It’s funny when waffles become wayfells, tacos become take-o’s and guacamole rhymes with something like hole or molly. Restaurateurs Girjashanker Vohra and Vikas Narula hear all kinds of things through the day, but nothing leaves them in splits more than such mispronunciations. The day comes with a swarm of absurdities which they take it in their stride. It’s things such as these that makes their new restaurant, Depot48, the happiest place on earth for them.
Depot48 comes after their fairly popular restaurant, Depot29, in Safdarjung Enclave, from which a few new lessons have been learnt. For starters, the bar here is much bigger and so is the bar menu. “But the biggest lesson learnt is that effective cost management ultimately impacts your bottom line. We have become smarter in terms of doing that without compromising on the quality of the food we serve,” says Narula. Apart from that, his partner is trying to dress better. “No more cargo shorts and shoes with laces,” says Vohra with a smirk.
The food here takes the best from Depot29 and adds a good amount of freshness to the menu. Some of the suggestions from the owners are Warm Spanish Artichoke and Spinach Dip served with homemade tortilla chips, Capers, Roasted Pepper and Fish Empanadas with a spicy avocado dip and Chicken Wings with a special homemade Depot48 rub and Blue Cheese Dip. For Narula, who has never been a homebody, his profession has allowed him to explore food like never else. He couldn’t stop raving about the last meal he had at Depot48. It was Jackfruit Burger with Fried Plantain and Avocado Mash. “It’s this unimaginable fantastic combination of starchy, fibrous, meat-like textures and favours, which always hits the spot for me. My earliest memory of the jackfruit is being hoodwinked into believing that it was a variety of an exotic bird that I always devoured as a child. Of course, it was kathal ki sabzi that I much later discovered,” says Narula. He could not stop putting his hands on the Spanish Artichoke and Spinach Dip that’s served with warm with tortilla chips.
A things that’s really worked in their case is their pretty incredible partnership. The almost-perfectly tuned temperaments is one of the major reasons too. As they’re brothers-in-law, there is no such thing as familiarity breeding contempt, they feel. “We are friends first, family second and business partners last,” says Vohra, adding, “When mildly upset I will possibly drink a pint of Bira White but lately it’s been out of stock.”
Another possible reason for their long-standing association, it seems, is their mutual fondness for music. Depot48 is one of the few acoustically treated places that hosts independent original music with events every weekend. On other days, they play commercial music for everybody’s entertainment. “To me, music is perhaps the greatest religion. All the music that is programmed at both Depot29 and Depot48 is carefully handpicked and curated by Girjashanker, who apart from being a sound engineer is also a BAFTA nominee,” Narula tells us. Next month, they’re bringing you The Revisit Project doing Hindi film music, Tajdar Junaid, playback singer Arko Mukherjea, Ensemble Transatlantico de Folk Chileno from Chile, and Carlos Elliott, a blues artist from Colombia. Also lined up is jazz musician Raphaelle Brochet.
Music and food pretty much sums up their life as they’re the most important aspects of their routine. That commitment also shines through their restaurant’s spirit.