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Musical fusion

Guests at this restaurant are usually neither saints nor sinners, just hard-working corporate types looking for live gigs and fusion food

Gurugram’s Saints N Sinners is a ‘happening’ place in the real sense of the word, with karaoke on Wednesday, live bands (usually gigs by upcoming artists) from Thursday to Friday evenings and during Sunday brunch. Also, this dimly lit restaurant is booked once a month by groups of 15-16 diners, often Japanese or Koreans, for properly planned celebrations.

Just the other day, on March 30, the restaurant hosted the launch of a Skyeyes EP. This EP comes from the new avatar of India’s popular band Big Bang Blues, showcasing ‘an entirely new range of sounds’  mastered by John Davis and produced by Dan Swift, two legendary British sound-scapers who have worked with icons such as U2 and Led Zeppelin.

These days, thanks to the giant screen, groups of cricket fans tend to come by to watch the IPL action on the giant screen. You can also spot a lone executive comfortably sprawled on one of the sofas nursing a drink and passing the time on a Sunday evening, when there is only a trickle of guests.

Although originally positioned as a pub when it started 18 months ago, this place on the ground floor of Global Foyer Mall soon found its ‘grub’ stealing the limelight. This, says Chef Pramod Singh, could be because of the Continental twist given to traditional Indian dishes and the fancy plating. Expats from northern parts of Asia like the fact that the food is not too spicy. For example, there is bacon-wrapped chicken tikka which looks like nothing you would expect, as prunes nestle in the flattened pieces and a bland sauce replaces the usual curry.

Japanese guests, apparently, are particularly fond of butter chicken, in which cashewnut paste is here replaced by butter and cream. Incidentally, the same mall also has Kuuraku Sushi Bar and Miso, both Japanese restaurants.

Chef Pramod hails from Uttarakhand, which naturally makes him an advocate of organic vegetables, as fertiliser and pesticides never really made it to the terrace farms in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. He has worked in Dubai and Hong Kong, which is why his innovations often take off on the cuisine in those lands. “Kumpao chicken is fried in Hong Kong but here I marinate and grill it. I have also Indianised the sauce,” he says. He gives the same treatment to Chaapli kebab, which is deep fried  in Lahore, but in this chef’s domain put on the grill.

In keeping with modern taste, the chef at Saints N Sinners is totally opposed to the use of oil — to the extent that for his own meals, he usually goes for boiled vegetables with a tangy dressing. Although his Dal Makhni has absolutely no oil, it is heavily dosed with milk, cream and desi ghee. Asked if this dish is not shunned by sophisticated diners, he says with an air of satisfaction, “Hard-core fans of Punjabi food not only relish it but often get it packed to have at home. It is actually quite popular.”

For vegetarians, one of the best starters on the menu is garlic bread topped with mushroom paste, that includes a sprinkling of chopped pieces of mushroom so you know what you’re having. There is also a preparation of lotus stem chips in which the usual dressing of honey is replaced by orange juice. And you will find a coating of cornflakes on Paneer Tikka – the idea of a ‘twist’ is obviously diligently followed.

“Our fusion food has made the restaurant so popular that now we are looking for a larger place where we can put more tables and also have a more spacious kitchen,” says manager Deepak Bisht. Owner Vishal Anand, a power industry magnate from Bihar, is obviously onto a good thing, as he also has the franchise for the recently opened Farzi Cafe at Aerocity, Delhi.

Cost: ₹Rs 2,000 for two with alcohol; Sunday brunch Rs 799 (with one drink) and
Rs 1,399 (unlimited drinks).

Address: GF, Global Foyer Mall, Gurgaon