In the old days, bar snacks owed deep allegiance to oil and spice in equal measure. But, as watering holes started getting a serious snacks game, touches of whimsy and inventiveness began dotting their bar menus as well. Today, deeply fried nibbles have disappeared from one’s laundry list of bar eats. Instead, you can take your pick of small bites that doff their hats to global cuisines as well as assorted cheese that are both fresh and flavourful. Pub crawlers mostly pair their tipple with moreish bites that do not force them to break their diet rules and have a clean flavour profile to boot.
Playground at JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity, a lounge, food truck and speakeasy, all rolled into one, is the new hangout hotspot in town that is giving bar snacks a new spin. Here, you can pair a dish of artisanal Burrata (priced at Rs 1000) with a spicy Pineapple Margarita (a tequila-based cocktail with pineapple, habanero, pink peppercorns and salt). Similarly, Gambas Al Ajillo (priced at Rs 1200) made of prawns, garlic chips, white wine, lemon, parsley can be teamed with the Spice Market Old Fashioned cocktail (whisky rum blend, Indian spices and bitters). Another sophisticated platter, the outfit has on offer is the Atelier Cheese Board (Rs 1200) - a selection of 5 gourmet cheese, homemade relish, dried nuts, which enhances the red wine sipping experience.
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The Hong Kong Club, a fairly recent addition to the Oriental dining scene, has a new interpretation for drink accompaniments. A dish fashioned out of Marinated Green Asparagus And Mustard Oil (priced at Rs 520) is a light and flavourful nibble to go with your Tipple, while Crushed Cucumbers And Black Vinegar (priced at Rs 320) is a refreshing alternative to greasy bar food. In case, you want to savour creatively-constructed plates along with your favourite drink, there is Crunchy Endive, Pickled Vegetables, Peanut Mustard (priced at Rs 480) on the Hong Kong Club’s menu.
At Mr. Mamagoto, small bites take on a funky form as they are imaginatively designed to tickle your taste buds. Perfect, as drink pairings, the restaurant’s small plates section features everything from Water Chestnut Spring Rolls to Rock Shrimp Tempura. In addition, there is Fried Calamari served with a smart spin. Also, Tempura Fried Baby Calamari is served with Curry Leaf Dip and Chillies.
Monkey Bar has rolled out the red carpet when it comes to fun bar snacks. There is Laal Maas Phulkas (priced at Rs 350 plus taxes), Lamb Braised With Red Chilli and spices before being served with Mirch Achar, Ker Sangri as well as Onion And White Radish Slaw. If you want to up the ante, there is Butterfly Chicken (prices at Rs 295 plus taxes) to go with your poison of choice. It is a dish featuring sweet and spicy chunks of crisped chicken tossed with sesame, chilli, honey and peppers that are stuffed in signature butterfly shells.
Fatty Bao has decided to spice up the bar food scene in a big way. For its patrons, it has introduced the Brie Tempura (Rs 245, + taxes), that is served with plum sauce, pickled beetroot, toasted almonds and shichimi togarashi, a Japanese mixed chilli pepper. Sharing space on the menu are, Wonton Cups (priced at Rs 195 plus taxes) that are packed with stir-fried corn, water chestnut, chilli and scallion.
Susmita Saha is a Delhi-based Features Writer. She has worked as an Assistant Editor at India Today and The Telegraph and writes on arts and culture, films, travel, food, architecture, design and various other lifestyle subjects. She has seriously itchy feet and plans to tick the world off her bucket list, one burger at a time.
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