It’s popular in its five star avatar. So the owners decided to try mass appeal and take it to the aam admi. The Dabha, a restaurant synonymous with the Claridge’s Hotel in Delhi, is now a standalone and two editions have opened in quick succession: One in DLF Place Saket and the other in Gurgaon’s most happening place, Cyber Hub.
The Gurgaon outlet officially opened on January 16 with a big party (unofficially it started on January 4). So what’s special about Dabha? The décor is kitschy, with lines like ‘Don’t worry, Eat Curry’ painted on the walls and brightly coloured chandeliers made from coloured drinking glasses. The bar corner is dedicated to being a theka, Dilli-ishtyle, complete with a caged look and pauva (quters) bottles instead of serving glasses. So when you order a drink, it will be served in a pauva. like the interesting Basanti tarrah (vodka with finely diced cucumber) I checked out.
They added a bit off fun to the launch party, with guests being offered a chance to get a Punjabi –style turban or a parandi for the ladies. And the star attraction was a cut out of a truck, in which one could pose and get a Poloroid for keeps. The restaurant plays Punjabi Bollywood numbers and the waiters and managers break into song and dance to pep up the mood every now and then. Looks less odd than it sounds. A video from youtube [courtesy: Amit Bajaj)
The Dabha has an open style kitchen, just like a real dabha, with brass patilas for the food. The food is of four kinds, kababs, main course (like balti mutton and butter chicken) and snacks (like bun omelette and vada pav) and desserts. At the party, the kababs were show cased and there was no dinner (which I found out much later). I gorged on chicken tikka, tandoori chicken, galuti kababas and Amritsari fish tikkas. The chef had done a splendid job, I must say! I did get my hands on some biryani, which was being served in katoris, as a sampler, and found that good too.
For desserts, there was a paan kulfi and an alcohol infused kheer. Both of which were somewhat OK.
If the idea is to draw the young techie crowd working at Cyber City, The Dabha will surely be a hit, with it quirky décor and Punjabi food.