NEW DELHI: Even as the totally not done-to-death ‘winter is coming’ memes get packed away for another 10 months and Delhi begins to brace for its long summer, we’re already on the lookout for oases sheltered from the heat and humidity. And as we discover, the Connaught Clubhouse, a new microbrewery and restaurant tucked away behind Janpath, makes for a welcome one.
While its terrace remains restricted due to present MCD regulations for Connaught Place, the Clubhouse still has more than enough room for patrons to spread their legs, and then some. The spread-out interior has an elongated bar running along one side of it, while the entire space is dominated by the glass-enclosed brewing room at one end, which is full of brewing vats and pipes, all gleaming with chrome.
The microbrewery is among the first in Delhi to get its license and which is operating at present, so those who like their beers freshly brewed and don’t want to drive all the way to Gurugram to get some, would do well to hop in here. We order the Belgian Wheat and Vienna Lager, the former treacle yellow in colour and frothy, while the latter is darker, more tannic. The wheat beer is light and playful, with the faintest traces of citrus in the aftertaste while the lager is mellower in flavor, though definitely with a bite.
Speaking of eating, we try the Mutton Seekh Kebab with layered sheermal, Wasabi Prawn, and Gongora Masala Fish Tikka, for starters. The sheermal doesn’t come layered a la mille-feuille like we expected, with the kebab coming layered atop the Awadhi bread. Misunderstandings aside, the spicy silken kebabs go smashingly with the mildly sweet yet savoury sheermal. The prawns, on the other hand, are firm and crisp, apart from being toasty warm and mildly hot, nicely accented by the zing of the accompanying wasabi dressing. It is however the fish that swims away with all the glory, the tender-textured tikkas tempered with a tart marinade suiting us to a T (the Gongura being a sour sorrel plant, commonly used in parts of south and northeast India).
There’s also a full bar, apart from home-brewed offerings, with signature cocktails like the Connaught Sour, a happy coddling of gin, beer, pomegranate juice, hibiscus, and berries with egg white – a sweet affair ending with a resounding kick. For our mains we continue our exploration of bar foods and small plates that largely make up the food menu, finally settling on Lamb and Cheddar Sliders along with Spicy Chicken Dimsum.
The second comes first, with the juicy morsels tightly wrapped in wonton wrappers rendered red, presumably to indicate the spiciness of the chicken. The sliders are more about the umami, with oodles of shredded cheddar melting into the meat patties nestled between the mini-buns.For dessert, there’s Tiramisu, though we’ve had better. In any case, Connaught Clubhouse and its brewery are quite a formidable pick-me-up already.Meal for Two: Rs 2,500 (plus taxes)At: 54, Tolstoy Lane, Janpath
The microbrewery is among the first in Delhi to get its license, so those who like their brewed beers and don’t want to drive to Gurugram to get some, would do well to hop in here