Unlike the other places featured in this blog, Smaaash isn’t a restaurant. It’s a gaming arena, which also houses its own bar and a restaurant. I was invited for a Zomato Meetup at Smaaash, and got a chance to experience some of their best games as well as dishes.
All the standard fare that you might expect in a gaming arena like Arcade games, Air Hockey, and Bowling are present at Smaaaash. However, the stuff that really distinguishes it are the augmented reality experiences and sports. Smaaash is the first gaming zone in Hyderabad where I’ve seen the Oculus Rift being used. I tried a couple of the Oculus experiences – Finger Coaster and Vertigo. Finger Coaster allows you to design your own roller coaster, and then ride in it, while Vertigo makes you walk on top of a narrow plank placed between the roofs of two skyscrapers while a Monster is throwing stuff at you from the other end. The graphics of both the experiences were rudimentary, and I’ve seen far better Oculus demos online. However, the overall setup of these rides is excellent and the overall experience was very immersive. Other non-Oculus experiences include a racing game that puts you in a moving car to simulate real racing experience and a fighter plane shooter that puts you in a plane that will twist and turn (even completely upside down) depending upon how you maneuver your fighter jet. Smaaash Cricket puts you in a net facing off bowls from a system that can crank up the pace to 145 kmph. You also get live commentary and replay. Football fans can either try to save goals or try to beat the Super Keeper and score them. The best part is that you can win a Harley Davidson by either scoring 7 consecutive goals in Super Keeper, or hitting 6 consecutive sixes against an international pace bowler or 9 consecutive sixes against an international spin bowler in Smaaash Cricket, or by scoring 270 in Twilight Bowling, or by timing below 1.10 minutes in X2 motor racing for 3 consecutive races.
For dinner, we moved to Unforked, the global cuisine restaurant inside Smaaash. We had a set menu for the night. First off was Khow Suey Chicken Soup. I’m a bit fan of Khow Suey and you’d seldom hear me say bad things about it. This was a more watery version of the typical Khao Suey, since it was meant to be only a soup and not also a main course. I enjoyed this dish but would have preferred regular noodles or egg noodles instead of the glass noodles.
Next to arrive were the appetisers. I had selected Bhut Jolokia Chicken Wings. Now, Bhut Jolokias are the hottest chillies in the world, but the wings that I was served were rather docile. Some of the other servings apparently had more bite. It’s still early days for Smaaash, so a bit of inconsistency in taste is pardonable. However, what’s really alarming is that at least two servings of the wings were not properly cooked. Raw chicken is dangerous, and there’s absolutely no excuse for serving it.
Next course was salads – Pulled Chicken Salad with Honey Mustard dressing and Sweet and Sour Raw Papaya Salad. The chicken salad was decent, but the Papaya Salad was undoubtedly the one that impressed. It was served inside a Payapa and had a really good amount of acidity, which was balanced out by a hint of sweetness and the salty peanuts.
In the mains, I ordered Peri Peri Chicken Burger. Given the name, I was expecting a bit more of heat and flavour of Peri Peri sauces, but the buger was wholesome and delicious. The chicken patty had a crisp coating with a juicy centre. I also sampled a few of the other mains. The Thai Green Prawn Curry had the right flavours but not in the right strength. The gravy was too dilute. The Greek Style Chicken was overly salty, and the marinade failed to impress. However, I enjoyed the White Hummus served with it. The Risotto with Grilled Vegetables didn’t have any of the technical shortcomings of the aforementioned dishes. The cook was just right – the rice was al dente and nicely coated with the sauce. But, it was a very simplistic version of the dish that didn’t do enough to elicit praise.
For desserts, I was offered ice creams with a choice of toppings. The ice creams reminded me of Famous Ice Creams, which is to say, they were not very good. I also tried a few mocktails, but apart from the Pina Colada, I didn’t really like any of them. The bar will be offering some signature cocktails once they get the liquor license.
As a gaming parlour, Smaaaash is definitely a notch above the rest, and has plenty of interesting rides to make you want to come back. I’m excited to see destinations like this opening up in Hyderabad. However, the unique experiences don’t come cheap. A few minutes of racing can set you back by Rs. 175 and five overs of cricket cost Rs. 500. The restaurant was inconsistent but shows promise. The pricing is a tad on the higher side, and the food needs to be more impressive for Unforked to become a highlight in its own right. Smaaash (Hyderabad) will be officially inaugurated by Sachin Tendulkar on 4rth August.