A neon flash alerts us to the presence of a new establishment in our favorite spot, Defense Colony. Past the pulsating lights at the doorway, we come to a three-level room, ablaze with lamps, chandeliers and the aforementioned neon. In this icy weather, we avoid the roof and settle for the first floor, first gathering our courage to cross the transparent windows that serve as the floor.
The cuisine here caters to the crowds, serving Indian, continental, oriental and the fusion section, which has become so ubiquitous on menus across the city. There is also a clear aptitude for mushrooms; the mushrooms, er… mushrooms all over the menu, in various forms, both as standalone dishes and supporting members. For the more bacchanalian among us, there’s good news: the drink list is long and reasonable. A cocktail, and we saw some interesting ones, starting at Rs 255 a drink. The music is really good but out of place. The DJ clearly has skills in electronic and heavy bass music and he should be showing them in a club, not a dining room. You don’t know whether to bow your head or chew.
We start with a mushroom dish, as it is naturally expected of us, namely a Taiwanese Chilli Mushroom and Basa Ball Shots. The mushrooms sprout first, glazed with hoisin and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Smoky with chillies and crushed chillies, there’s almost too much going on at once, taste-wise, but it’s all good, especially when we taste our next course. Note that we didn’t say ready. That’s because the basa is hugely overpowering, consisting of large skewered balls of tasteless fish, strewn with tired, yes exhausted, dried mango cubes. The accompanying coconut milk sauce does nothing to improve the situation, sinking our appetites to the bottom of the ocean.
When we finally manage to get our server’s attention, we move on to our next course and play it safe with a grilled chicken leg with Peri Peri and herb sauce. The meat is a little chewy, but topped with a creamy sauce reminiscent of lemon, peppers and garlic; it supports Anthony Bourdain’s claim that an ounce of sauce covers a myriad of sins. Still, it’s nothing to write home about.
The dessert selection is largely derived, seemingly inspired by other restaurants, and we pick the most unusual-sounding ones. Also because we can’t really say what it is: Chocolate Walnut Nems with Vanilla Ice Cream. What does appear on our plates are essentially chocolate and hazelnut filled 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, Defense Colony Main Market, Defense Colony; 33107864