When pranks found their way onto our table at this F&B campus.

Words and photographs: Ambica Gulati

My feet propped on pillows, the chikunguniya pains taking their toll, I was busy watching a movie on that hot September afternoon when Pawan Soni called. “Ambica, you have to come for the preopening table of my restaurant,” he said. My reaction, “You are joking, is it your status on FB again?” Pawan has been blogging on food at indianfoodfreak.com for almost nine years now, hosts the Big F awards and his status about turning restaurateur had been his prank few months back! So I thought this was another ‘wolf’ cry. And then he sent me a cab, so it definitely wasn’t a wolf cry. It was time to eat at college with the boys on the same table. I even asked Veta Sharma, who was handling the people, what the name of the restaurant was where I was heading! And I landed at Prankster, joint pains et al and slowly climbed up the stairs feeling like an old auntie. Now that the restaurant has been running for a lot many days, let me share what transpired on that exclusive evening.

Located on the first floor of Gurgaon’s Sector 29 market which is a food hub, Prankster is a take on making food as much fun as your college days, right from the upturned horse at the entrance. Nostalgic progressive is how Inderjeet Banga, co-owner and of Pirates of the Grill fame, describes the cuisine. And as this is a food and brewery campus, be prepared for some surprises by Chef Harangad Singh.

The 250-seat cover restaurant makes you want to  play the pranks. Walking around the college library tables, the laboratory tubes to make your own drinks, I could imagine everyone shooting their drinks in and out, some toppling over and some on the ground. What a sight and now that the restaurant is running full fledged, I am sure Pawan can regale me with more stories.

And at the back was the smoking zone, right behind it is the hostel. That is the one place where I would like to have my second meal, between bunkers and with room full of rowdy friends.

The balcony is where the goons can experience nirvana. They can sit on the scooters or the old jeep and delve into their gossip amidst morsels of the Chinese food which is being cooked in the van there.

For the bookworms, the classroom with black and white demarcations is the ideal place. But for those who like to watch what’s going on, it’s the amphitheatre that gives you the 360º view of the Prankster. Shake your legs and enjoy your drinks, though the DJ could get flustered if you eye him from there.

The cuisine

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With three hospitality experts coming together, an experienced restaurateut, a banker and food critic and a chef, one does expect the best. And the kitchens do not disappoint. What we tasted was some yum ‘nostalgic progressive’ food. The sambhar cappuccino with dosai crisp is a not-to-miss soup. With froth on the top, this brings the palate alive. The IPappad Air is what you need if you want to keep your calorie count in check. Lotus root fritters are another great way to begin your meal. Got the really hot Devil’s Chicken if you want the fireworks. Imly glazed chicken with kung pao is what adds some zing.

What you can’t miss

The Egyptian pizzas with flaky base. The Honey Hawaiian was a treat. Ghutwa palak with cumin wadi. The list could go on for the place offers 120 plus dishes.

What I am going back for
The house brew which I didn’t try with Sharmaji inspired hot dogs! Because I am sure the canteen pranks continue at this F&B campus.