New Delhi, May 16 (IANS) After a long, tiring day at work, all we look forward is to unwind, have a chilled drink and maybe a nibble or two. Located next to the hustle and bustle of corporate Connaught Place is Informal, and as the name suggests, this is the place office-goers should visit to leave behind the hurdles of work.
A mid-priced alcohol menu and some delicious finger-food, this gastropub, which can seat up to 120 people, hits the right note in many ways.
Informal, from the House of Imperfecto that has outlets in Hauz Khas Village and Gurgaon, opened its doors last September.
Sprawled across two floors and a terrace, wood and plush leather dominate Informal's interiors.
But the tough look is softened by the use of white curtains and fairy lights.
Taking pride in charcoal-grilled items and wood-fired pizzas, the menu offers world cuisine ranging from a Spanish paella, a parma ham pizza, to a very 'desi' non-vegetarian kebab platter.
It has also introduced a Rs. 99 menu under which selected food and drinks, including beer, are served. This menu is generally aimed at the nearby office-goers coming in for a quick lunch.
To start off, we were served their signature cocktails. What an Idea! - a vodka based drink infused with red berry, thyme, grenadine and lime juice. Reminiscent of the classic cosmopolitan cocktail, but nevertheless yummy and very pretty in a deep-reddish pink. Girls, now you know what to order here!
The second cocktail was the Candy Garden, also a vodka-based drink mixed with pineapple juice and peach liqueur, and topped with red wine. Undoubtedly this was one of the most pretty drinks, with the mix of sunset orange, topped with a layer of pale red. However, do not go by the name, it is nothing like candy, but very potent yet refreshing.
We were served an array of dishes out of which some were definitely worth coming back for and the others were a bit of a letdown.
The dishes which stole the limelight were dahi ke sholey with roasted onion sauce, pepperoni and parma ham wood-fired pizzas, charcoal grilled chicken lollipops, fish fingers with chips and tartar sauce and the non-vegetarian shahi platter.
Dahi ke sholey was similar to croquettes but the yogurt filling made these deep fried goodies one of Informal's must-try dishes. It could be a little on a heavier side due to the generous amount of filling, but this paired with a glass of chilled golden beer on a hot summer evening is just the perfect way to beat the work blues. The charcoal-grilled chicken lollipos were melt in the mouth perfections. The chicken was soft, juicy and the charcoal flavour gave it a very rustic feel.
People often say that wood-fired thin crust pizza are the real deal and the ones here actually proves this fact. Both the pizzas were smeared with a sauce made out of 'pelati' or peeled tomatoes which added a little sweetness. So every crunchy bite was the perfect melange of sweet and savoury.
The fish fingers and the chips were fried to a golden perfection and the tartar sauce elevated the flavours. A great dish while waiting for a friend or something to just start a conversation with. The non-vegetarian shahi platter had tandoori chicken, malai tikka, chicken tikka and mutton seekh. A little too salty but the charred flavour was very tasty and the meat was again melt in the mouth category.
However, the few dishes that failed to make a mark were the ham croquetas, charcoal broiled chicken wings with barbeque sauce, paella and the chicken scallops.
The speciality of the ham croquetas is that it had parma ham in the filling which has been imported from Spain and is cured for 16 months but when you bite into this cheesy deep fried roll, there is absolutely no sign of the ham. On closer inspection, there were pieces of ham which were tinier than the nail on my pinky finger. Very disappointing. If it wasn't for the parma ham treasure hunt, the dish would be a tasty vegetarian starter.
Chicken wings are something that one does not always go wrong with, but in this case the chicken was chewy and it was not quoted well with a nice sticky barbeque sauce.
The paella could be mistaken for a sea food risotto. It had the same texture as that of the risotto, but flavours were not bad. The chicken scallops again has the charred taste, a little on the blander side. But the stir fried vegetables were a good accompaniment.
For the ones with a sweet tooth, there are no desserts in the main menu, but the Rs.99 menu has brownie with ice cream.
Overall, Informal has stood true to what it aims to achieve.
Where: 52, Tolstoy Lane, Janpath, New Delhi
Meal for two: Rs.2,000 (with alcohol)
Timings: 11.00 a.m.- 1.00 a.m.
(The writer's visit was at the invitation of Informal. Karishma Saurabh Kalita can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)