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Swanky warehouse

Launched in February this year, this restaurant at 32nd Milestone offers five seating options and a menu to satisfy every palate

The Loft by the Clock Tower is supposed to be modelled on ‘an old-fashioned meat-packing warehouse in Manhattan’. For millennials, the words ‘loft’, ‘clock tower’ and ‘meat-packing warehouse’ would probably not conjure up any image, and if they looked up the definitions of these words, a confusing picture would emerge. For warehouses tend to be in basements and lofts are strung up above. Perhaps the paradox can be explained by the fact that the restaurant is spread over three floors over 12,000 feet, and can thus imitates both types of architectural structures.

Be assured, there is nothing rustic about the décor except a few ‘packing cases’ discreetly placed between sofas. The restaurant is modern and swanky, having been launched only on February 7 this year. And the wall-to-wall bar going up two storeys is impressive not only in looks but in the variety it offers, like Pain Killer (gold and white rum, pineapple and orange juice) and Moscow Mule (vodka, lime and ginger beer). You could also go international with an Old Cuban (gold rum, angustra bitters, champagne and lemon) or an Irish Coffee (Irish whisky, espresso and fresh cream).

Most of these cocktails are priced at Rs 595.

The place abounds in metaphors, but you have to be curious enough to ask the manager, Nitin Prasad, to understand some of them. For instead, instead of lights or chandeliers, the ceiling is decorated with a multitude of hats strung up on the ceiling. This is meant to be a reminder of the ritual of hats being thrown up in the air (like at graduation ceremonies) as an expression of happiness. Of course, at The Loft the hats defy gravity, otherwise they would rain down on your parade.

There are a number of seating choices, where again it is clear that a lot of imagination went into the planning.  You can opt for the Library Bar, Old Boy’s Corner, The Mad Hatter Dance Floor, The Green Terrace and the Portico, each having its own design, conveying a different mood. The multi-cuisine menu ensures that no diner’s preferences go unmet, as these days even families can’t be unanimous on what to eat, let alone a group of friends.

Classic dishes have been reinvented by combining different flavours, textures and cuisines. Thus you can have for starters Amritsari Baked Bread (it looks like pita bread) on a bed of hummus made of Pindi channa.  This costs just Rs 295, as does Wasabi mushroom on watermelon slices. Priced a bit higher at Rs 345 is Guacomale on toast.

We tried the Chicken Satay with Solapur Sing Dana Chutney, an excellent preparation recommended by Chef Siddharth Vasudev, who comes to this new venture with 16 years experience at places like Grant Hyatt and Radisson. We could sense his masterly touch in Moroccan chicken breast, grilled to perfection with nary a hint of oil. There is a Lebanese platter, both veg and non-veg. And fusion concepts like Malabar Quesadilla, the latter being a Mexican dish of tortilla filled with cheese.  For those who just want their meat the old-fashioned way, there’s Mutton Taka Tak and Keema Pao.

For dessert, if you opt for the Magnum, (brownie with Nutella, salted caramel and cookie crumble) which is served with a chocobar stuck upside down, something you can easily try at home for dramatic effect (Rs 275). Your companion can try Frozen Coffee with White Chocolate Fudge at Rs 245. In keeping with the trend of fancy plating for which every chef worth his salt wracks his imagination, each dish looks delectable, like something out of Masterchef Australia. This is a great incentive to dining out, as compared to the quick meals slapped together at home without much thought for aesthetics or colour combinations.

As we left, still intrigued about the name of the restaurant, we looked back again to see if there indeed is a clock tower (like the Ghanta Ghars set up by British colonials in every Indian town) nearby. There is no sign of one. Perhaps, the name just sounded good, and was inspired by Loft by the Lighthouse, a beachfront hotel in Coos Bay, Oregon, United States. But that property actually offers a view of an old, authentic lighthouse from its windows.

Address: 32nd Milestone, Sector 15 Part 2, Gurugram