Traverse back to the 19th Century with Gurugram’s newest speakeasy themed Distillery. Text By Bayar Jain; Photographs by Meghna Patwal
When you’re living in the hi-tech metropolitan city of Gurugram, it’s hard to imagine a space which dons a 19th century-style vibe. While most of the city boasts of its skyrocketing skyscrapers and futuristic underpasses, Sector 29’s newly opened Distillery breaks free from this norm. With its wooden bookshelves, soaring window panes, and an alluring almost three-storied display bar, the speakeasy theme radiating here is unmissable.
When I stepped out on the 4th floor, I felt 21st century modernities leaving me as well; as though the lift doubles as a time capsule here. A glance around the massive space was enough proof of the fact that ‘cramped’ is a word unknown to the people here. The high ceiling housing a chandelier only reinforced this feeling further. With a seating arrangement that made it seem like it was designed for secret gang meetings, I could feel my inner Gatsby jumping with glee. In a bid to silence him, I settled into a black couch — one of the many cosy couches, cushioned bar stools, and lounge sofas here. Despite being seated in the centre of the big hall, my views were fantastic. To my right lay their craft breweries’ distilleries, and to my left — grandiose ceiling high windows. However, my eyes were fixed on their display bar towering till the top. It’s only natural, then, that I ordered my tonic for the night — the American Dream.
Served with a display of on-table smoking gun by the staff, the American Dream is an in-house smoked whisky with dashes of Indian spices to enhance the flavour. Couple this with their deliciously crispy, cooked-to-perfection medu vada onion rings and you’ve got yourself the perfect bar setting.
For the ones with a sweet tooth, the pakora chaat with chutney foam is the way to go. When served, this dish emulates a traditional kadhi-pakora look. However, a bite into besan pakodas turns this notion on its head. Served in a mango curd with a tinge of tamarind reductions to cut through the sweet, this dish plays with your mind in the most delightful ways. Take sips of their fresh blueberry and basil vodka-based cocktail, Old Glory, for an added dose of sugary goodness.
If you’re anything like me, chances are you’d want to pair your drinks with cheese. Their four-cheese tortellini with spicy tomato chutney makes up for this missing element. While the delicately crafted pasta sheets melt in your mouth like a dream, the tomato chutney packs a tangy punch. Crispy cheese coral is another yummy dish to add to your food extravaganza. Crispy, noodle-like bits of deep fried goodness housing seasoned cheese juxtapose the soft of the tortellinis. An accompanying three pepper dip, and an avocado dip heightens the taste.
After having gorged on so much food, the flavours in my mouth started to intermingle. My stomach wished for it to end, while my soul yearned for more. The Veg California sushi platter helped me with this dilemma. The rice-based Japanese dish was light enough to make me feel energised and refreshed. Dipped in soy sauce, tinged with the pungency of a wasabi paste and crafted with pure love, the sushi was bite-sized rolls of pure happiness.
However, in Delhi, any meal is incomplete without an appearance of momos. Distillery takes the capital’s favourite street side food and gives them a classy twist. The (surprisingly) purple coloured Szechuan vegetable dim sums here is all about spice — a personal favourite flavour —while the pearls of pomegranate seed on top bring respite. It is their vegetable treasure dim sum, however, that surprised me. Bursts of flavour packed in the finely diced veggies within, intermingled with the refreshing twist of a peanut paste left me craving more.
Yet, dessert beckoned. A glittering plate of 999.9 Fine Gold Brick — a mango flavoured cheese cake in glazed with 24 carat gold — shone in front of me, waiting to be scooped. My spoon slid over the shiny exterior with ease, and the creamy mango flavour teased my taste buds.
But I wasn’t done. An intriguing dish named International Halwai screamed for my attention, and I’m glad it did! Served in a bowl of hot kadhai ka doodh (slow cooked hot milk) with a dollop of cold Nutella mousse in a thin kalakand (an Indian milk-based sweet dish) casing, the dish mixes hot and cold masterfully. What might sound absurd at first, metamorphosis into an amazing fusion, making it one of the best dishes of the night. The feeling of being stuffed after the night’s food dissolved in the milk, while the Nutella surprise spread a smile across my face. As I bid adieu to the three- storied restaurant (the third floor of which is an open deck with its own dedicated open bar), I realised one thing — with a speakeasy so classy, maybe joining a gang might not be such a bad idea after all!