I stepped in and found myself in a tube station stair that took me to an air raid shelter! Well, that was the first surprise I got that afternoon when I decided to decode a lively menu at the bar lounge decked with mysterious curios and machines.
Yes, ‘Decode Air Bar’ is that war room which is a speakeasy brew house with an underlying theme of a war room, located in the bustling Sector 29 market in Gurugram. Brainchild of Piyush Jain & Shamit Ajmani, the restaurant has an indoor seating on the first floor and a beautiful outdoor one on the terrace with live music. That’s where I settled to decode dishes from the fascinating, much talked about menu.
The food and drinks is as interesting as memorabilia all around. It is modern Indian food with signature twists by Chef and owner Piyush. ‘Idli my way’ came first and I couldn’t be more excited devouring baby sponge Idlis with rasam shot and gun powder gel. ‘Pulled jackfruit puff patties’ are amongst signature starters here. Jackfruit is well cooked and pepped up with secret spices, wrapped in fillo sheet and served with sour cream and Bloody Mary salsa. The Pav Bhaji cone was again an innovative twist, albeit in authentic flavor. It had a soft roll cone filled with bhaji topped with onions, tomatoes, and white butter.
‘Indian style tomato consommé’ was my soup of the day. Tomato shorba flavoured with coriander leaves and served with exotic vegetable mini dumplings.
In the mains, wild mushroom & water chestnuts Chettinad stole the show. It is a delicious preparation with three types of mushrooms cooked with chettinad masala and served with Anise Flavored crepes. For non-vegetarians, there is ‘charmoula marinated chicken skewers’—Moroccan spices marinated chicken served with pita bread and hummus.
Chef Piyush’s favourite is ‘Uthapam Waffle’ which is outstanding. Uthapam cooked in waffle style and served with Jama Masjid butter chicken, kuchumber salad, tomato garlic chutney, coconut chutney foam and garlic Lavasa.
The other showstoppers in non-veg category are: Thai style chicken tikka – Asian herbs marinated chicken cooked in tandoor served with peanut butter sauce; ‘Lava stone ka kebab’ — marinated boneless mutton tikka cooked in Lava stone. ‘Mutton Taka Tak Sloppy Joe Bao Slider’ — pulled boneless mutton cooked in India spices filled inside bao buns.
The dessert was no less than artwork on the plate — the platter beautifully presented like a garden, with a tree at one end which had a chocolate bark and orange-flavored candy floss as leaves. At the foot of the tree was some chocolate soil along with edible flowers.
The rest of the plate had coconut ice cream with jaggery sauce, chocolate ganache, paan chutney gel and mango micro-sponge. What a melange of flavors and textures, amalgamated so beautifully. Innovative amalgamation with perfect presentation, is what chef Piyush stands for and that came out pretty well during my memorable visit that afternoon.
Address: SCO 39, 1st Floor, Sector 29, Gurugram