The newest b-bar, a branch of the famed Buddha Bar chain, is a welcome addition to the New Delhi lounge and fusion food scene
By: Nandini Mathur
Posted on: November 26, 2012
The newest b-bar, a branch of the famed Buddha Bar chain, is a welcome addition to the New Delhi lounge and fusion food scene.
Located in the heart of New Delhi on level four of Select CityWalk Mall (with a dedicated elevator, thankfully), b-bar offers a cool new hub for lovers of Asian fusion cuisine to eat to their heart’s content in a relaxed atmosphere. Walking into the lounge early on a Tuesday night, we were welcomed warmly and shown to our table in the lounge area. The first impression when you walk in is one of vast space, a precious commodity indeed, which immediately makes you feel that a luxury experience awaits. A central island bar with a cavernous atrium style roof contributes to the effect as well while the somewhat psychedelic dim blue lighting certainly make for a true-blue (pun intended!) lounge feel.
Music can be the deal-maker or breaker in any lounge experience. Here the music was perhaps a little too Indian and a little too loud for our taste, but seemed to be going down fairly well with the crowd, which grew steadily as the night progressed. But because there is ample space and seating for 330 covers in the lounge, the fine dining area and the four private dining areas, we never felt claustrophobic. Credit for this also goes to the staff as the service was impeccable without being intrusive.
Getting in the groove
Beginning with their signature cocktails, the b-bar manager, Mr Ivan Jacob, explained that Delhi’s cocktails were rather boring and did not live up to b-bar standards, so they created their own mixes. Our server Yogesh recommended the Hideyoshi (orange vodka, strawberry puree, ginger, mint leaves, sugarcane syrup and mix berries tea) which was created by Mr Jacob himself. It was wonderfully refreshing and had just the right amount of sweetness to balance the acidity from the orange flavour and the tea. The Asiapolitan (vodka, sake, lemon grass, lime cranberry juice and sugarcane syrup) and the Pineapple Spicy M (Thai chilli infused vodka, pineapple, pineapple juice and pineapple syrup) were rather heady but pleasant all the same and kept with the Asian theme. B-Bar also has an extensive range of wines, whiskies and mocktails for those who’d rather stick to the tried and tested.
Anticipating the same greatness from their appetizers, we had the b-bar signature Chicken Salad and the highly recommended Lobster Dumplings. The dumplings certainly lived up to the hype as they went beautifully well with their mild but flavourful crab curry sauce, so much so that we wiped the platter clean, and wanted yet more! The chicken salad was overpowered by the flavour of the Chinese cabbage, and could have done with more dressing, but was interesting texturally and was a piously healthy option! The Crispy Chicken Wings with Thai Ginger Sauce was surprisingly boneless and seemed to consist of small batter-coated chicken nuggets rather than wings. Though the batter was perhaps a wee bit too thick and slightly over-seasoned, they were nicely crunchy and made for a satisfactory starter with the sauce adding some zing.
Wanting to test their hand on Indian style appetizers, we called for the Tacos-Paapdi Chaat. It was truly excellent, though it has to be eaten quickly, or the mini taco shells become soggy. The filling of yellow peas, potato and salsa was well-balanced and was a perfect textural foil to the crisp tacos on the outside. This combination was in fact so good that the accompanying avocado yoghurt sauce seemed superfluous. Some of the appetizers are fairly heavy and you may start to feel a bit full, but then you don’t go to a lounge to walk out in a hurry, and can soak in the ambience and the music for a while before ordering your mains!
The Asian treat
The menu at b-bar is fairly extensive and leaves you spoilt for choice. So once again we turned to the helpful staff to help us select our main course dishes. Discarding the Wok Fried Crispy Tofu since it was similar to Wok Fried chicken and Cashew Nuts dish, we chose the innovative Thai Green Curried Cottage Cheese Kushiyaki for vegetarians. This small tower of paneer skewers marinated in Thai green curry took a little while to reach our table, and perhaps the plating could have been neater, but the novelty of the taste was enough to override the minor hiccups. This was truly fusion food incorporating the best of both worlds! However, it is a dish which is perhaps best savoured by itself, as it did not pair very well with b-bar noodles with vegetables, which were also quite good on their own.
The Wok Fried Chicken and Cashew Nuts came with a crisp garnish and had excellent balance, both texturally and taste-wise, with the roasted cashews adding a delightful crunch and depth of flavour. We would definitely be ordering this this dish again, which is their highest seller, and we can certainly see why! Ginger Lamb Chop with seasonal vegetables did not disappoint as the jus (a reduced sauce leached out from the meat and the spices while cooking) added just the right amount of intensity and made this a worthy main course.
By the end of this course, we were rather full, but we conveniently gave in to the allure of their desserts. Though the Liquid Centre Chocolate Cake with vanilla ice-cream sounded enticing, we were informed that it is baked fresh and would take 20-25 minutes to be served. So we decided to try desserts which often go wrong to see how well b-bar did. And thus we ordered a Philadelphia Cheese Cake and the Trio of Crème Brûlée.
The cheesecake was good, but not out of this world. In terms of texture, it was more like a baked soufflé than a cheesecake and the base had become a bit soggy. The raspberry coulis it came with would have been a wonderful addition to the dish if the cheesecake was tart enough to begin with. It was a pleasant dessert all the same, but no match for the crème brûlée trio, which was spectacular. It consisted of small bowlfuls of vanilla, chocolate and coffee custards with a perfect layer of crisp caramel on top. The chocolate dish was maybe a bit too strong for most people but the vanilla and coffee crème brûlées were to die for! Overall, this dessert works very well as a trio with a combination of mild and strong flavours and a rich but light current of caramel running through it.
Sitting back at the end of our sumptuous meal, we enjoyed some more music before going home satiated. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere at b-bar rivals that of a top-notch lounge anywhere in the world. It made for a fine evening out after a hard day at work. We will definitely be visiting b-bar again!
Coordinates: Level 4, Select City Walk, Saket, New Delhi
For reservations, please contact: +91-11-46098989