I was giving some thought to trying the 52 again in 2013 but it’s unrealistic to think I can pull it off. Of course that hasn’t stopped me from putting together another list of spots I’d like to hit up. I was running ideas by Marie when she mentioned that a co-worker had recommended a restaurant to her. I asked where and she said “Port Colborne” which immediately drew my obligatory “what’s a Port Colborne?” So we locked in a date and headed out on the mission to The Smoking Buddha. I should be clear on this particular facet of the trip; IT WAS A MISSION! I remember when I used to visit my friend Nicole in Peterborough. I’d drive from Brampton along the 401 to the 35/115 in Lindsay and think “OK I’m almost there.” Yeah… NO! It would just keep going north and I’d wonder why nobody puts up street lamps along these middle of nowhere highways. That’s exactly how I felt on the trip to Port Colborne. As soon as we got off the QEW it turned into a “where are we” kind of feeling. Thankfully we made it after Marie‘s keen eyes spotted the tiny sign.
It’s a pretty tiny restaurant. It’s an open kitchen and I’d estimate seating at 25. Our server mentioned they open up a patio which doubles their capacity in the summer. The Smoking Buddha describes itself as Thai/Indian/Japanese Cuisine. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant. Was it fusion? Was it a myriad of options across different cultures? I’m not particularly one for fusion so I was glad to see it was the latter. There was a solid selection of dishes to choose from.
Chevon Roti – $8
Coming from a West Indian background, I immediately have a picture in my mind when someone says Goat Roti. I see a huge Paratha filled with chopped up Goat and chunks of Curry Potatoes and/or Chic Peas. When I saw this item on the menu and learned from our server that it was served in portions of 7, I was baffled as to how it would go down. What was presented could not have been any further from what I had pictured in my mind. The Roti was deep fried and then stuffed with Indian Curry Potato and minced Goat. It came with a very sweet dipping sauce that I didn’t care for. Marie on the other hand loved it. The Goat Roti itself was delicious. Everything was seasoned well with great kick. I’d equate it almost to a Fried Spring Roll or Mozzarella Stick in terms of texture upon biting into it. A great start to the meal.
Naan Pizza – $8
The first question asked was if this was served with Tomato Sauce and we were told no so it got Marie‘s seal of approval. The menu stated the Pizza is served with Japanese Curry as a base but I couldn’t taste anything resembling curry. This was essentially a white pizza on Naan with Mixed Cheeses, diced Peppers and Onions. The Naan was baked well and had a crisp texture. The ingredients were fresh and the veggies had a sweet tang to them. It was good but hardly anything special.
Antejitos – $8
I’m used to the standard Cream Cheese Antojito so this was a nice change of pace. Along with the Cream Cheese, The Smoking Buddha adds Black Beans, Peppers, and Corn. The sweetness from the vegetables is balanced nicely with the Cream Cheese. I was really curious to know what was used to coat the Tortillas as it had just a hint of spice to it and really took these up a notch.
Just a note, we got the 3 appetizers in a Trios deal so they came to $21 rather than $24. I always appreciate getting value in my purchases.
Peanut Chicken – $13
Marie had her sights set on this dish weeks before we arrived. I had no idea she was such a huge Peanut fan. I’m not one for that thick flavour but she LOVED it. I gave it a try and it was alright, just not my cup of tea. The Smoking Buddha does not skimp on portions. It was a task to finish everything but Marie was very satisfied.
Yellow Curry Chicken – $13
I should have taken a photo to show the depth of this dish. It was served in a massive bowl. I couldn’t believe the sheer amount of food. This was Yellow Thai Curry with Cilantro, Tamarind and Coconut Milk. It’s a basic Chicken & Potatoes meal and my God was it good. I drowned it in Sriracha Sauce to boot for a little extra heat. This was straight up great tasting comfort food, especially on the cold night we showed up.
I’ve got nothing but praise for The Smoking Buddha‘s food. Everything tasted fantastic. Our server (apologies but her name escapes me) was pleasant and attentive. The only downside is that it is a major mission to get there if you live outside St. Catherines. It took us an hour and 10 minutes door to door from downtown Hamilton. If you live in the area, please make the time to drop into The Smoking Buddha.