The Irish House has an all-new, all-good-inside menu on offer. Sumeet Keswani went back to his old haunt for a taste. By Sumeet Keswani
I was once a regular at The Irish House, Nehru Place. Amid its woody interiors, I’ve chugged beers with friends and toasted to new beginnings with my partner, wearing a foolishly optimistic grin in my Irish whiskey-induced stupor. But ever since I moved houses within the capital and found new places for hangouts, I’d forgotten its charms. So, on a particularly nippy winter afternoon, I made my way back to this old haunt to find out, ‘What’s the craic?’
The Irish House has always tried too hard for an ambience. While its barrels and woody accents work, it could do without the punch-lines scribbled across its industrial distressed walls. It’s a worn-out cliché to enter a pub and be greeted by dad wisdom like ‘Beer is the answer, who cares what the question is?’. On the other hand, its Irish motifs and green shades have always been thematic essentials. But it wasn’t nostalgia for the walls that had brought me back, it was a brand new menu. One of the reasons I frequented The Irish House was that my beer never had to look forlorn on the table. There was always good food, even for a vegetarian. So when the ‘All Good Inside’ menu launched recently, with a focus on healthy eating, I was intrigued.
While the menu retains some of the blockbuster hits of the previous season, there are additions that are innovative and slightly healthier. You can still order a Bouquet of (flavoured) Fries, but there’s also Cajun-dusted Sweet Potato Fries in the ‘Hearty Munchies’ mix now. My favourite, though, was the Cheese Burst Bulbs, with lava-like cheese sauce flowing out of the hollow centre of baby shallots.
From the ‘Community Eats’ section, I savoured the Mediterranean Market, which came with two varieties of hummus, muhammara, labneh, tabouleh, grilled pita, baked lavash, crispy falafel, olives, and pickled veggies. For me, the Backyard BBQ section of the menu was the real winner, though. The Skewed Jamaican Cottage Cheese was unlike any other paneer dish I’ve had. In the ‘Pub Mains’, the tortillas that made up Cheesy Mex Quest were forgettable but the Mexican Outlaw shone brightly. Mexican rice in a puddle of creamy mushroom sauce, with grilled cottage cheese steak as the hero, and cheddar-stuffed chilli as the sidekick? Give it that gilded trophy, I say!
No matter how good or varied the food is, you don’t come to The Irish House simply to eat. Their Dublin Wisdom cocktail—Jameson Irish whiskey, with homemade coffee bitters and cinnamon syrup, garnished with a cinnamon stick and coffee biters—sounded awful in theory but actually worked. The hints of cinnamon and coffee offered a breeze of fresh air through the persistent mist of Delhi. My lady partner prefers gin, so she went with the much safer Citric Gin – gin, orange juice, cinnamon, tonic – and it transported her to a summer beach amid a landlocked winter.
While I’d have liked to stick with Irish whiskey as the hero, the bartender insisted I try the Tropical Sundowner from their ‘Top Shelf Signatures’. I’ve never been a tequila fan, but the spirit worked wonders with elderflower and a sweet and sour mix; strawberry bubbles were a cute aesthetic addition for that Instagram high. Since it was sickly sweet, I’d recommend it with dessert. Unless you want to go with the good ol’ Irish hot chocolate (Irish Bonfire)—whiskey, hot chocolate, and cream—or, what I call a warm hug in a glass. Speaking of desserts, you must try their Vintage Tiramisu, which has the most deliciously soft mascarpone cream enveloping it.
With St Patrick’s Day around the corner, you couldn’t go wrong with this Irish pub in the heart of Delhi. Sláinte!