Pita pockets and bajra tacos are just two of the glocal cuisine items on the menu at this Air Bar
Why is it called Air Bar, I wondered as I entered the restaurant interestingly done on the theme of World War II with bunker-style décor. I got my answer when I was escorted to the sprawling terrace with its aesthetic decor and great view of the neighbourhood. Grabbing the best seat, I was all set for my afternoon lunch.
Brainchild of restaurateur Manish Sharma, passionate about food and hospitality, every element speaks of his careful detailing, be it the ambience, food or drinks. Chef Vaibhav Bhargava and Chef Anas Qureshi have put on their thinking caps like never before with their intelligent spins to create the dishes that are unique and innovative and yes, full of drama.
Rightly named ‘Glocal’, the menu is the amalgamation of global cuisine with the local touch, ‘progressive yet nostalgic’.
Our feast started with Paneer Phyllo Taco – the dish representing touches from three different countries, Middle East, Mexico and India. Taco shell made of Phyllo Pastry filled with paneer tikka served with salsa and sour cream was the best starter one could think of. Then came Pao Bhaji Fondue, chef Vaibhav’s favourite, worth taking several shots of. Here he gives pao bhaji in a new avatar — a creamy cheesy smooth bhaji served with butter tossed pao cubes.
For the calorie conscious, there is Oh! So Healthy salad with kodo millet procured from Uttarakhand paired with fresh veggies and tossed in pickled ginger and red wine vinegar dressing. Chef Anas recommends Paneer Kandhari Roulade – his twist to a popular dish from the Kandhar region in Afghanistan. Cottage Cheese Roulade is a delectable dish stuffed with nuts, pomegranate and cheese and lightly spiced served with rich creamy white gravy and small paranthas.
My favourite of the day turned out to be T3 Pockets —Mediterranean turns desi here. The full form is Taka Tak Tikka Pockets inspired by the classic pita pockets. Here the twist is the pita replaced by a naan pocket which is filled with paneer tikka, hummus, lettuce and mint mayo, and it’s served with pickled vegetables.
For desi delights, non-vegetarians will swear by Keema Samosa, a refined version of warki samosa that comes from the lanes of Old Bhopal. Chefs give their touch by offering Mutton Keema stuffed in Phyllo and baked well. Lamb chops are the star of the menu. Chef Anas tells, “This is one of our signature dishes that is braised for eight hours with a special blend of Indian spices and served with masala yogurt onions.”
Well, that’s not all in the innovation story. There is Laal Maas Bajra Taco, where a classic dish of Rajasthan gets a new twist. Do not miss Parinda Kofta with Banjara Gravy inspired by the tribal cuisine of India served with warqi paratha. Foodies in love with Old Delhi classics need to try Purani Delhi Mutton Korma with Khamiri Roti. Keeping the authentic flavours intact, it is a very rustic mutton preparation. Though the roti was not of the same standard as Old Delhi one, but a great substitute any day.
The good news is that Molecule takes pride in serving drinks that are devoid of any preservatives and synthetic syrups. They adhere to ‘farm-to-glass’ approach, hence drinks are made with fresh fruits and homemade syrups from flowers, herbs and spices with a swig of alcohol, if needed.
Must try drinks are Konkantini — a gin with touch of South Indian flavor kokum juice and keora syrup balanced with lime juice and sugar syrup. Southern Tip is a vodka/gin cocktail with curry leaves, falsa syrup, orange liqueur and lime juice. Served in chilled fancy glass garnished with orange peel, curry leaves and cherry. Indo Western alliance cocktails are made with cumin spice syrup, sugarcane juice with a touch of chaat masala and roasted cumin powder. Don’t forget to chew on sugarcane sticks while sipping your drink.
Meal for 2: Rs 1,000 plus taxes
Address: Molecule, SCO-53 4th Floor Sector 29, Gurgaon