Recently, while crossing a mall, I saw a restaurant advertised as a gastro pub. Not too long ago, the nomenclature resto-bar (erroneously interpreted as restro-bar in Delhi) was all the craze. Did we really manage a successful stylistic transition in the last few years, or did mankind in all its laziness merely find a way to serve up old wine in a new bottle?
A resto-bar to me is as different from a gastro-pub as, honestly, I don’t think a simile even exists. So, here are a few new outlets about town and let’s see if we can make up our minds about them.
Piano Man: The place that will make Mumbaikars respect Dilliwallahs, even if momentarily so. The only jazz bar in town—nay, country—and one that’s built with the musicians’ centre stage while the seating, bar, etc just settles itself around. Clearly a place designed by an artist for artists. It is a bar, but more pertinently, it is a jazz bar, and that’s a category unto itself, provided it manages to survive beyond six months in this un-jazz-y city.
Ek Bar: The name spells it really, this is a bar. They wanted a bar with an Indian identity and they’ve managed to curate a very cool space with a distinct Indian flavour. The drinks are fabulous (go for Queen Victoria), and it also has very impressive food, but the layout—the mismatched furniture, the high seating—is more bar-like and less reminiscent of a restaurant. So, yes, this is a bar, and possibly Delhi’s hippest bar du moment.
The Fatty Bao: The place has yummy food, nothing complex, imaginative and bursting with Oriental flavours and very playfully nostalgic—almost a refined tribute to what we knew as street Chinese while growing up. The drinks are good and the music, never too soft. The layout is part bar and part salon, but it’s mostly restaurant style seating all around. This is a good example of a resto-bar (or gastro-bar, as they call it)—stress on food without losing focus of the drinks.
The Biggie: This massive spread in Delhi’s historic entertainment hub, CP, is renowned for its range of beers and the affable pricing. The food is all about easy dishes with bite and flavour. Nothing too messy, just something that would sit well besides a brew. This is mostly a pub, never mind that it is called a beer cafe!
Social Offline: I frequent this place often, notwithstanding just how much older I am than their regular crowd and possibly bring up the average age by a decade. I go there because it is cheap. I go there because it is noisy, and when I don’t wish to talk to someone, it’s good to meet there. I go there because the food is quirky and tasty and the service pretty alright. And did I mention cheap. This is a bar but it’s also a restaurant. In the daytime, it’s more of a business-cafe with work-stations. Frankly, there’s no nomenclature to categorise this. Hence they go by the name Anti-Social. Or is that Social-Offline? I don’t really remember. Clearly I don’t go there enough, or maybe am too old to know the difference.