An unassuming mid-week day is hardly the setting for a great quest, at least that’s what the zoman warrior thought so. But yeah, life works in mysterious ways that one cannot hope to comprehend.
So when the zoman warrior accompanied his favourite gang of foodies, his foodie fraternity of five from the 212 days, much was about to change.
Harry Potter on his first journey to Hogwarts stood confused at Kings Cross, wondering where platform 9 ¾ was. In a manner akin, we stood outside a residential complex, wondering what the hell, were we just about to do.
From a clean and unaware setting of the platforms 9 and 10, when Harry finally makes his dash into platform 9 ¾ , an entirely different scene unfolds. Ditto for us. Moving up the squeaky elevator in the building, we were half expecting to enter someone’s home. But when the doors to our destination opened, it was like entering an alternate universe.
Moving on…. That’s how we went about getting to the tasting at The Village Rooftop Lounge.
Building on my Harry Potter’esque theme, our host for the evening Red Raven, walked us around the magic that The Village was seemingly brewing. Much like the Great Hall from the Potter movies, the place is ginormous and just when you think you’ve seen the entire shindig, there’s some for you to see.
From smoke billowing through sheesha pipes to spiky drinks being served in earthenware, even the water-jet cooling fans, everything seemed to exude an air of difference at this place.
Semi-closed sections with drapes drawn up give you the feel of sitting through a mystic movie.
The music makes you feel like a part of the Arabian nights at certain points of time though it brings you back to reality with the daftly juxtaposed helpings of Lean On and Gulabo.
If contemporary is your call, chances are, that you wouldn’t like the ambiance here a lot. But if you area into the sort of thing where everything subtly plays on your comprehension, I think you’ll like it here.
Courteous, polite, and friendly, but lacking the F&B training to an extent.
Even though it was a bloggers table where the service is generally all out impressive, we kind of had a slow affair.
I appreciate servers who can make suggestions from the menu and I highlight this wherever I see it. This was totally missing at The Village. Even though we had a set menu, the servers weren’t sure of what all went into the prep. That’s not excusable.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
Per usual and per expectation, the food was a mix of highs and lows or hits and misses, whatever tickles your fancy.
A special mention I would like to make and I’ll probably begin the proceedings with it.
THE PEACH ME UP
It is a rarer than rare event when I prefer a mocktail over a spread of beer and cocktails. But when it happens, a shout out is the least it deserves.
Orange and cranberry juice gave this beaut its volume, peach crush gave it the heavenly sweetness and a lush color, while sprite did a great job adding the spritz to the whole event.
I simply couldn’t fault this peachy parade. Be it the color, the appearance, the garnish, the consistency, the balance, or most importantly the taste. The whole construct was perfect.
FCUK ME UP
Aptly named and for a myrad variety of reasons.
One look at this supermodel of a drink and that’s precisely what she’s screaming at you, Fcuk me. Dear sweet lord in heaven, that’s exactly what you’d crave to do. And then, when you’ve downed a couple of these spicy noggins you’re pretty much fcuked up! So yeah, aptly named eh!
Guava juice has that pectin’y topper of a flavour index that goes perfectly well with booze but it’s the overpowering aroma that makes people give this fruit a miss in their cocktail stock. The good people at The Village have pulled out a solid ace with this particular concoction of theirs.
Taking a cue from the “peru waalas” on the streets, salt and chilli powder add a whole new dimension to this guava and vodka concoction. Rimming the glass with chilli and salt helps coat your nostrils and lips with an aroma and taste that perfectly complement the fruitiness that’s about to ensue with the first sip.
About how this drink looks. Remember the hottest girl or hunkiest guy in your college? Apply that analogy to a cocktail and you’ll get the answer. Enough said, right?
ICE ICE BABY
Why this kolaveri di? Innovation, at times is its own enemy and that’s precisely what has happened to the bartender in this case.
If you’re a hospitality management student or have worked at a bar, one thing you’d always be taught, is to use innovation but not to reinvent the basics.
Pretty much like any cream based liqueur Baileys is ideally not mixed with any citrus or tangy mixers. Unless you specifically want a curdled appearance to your cocktail.
Now the only thing good about the ice ice baby, was the ice. Ironic!
The sweet, creamy, and palette coating Bailey’s never gelled well with the sharp and tangy curacao.
The result, a weak built cocktail with a blue color that resembled chalk which my mom used to bring back from college, a semi-coagulated texture consistency that resembled milk that’s gone bad, and a taste that has put me off both Bailey’s and Blue Curacao for the foreseeable future.
Absolutely not recommended!
Let me clarify, this is not the manali stuff that you smoke in a pot! But a cocktail served in an earthenware pot.
A 5 on 5 in terms of presentation, this was a heady combination of multiple superstars from the alcohol industry.
I’d liken this mix to a long island iced tea with most of its star cast featuring here too, with rum, tequila, gin, vodka taking centre stage yet again. The Village touch to the drink was added by the addition of whisky instead of triple sec, beer, peach crush, and green apple syrup.
Made for a hell of a drink except I thought that the beer had no role to play except boosting the volume of the mix.
Surprisingly, amongst all the alcohols present in the pot (hahahaha), the green apple syrup stole the show.
A must have from their menu!
Moving on from the slosh onward to the nosh! Here’s my two cents on the food that was dished out to us.
MURGH AFGHANI KABAB
An above average take on the classic stuffed breast recipe.
Sautéed chicken mince bound nicely with cheese formed a melt in your mouth stuffing that went inside a chicken breast parcel marinated in spices and nuts.
The dish looked a little lack lustre considering that the outside was dry and too spicy. But the mince inside tasted beautiful.
I wouldn’t ask for this the next time though!
One of my favourite Persian delicacies and something that’s got me doing the rounds of George and King’s for years now.
My take on the Kubedeh at The Village. Simply superb!
Done in absolute Persian style, the lambs and onions went perfectly well and the spices were mild enough to make their presence felt without overpowering anything in the dish at all.
An absolute must try from the menu.
CHICKEN JUJEH KABAB
When life gives you lemons, what do you with them? Multiple people would do multiple things, but the folks at The Village decided to squeeze all these lemons on a plate of unsuspecting Jujehs who were out to thoroughly impress.
The prodigal child of The Village menu, the jujeh kababs had the potential to bring patrons back for more. But instead soured out flat under the heavy dousing of lemon juice.
The perfect marinade and absolutely perfect cooking of the meat. But the lemon juice thrashing it received. Ouch!
Don’t give this a miss I say. But ask them to hold the citrus if you ask for this!
MARCH NAWABI SEEKH
Food wise, my favorite from the menu.
Cardamom and cumin perfumed this cheesy chicken delight, which, with a hearty addition of cashew powder, could win anybody’s heart.
The spice levels and cooking were so perfect that I literally ate an entire serving of this dish.
Do not miss this if you’re at The Village!
At least in my context, aptly named. I’ve always found tai chi to be a boring martial art and named pretty much in the same way, so was this dish.
I mean, except for the red color of the chili in the dish, nothing else was appealing.
Besides, the corn flour might have been too much because it kind of had a sticky layer on the chicken when it was served to us.
I’d suggest giving this a total miss.
Imagine a situation where the ARM COLLECTOR Ronda Rousey would need to walk around town with a bodyguard in tow. Stupid. Right? Absolutely!
Ditto, for the show paneer on this menu!
The paneer was so good in itself, that the show element of the dish – the fried dough strips, seemed really lame.
The paneer was super fresh and succulently fried. Tossed in a sauce that screamed GINGER, this dish was a beauty, up until the point when I glanced upon those unnecessarily added fried dough strips, wondering why oh why someone would do that.
The edible component of this dish was superb! My only advice to the folks at the Village, have more faith in the product, it will save you the added cost of frying dough and will let people whole heartedly enjoy your offering! Which by the way was brilliant.
MUTTON ROGAN JOSH
Reader forewarned, I might get overtly critical here.
So in case it hasn’t been noticed yet, your truly is a Kashmiri. And we have a rite of passage over rogan josh.
If you want to cry modification or innovation, do it. But no decent preparation of rogan josh has tomatoes in it. You might find stuff on the internet that says it’s cool to add tomatoes, but no it isn’t.
So yeah, The Village kind of lost me here.
Adding to the blasphemy, cashew nut paste.
OK, in a nutshell, I did not enjoy this in the least bit.
But if you’re not a Kashmiri, don’t understand the cuisine, and are looking for a dish that goes well with some rice, you could pick this and enjoy yourself.
Just when I was about to curse them to damnation for having served me a nightmarish rogan josh, came this beauty of a dish.
A mildly spiced assortment of veggies that complemented each other perfectly in terms of taste and texture both.
Paneer, mushroom, and capsicum put together hardly go wrong and I was glad they didn’t on this occasion either.
In this case, the cashew paste worked wonderfully and served as a subtle canvas for the more pronounced flavours to play their part.
PRAWNS IN BUTTER GARLIC SAUCE
Perhaps the only recipe that I have tried in multiple countries and multiple restaurants, and that hasn’t been messed up by anybody so far.
Like the Pavlov’s Dog experiment, I have a conditioned reflex to salivate, when I hear the words, prawn, butter, and garlic together in one sentence.
The prawns were done just about right. Not overdone & rubbery neither undercooked & slimy.
The butter garlic sauce, should I say, was done just the way it should have been done, except the addition of green chilli instead of paprika powder.
VANILLA ICE CREAM WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE
For the princely spread that was dished out to us, the dessert was a pauper of an ending.
I mean, does anybody include a vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce in a review write-up. Hardly!
The Village seems decently priced and you wouldn’t need to mortgage anything if you ate here often.
The mocktails priced at 150 a pop and the cocktails at 300-350 make for a good drinking place. The beer is decent on the ka-ching aspect too.
The kababs are a bang for the buck if you see the quantity and the pricing.
The mains, I found a bit on the higher side of affordable, but overall they fit into the scheme of pricing well.
I’d say for the mammoth size of the place it is run decently.
I for one like most of their food offerings although some were huge misses.
To kick back and down a few, I feel this is a great place. Albeit I won’t travel down from another side of town for the same.
Would I recommend it. Yes, for once at least!
My take in terms of ratings
AMBIANCE: 4 / 5
SERVICE: 3 / 5
FOOD: 4 / 5
PRICE: 4 / 5