For me 2016, had been a time of great explorations where as food is concerned. I wrote less and ate more …. hence, I proudly claim to have boldly gone to such varied eateries, where no man has gone before together. Since, my friends still turn to me for suggestions when deciding where to eat out, I thought might as well let you all know my picks for 2016, which are my take on the places I really enjoyed eating out at.
The Joint Cafe – Jan 2016
The year 2016 was off to a meaty start when we, as a group of food lovers, had a multiple course meal, consisting of meat. The Joint Cafe at DLF Galleria, is a quaint little 20 seater restaurant but I would highly recommend it if you are meat lover. From Pork to Turkeys, from Lamb to Quails, you name the meat and you’ll get it here.
The Dirty Apron – Feb 2016
Dirty Apron situated above the Piano man Jazz Bar and run by the same owners is located at the Safdarjung Enclave Market. The name itself is a testament to the food you would get and I can promise you that you would enjoy getting your “hands dirty” (pun intended). A limited well crafted menu, with quality ingredients, I loved the relaxed atmosphere, the “beer” cocktails and the food. With items like Chicken Laska Risotto with bacon, Keemaroni, Basa on Wasabi Potato Mash one gets food which has been thought and detailed to perfection.
Roots – Cafe in the Park – March 2016
Though I have been going to this outdoor cafe ever since it opened, I had to mention it in my list of most enjoyable places to eat even for 2016. The feel of a college canteen and even the prices of a college canteen, the place serves only vegetarian and egg dishes. Located in the Leisure Valley park in Sector – 29 Gurgaon, if you visit this cafe on a pleasant wintery afternoon, be warned you will have to wait a good 30-45 minutes before you get a table. Roots, literally takes you back to your roots, when we appreciated simple food, in a natural setting and preferred the simple pleasures of eating out, no frills attached.
Pluck at The Pullman – April 2016
The much talked about Farm to Table concept and I got the first opportunity to try it out at Pluck the avant-garde restaurant at the Hotel Pullman, Aerocity, New Delhi. The hotel has an in-house organic farm where the Chef painstakingly chooses his veggies for their daily salads and dishes. From the Parmesan Soup to the Quinoa Broccoli Cakes, from Apple & Asparagus Gazpacho to Pan roasted lamb rack mustard praline, the surprises and the freshness is quite evident on the palate and the staff is always on their tip toes to guarantee a bespoke experience for you. Truly a fine dining experience and highly recommended if you enjoy being pampered by food.
Circus – May 2016
The first Circus to hit the town was in Delhi’s South Extension area and it opened doors in April. As the name suggests, it is a completely fun place, with fun food and whacky drinks. And I was more than happy when the second one opened at CyberHub in November this year. The whole place is designed like a circus arena, with trapeze lights and Red’n’White 3-D wall art, and servers dressed in funky polka dotted shirts or interesting clown hats. The food is moderately priced and a meal for 2 will not be more than 1000 bucks per head including a drink or two. The Balti and the masala gang cocktails are a must try here along with the Sizzling tenderloin, burger sliders and Chicken 65. The menu is extensive and modelled on the street foods of the world.
Yum Yum Cha – June 2016
The most vibrant place in Cyber Hub, Gurgaon comes the second innings of Yum Yum Cha. Already established as a Asian restaurant to reckon with at the Select City Walk, you can spot it at the Cyber City from far away with large metal Origami Installations from far away. A personalized service which was quite visible on all tables and a vibrant, happy place, one feels like a VIP from the word Go! With an open kitchen probably larger than the dining area, innovation rules on the menu and when a Sushi hater like me can gobble down two plates, along with some amazing dimsums, they must be doing something right! The dishes I would recommend are Shake Shake Appetizers Prawn and Calamari, Dynamite Sushi, Alaska Sushi, Prawn Yello Curry Dimsum, Sizzling Sticky Rice, Mochi Icecream, Black Magic Cola with a special mention for their Pok Belly. Also one of the most kid friendly places in Cyberhub.
Burma Burma – July 2016
The only completely vegetarian place that made a hardcore carnivore like me happy. This Asian restaurant in Cyberhub
decorated with Burmese artefacts, is completely vegetarian but do not let that stop you if are meat lover like me. The Oh No Tamarind drink and the tea leaf salad top my list to start a meal here. However, highly recommended are Steamed Buns, the Samosa soup and of course the Khao Suey. Also, don’t forget to check out the Tea Menu if you are a Tea aficionado.
Perch – August 2016
The first of its kind, a Wine and Coffee Bar, Perch is located in the most upmarket area of Delhi, Khan market. A well designed, feel good place with large picture windows and white walls, the wooden benches and tables give the whole place a quaint and romantic feel. Whether you are just waiting for a business meeting or having coffee with an old friend, this place with its choice of coffee, small plates and its wine list will not be a disappointment. My recommendation would be the Cold Brew, which is Iced Black coffee with Orange Syrup.
Depot 48 – September 2016
I am a regular at Depot and after they opened their second outlet Depot48 (located at N-Block market Gk-I), none could be happier than me since I have almost visited them every fortnight. Music forms the essence of the Depot chain (now I can call it a chain) and at 48, they have continued the streak of successful performances and made sure the acoustics and the materials used complement the sound during performances. Whether the Duck Tacos or the Ham quesadillas, the Crispy chicken wings in the secret Depot sauce or the Spanish artichoke. The Big Daddy shredded BBQ Pork Burger or the humble Jackfruit burger … from the quality of ingredients used to the quantities they serve are truly a delight. However, if you’ve not have had the waffles here, you are missing on the best in Delhi. A definite yes for an enjoyable meal.
CyberHub Social – October 2016
My Architecture professor used to say …. “Yeh Basti banana khel nahi, yeh to baaste baaste Basti hai!” And, that was my first thought when I entered the Social Basti at Cyberhub. Designed like a Mumbai Chawl with private dining rooms and seating in Huge Hume Pipes (concrete pipes used for drainage), CyberHub Social finally enters Gurugram and I couldn’t have been happier for it to come closer home. From their Signature LLIIT (Longest Long Island Iced Tea) to the “eat at your own risk” Death wings, this is one place I frequent the most. The best part is whether you are going with friends, co-workers, or even the family, social accommodates all.
Tanddav – November 2016
Tanddav … the divine dance of food as the people who have visited like to call it, is at the same place Smokey’s GK-3 used to be. Tanddav as it is spelt is restaurateur Shivkaran‘s latest obsession and combined with his love for food and sense of style, the place embodies that. A very upmarket place with affordable rates … you would get a fusion of dishes from Fiery Chicken Udon Noodles to Chilli Caramel Tilapia for fish lovers. The place is chic and quaint at the same time and an excellent spot if you want to make an impression!
Prankster – December 2016
Prankster is the most recent and opened with a lot of fanfare in the Brewery district of Gurgaon Sector 29. Modelled on the lines of a mini university, this massive 10000 sq.ft. brewery is not just a great place to party and drink but scores very high on food. The house brews to the food are all conceived with a prank! Prankster’s funky design, innovative food and the jovial staff keeps you occupied and happy throughout your outing. So don’t forget to try the in-house brews along with the most tender lamb chops, the very amazing lychee tikka for vegetarians, the nitro dahi bhallas or the keema kaleji kulcha. This place is sucking up all the business from the surrounding areas more so, because of the value for money one gets here. Look forward to more of them opening in 2017.
No Rankings or No expert critique here, these are places that scored highly for me on Food, Service and Ambiance!
Though, I have had some great meals outside my city, I have restricted myself to Delhi NCR and all these places have a unique identity as well as a cuisine of their own. Most importantly they have no VIPs, they treat everyone at par and like a king in their restaurant. Looking forward to this exploration streak continuing in 2017.