A flash of neon alerts us to the presence of a new establishment in our favoured haunt, Defence Colony. Past the pulsating lights at the doorway, we come to a three-tiered space, ablaze with lamps, chandeliers and the aforementioned neon. Avoiding the roof in this icky weather, we settle for the first floor, first summoning our courage to cross the transparent glass panes that serve as flooring.
The cuisine here caters to the crowds, serving Indian, Continental, Oriental and the fusion section, which has become so ubiquitous to menus around the city. There’s also an obvious predisposition towards mushrooms; the fungi, er… mushrooms all over the menu, in various forms, both as stand-alone dishes and supporting members. For the more bacchanalian among us there’s good news: the liquor list is long and fairly reasonable. A cocktail, and we spotted some interesting ones, starting at Rs 255 a tipple. The music is really good, but out of place. The DJ clearly has skills in electronic and bass heavy music and he should be showcasing them in a club, not at a dining space. One doesn’t know whether to bob one’s head or chew.
We begin with a mushroom dish, as it’s obviously expected of us, to wit, a Taiwanese Chilli Mushroom, and Basa Ball Shots. The mushrooms sprout up first, glazed with hoisin and dotted with sesame seeds. Smoky with chillies and crushed peppers, there’s almost too much going on at the same time, flavour-wise, but it’s all to the good, specially when we sample our next course. Notice we didn’t say finish. That’s because the basa is tremendously underwhelming, comprising large skewered balls of flavourless fish, dotted with tired, nay exhausted, dried mango cubes. The accompanying coconut milk sauce does nothing to ameliorate the situation, leaving our appetite to sink to the bottom of the ocean.
Once we finally manage to catch our server’s attention, we move on to our next course, playing it safe with a Grilled Chicken Leg with Peri Peri and Herb Sauce. The meat is a trifle tough, but comes doused in a creamy sauce redolent with lemon, chillies and garlic; it holds up Anthony Bourdain’s assertion that an ounce of sauce covers a multitude of sins. Still, it’s nothing to write home about.
The dessert selection is largely derivative, seemingly inspired from other restaurants, and we pick the most unusual sounding one. Also because we can’t really tell what it is: Chocolate Walnut Nems with Vanilla Ice Cream. What does appear on our plate is essentially chocolate and hazelnut-stuffed spring rolls, served with ice cream
and chocolate sauce. So at least we end on a sweet note.
Meal for two: Rs 2,000 (including taxes, excluding alcohol)
Address: 10, Defence Colony Main Market, Defence Colony; 33107864