It sprung up amongst the forgotten restaurants of Asiad Village
There’s a lot to be said about the Asiad Village… once upon a time it was Delhi’s claim to international fame with new architecture, new way of life, new sense of hygiene and discipline, and perhaps a new way of looking at sports. The Asiad Village springs from the Asiad Games of 1982. It was during these games that one of India’s most dynamic young police officers and a woman, Kiran Bedi, got the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s car towed as it was standing in a no parking zone. The days might have gone, but the murmurs of history cane be heard in the breeze and the green grass.
Despite the fact that the feet started moving from the world of the Asiad to the malls of Gurgaon, Vasant Kunj, Noida, Siri Fort auditorium has managed to live on with its many fests and stage programmes. Its capacity as huge as possible and security good. Next to this is the food complex, Asiad Village restaurant complex which houses Angeethi, Chopsticks. Amidst the green gardens, the green fountains, is The Pop Up. It’s not an accessory stall, it’s not a food stall, it’s there in physical form and it’s an experience.
A light, airy restaurant which will surprise you with the light, airy interior, easy on the eyes and cozy to be in. It makes you want to hang around and enjoy your khana with booze till you can’t walk out. The brainchild of Julia and Jatin Mallick, the chef couple behind the famous Tres, this is a place where everything works. There is no specific cuisine, a lot of mix and match of spices and veggies and dips and meats and the result is a delightful, appetizing ‘graffiti’.
There is a rich dose of spices and they are well blended, well used and fragrant. What you get in your mouth is a juicy, flavoury feel after every dish which kind of, if you let it hang for sometime, makes you long to try another dish. And then the same feeling is experienced again after that other dish. We were there for the Sunday Brunch which actually would have gone on till dinner if we had not made plans for the late evening.
I am not going to walk you through the huge 20 plus dishes tasting menu, but to give you an idea of the ‘graffiti dishes’– Pan tossed haldi chili Maharajah prawns with onions, garlic, kokum, and curry leaves; Maple, kasundi mustard, chili chicken strips dusted with rice flour; Doughnut burgers which you have to eat because then you won’t feel like eating the regular bun burger. I thought the prawns were a tweaked South Indian recipe but the myth was shattered the moment I popped one in my mouth. The dishes need to be experienced rather than described, but to say it one sentence–the chicken was juicy, tenderloin and pork melt in the mouth, fish was absolutely yummy, and downed it with glasses of Apple and Cinnamon Mojito; Carrot, Beetroot and Kiwi weight watchers soya milk delights and Red Sangria to die for. Sweet tooth became sweeter with gluten-free chocolate jar with ginger cream and caramelized pineapple, homemade brownies and more.
Between cream and green, that is cream and beige interiors, and lots of green lettuce and broccoli, Chef Jatin told us the taste and the flavours come from the fresh, good quality produce and spices. The fresher the produce, the better the looks and the tastes which is why green is so green in Europe. And India needs to pay a lot of attention to its agri products.
Though The Pop Up is around for two months more, Jatin says if this works then this experiment will stay on with new dishes, constant flavours added and subtracted and loads of exciting graffiti to be experienced. He does have plans of taking it to other cities too such as Bengaluru and Mumbai. How the chicken is juicy—he credits it to the Josper Oven from Spain. The kitchen is his first love, even though he now dons the hat of a restaurateur.
The beauty of the place is, that you can experience The Pop Up near the fountain, like a lounge, or a group at the bar, solo, or staid silent old style. It’s full of pop ups that take you by surprise and music that makes you rediscover the lost days of the Asiad.
Sunday brunch details:
Timings: 1200 hrs to 1600 hrs
Pricing: Rs 1,500 (Plus taxes with unlimited salad, starters, soup, mains,dessert, soft drinks, mocktails and shakes)
Rs 1,800 (Plus taxes with unlimited salad, starters, soup, mains, desserts, soft drinks, mocktails, shake, IMFL drinks (Teacher’s Hi Land, Bacardi Rum,Smirnoff Vodka, Frateeli Sangiovese, Frateeli Chenin Blanc and Sangria)
Rs 2,200 (Plus taxes with unlimited salad, starters, soup, mains, desserts, soft drinks, mocktails, shakes, Imported drinks (J/W Black Label, Grey Goose Vodka, Bacardi Rum, Bombay Saffire Gin, Gato Negro Chardonnay and Bonfil Domaine Merlot and all cocktails and Sangria)