The best new food and drink venues and products to enjoy in the new year

Gallops Alfresco
Nikita Puri lists the newest indulgences in our cities as well as some coming up in the New Year:

GALLOPS ALFRESCO, MUMBAI

For a good three decades, dining at Gallops has come with the promise of a view of the Mahalaxmi Racecourse in Mumbai. Second-generation restaurateurs Yajush Malik (also the chef) and Mikhail Singh (responsible for the drinks) have now thrown up an entirely new dining out area that has a menu and ambience of its own. The ‘Gallops’ in its name is for the brand value alone; this is an entirely new space that has come up on the expansive lawns of the older restaurant. Both co-exist peacefully, much like the old-world food that the founders of the original Gallops introduced, and the changes that the new generation of the founding families have brought. There’s much to choose from on a menu that boasts of everything from maple and blue cheese popcorn, asparagus bhajiya, cognac braised scallops and bharwan gucchi (featuring Kashmiri mushrooms). Watching horses races past, or just ambling along to their stables, is a perk.

THE HOUSE OF CELESTE, GURUGRAM

 
Suvir Saran is the chairman of Asian Culinary Studies for the Culinary Institute of America, a prestigious academy located in New York. He was also the chef who ran Devi in New York City and is now back home with an all-new casual dining space in Gurugram. Devi was the first Indian restaurant in the US to win a Michelin star. Saran’s latest outing prides itself on its short menu (21 items) which includes Indian favourites tweaked for memorable visual aesthetics. Offerings include Masala Pebbles (a modern take on golgappa), the Gilafi Apricot mutton seekh kebab and Noshi’s Lahori Chilli mince (a version of haleem popular in Pakistan).

KAPPA CHAKKA KANDHARI, BENGALURU

Photos: Vinayak Grover / Sanjay Ramachandran

Named for three ingredients beloved of Malayalis, tapioca (kappa), jackfruit (chakka) and bird’s eye chilli (kandhari), this brand-new restaurant in Koramangala, Bengaluru, aims to be the definitive guide to food from God’s Own Country. Founded by Regi Mathew (also the chef), John Paul and Augustine Kurian, it showcases the staggering diversity from a state that owes much to its historically exalted position as a centre for trade and commerce. On the menu is Malabar food from the north, specials from toddy shops, favourites from Syrian Christian homes as well as stars from the princely state of Travancore. Check in for prawns cooked with grated coconut and kudampuli  and steamed in banana leaves (Prawn Kizhi), or the Ayakura Melodu Vachathu, a tava-grilled tangy seer fish marinated in gooseberry, green peppercorn and bird’s eye chilli.

KIKO-B· AND DADEL, DELHI

Kelvin Cheung, a chef of Chinese and Canadian ancestry who previously helmed actor Shilpa Shetty Kundra’s Bastian in Mumbai, is expected to open two new ventures in Delhi in January 2020. While one of these outings, Kiko-B·, will be an Asian venture with a focus on heirloom recipes modelled on Hong Kong’s Cantonese cuisine, Cheung will also be seen opening a swanky new cocktail bar, Dadel. Both Kiko-B· and Dadel will share the same address in Vasant Vihar, at 62 Basant Lok. That’s two things we can never have enough of.

PROST, BENGALURU

If the promise of eight different brews isn’t enough to draw one to Whitefield, the lure of a good view might just do it. Abandoning its old address in Koramangala, popular brewery Prost has now moved to Whitefield. Here it takes advantage of its new location, at 3,144 feet above sea level, and offers panoramic vistas of the city. To sweeten the deal, their floors are themed Jungle Book style with monkey murals and fixtures of the “wild” kind. Your average pub grub, classic finger food and continental make the menu.

THE KIMONO CLUB, DELHI

South Delhi has a new spot for those who still have a life beyond Netflix. The Kimono Club in Delhi’s Chanakyapuri is a place where Chinese meets Japanese somewhere between the swings at the entrance, vintage floral wallpapers and a whisky bar that’s 40 feet long. The club of many quirks is courtesy restaurateurs Ashish Dev Kapur and Joydeep Singh. The lovely interiors are by Freddy Birdy and Vikramjit Roy is the chef here. Positioned somewhere between Memoirs of a Geisha and Moulin Rouge!, The Kimono Club has also done its homework on responsible sourcing of food materials (such as seasonal fish). A place for extreme meat gratification, there’s caviar, lobster, oyster and duck aplenty. And, importantly, a buzzer on every table to keep the champagne flowing.

YOUMEE, KOLKATA & BENGALURU

It’s unclear if it’s the Manga-themed décor or the sushi plates that drives YOUMEE’s popularity, but along with their baos and sashimis this Japanese restaurant is spreading its wings to Kolkata and Bengaluru (there’s also one in Delhi). While the latter’s third outlet in Bengaluru opens in Bharatiya City Centre by June 2020, Kolkata will see two new YOUMEEs by April in Forum Mall and Acropolis Mall. Lite Bite Foods, the power source behind YOUMEE, also plans on expanding its other popular restaurant, Punjab Grill, by taking it to Chennai (February 2020), Lucknow (March 2020) and Kolkata (April 2020). 

PERCH, MUMBAI

After introducing diners at Delhi’s Khan Market to shrubs and fruit syrups preserved with vinegar and sugar in 2015, Perch has now set its sights on Mumbai. Opening in Bandra by the end of January 2020, this wine and coffee bar (they stock 37 kinds of wine in Delhi) does modern European cuisine featuring such items as Braised Pork Mango and Melon Salad. Mumbaikars will soon make the call on whether their cocktail menu is worth the hype.

GATSBY CLUB, CHENNAI

Less than a fortnight old, Chennai’s newest party pod is located at the InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram, a luxury resort perched at the edge of the Bay of Bengal on the East Coast Road. While the menu has both Indian and Asian fare, the brand hopes to build a loyal following for their artisanal cocktails (Frisky Whisky is one, we are told), and drinks that celebrate locally grown ingredients. Here’s where the curry leaf martini steps in. They also have an alfresco dining area to make the best of the ocean breeze.  

ETHER, MUMBAI

After several stints as a chef in Michelin-starred restaurants in France, Belgium and the United States, Prateek Bakhtiani moved to Mumbai last year to set up an atelier dedicated to chocolate. The Cordon Bleu graduate recently launched Ether, a luxury brand which uses single origin chocolate alone, if not single plantation. His Smoke collection features Ecuadorian dark chocolate with oak wood smoke, the Madagascar one sees cherry wood smoke paired and candied orange peel. The same collection also features Tanzanian chocolate with apple wood smoke and cayenne. Ether’s Clover Club is dedicated to juniper and jazz with flavours ranging from rose petals to passion fruit while the Nero Lanka collection, with ingredients such as burnt sugar, mangos, moss, toasted black tea and chestnuts, is a homage to the earthy scent of rain on dry soil. There are more blends afoot. Currently available only in Mumbai, Ether will be up for deliveries pan-India in the coming months. Meanwhile, buy them online (priced between Rs 1,250 and Rs 2,250) at www.etherchocolate.com. 

ARAKU ORIGINALS, ACROSS INDIA

Named after the valley of its origin in Andhra Pradesh, Araku started out as a responsibly sourced coffee brand that opened its first store in the high streets of Paris in 2017. Now counted among the world’s best award-winning coffees, Araku Original’s organic coffee beans are grown and harvested by tribal communities living in the valley. The brand has now launched a gift box of all things coffee, including coffee-brewing equipment, and mugs designed by Norwegian designers Anderssen & Voll. Prices for these boxes start at Rs 5,500. Available only online right now, at www.arakucoffee.in.

BEEYOUNG, YAVIRA & KINGFISHER ULTRA WITBIER, ACROSS INDIA

While Sweden might have perfected beer brewed from recycled sewage water, India’s hop game has been strong, too, with a number a homegrown brands gaining market and new breweries opening up. Now after Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Kimaya Himalayan Beverages has launched two barley-based brews which come in 500 ml bottles, unusual for India. (The average here is 330ml or 650ml, but many, including the brand’s founder Abhinav Jindal, feel that while the former is too little, the latter may be too much!) The brand opts for Basmati rice to up the smoothness of the brew, both of which feature Argentinean malt laced with noble hops and infused with Himalayan source water. In Delhi BeeYoung costs Rs 100, and Yavira Rs 130.

United Breweries has also stepped into the craft beer segment with the launch of Kingfisher Ultra Witbier. Its first non-lager brew, this one a wheat beer with orange and coriander flavours. Presently available in Karnataka and Goa, this Witbier will soon travel to Maharashtra, Delhi and Haryana. Priced at Rs 110 in Karnataka.



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