definitely required.
With names such as the Cowboy, the Big Bunch and the Porker it was clear the portions here could be American-sized – and they are.
Sian was already drooling at the thought of the rack of ribs as we made our way upstairs and we had fair warning what to expect from an old workmate of mine who we bumped into as we walked into the restaurant.
Pleasantries out of the way I asked about the food. “It’s great,” said Mark. “Hope you’re hungry.”
I’d skipped lunch and my belly was rumbling. So here goes.
Burgers, ribs and fried chicken are the order of the day. I sneaked a look at the dessert menu first – you must know my sweet tooth by now – and decided I had to leave a little room for afters.
It would be rude not to try the starters, however, and we decided to share some jalapeno cheese sticks (£2.99), melted cheese inside a delicious coating with a chilli kick.
As for the mains Sian had long since made her mind up – the full rack of ribs (£8.99). Of course there was a half rack but, oh no, a full one it had to be. Did I get a taste? Only a morsel and only enough to tell you the pork was succulent and tender and fell off the bone.
Ribs aren’t my thing anyway so it was the sloppy G burger for me (£7.49). Put simply it’s a whopping burger loaded with chilli and melted cheddar cheese.
It was certainly sloppy but I grappled with it double-handed for as long as I could before the knife and fork was needed.
The beef patties are handmade and it was prime meat, that’s for sure. The chips are golden brown and hand cut. Proper homemade.
By this stage Sian was full. Not surprisingly. As for me I had cunningly left a notch on the belt for the Mississippi mud pie (£4.20). It could easily have been cookie dough collision cheesecake or mega fab chocolate fudge cake.
We asked for two spoons but one mouthful was all Sian could muster. Poor effort but all the more for me. The pie was rich and chocolatey and surrounded with ice cream and squirty cream.
Mark was right, we needed to be hungry.
I later had a chat with owner Graham Fryer and he has big plans for the future. How could they be anything else?
Coming soon is a Smokey’s takeaway menu, giant 19-inch hotdogs and monster Poor Boy sandwiches, an idea imported from New Orleans.
If you’re hungry and love 80s music this place is smokin’.