Prankster Offers Classic Indian Food: Taking You Down Memory Laneby Opinion Express July 27, 2018 0 comments
Shambhavi Suri says that the modern and contemporary Indian food at Prankster takes you down memory lane.
Looking back in time, everyone wants to relive their school or college lives. Some might just want to go back and sit on the wooden chairs and tables that had a million engravings (thanks to our compasses and dividers) or have the vegetable or chicken puffs that were served in the school canteen. Sitting at Prankster and looking around made me relive some of these memories. Located at Sector 29 in Gurugram, Prankster introduces itself as India’s first food and brewery campus. When you enter the restaurant, it presents a visual delight. There is a horse, a painting of Mona Lisa — both upside down. The latter is of the “selfie generation” with a phone in her hand as she pouts. Finally, there’s a tall statue of Johnnie Walker.
While walking up the flight of stairs, which takes you to the main restaurant, one notices that the décor is quirky and in sync with the millennials as there are exposed brick walls and paintings of white sneakers. The speciality of the décor is that it doesn’t matter if you’re in your 20s or in your 40s or 50s, it will make you nostalgic. It highlights almost everything that a university has, be it a library, chemistry lab, amphitheater, parking lot, classroom or canteen.
Prankster offers modern Indian cuisine put together by Chef Harangad Singh, who specialises in the same. The menu offers a variety of soups, salads, bar-nibbles, small plates, Egyptian pizzas, mains and desserts. There are also head-shaking cocktails like Rasna mojito, Paan pasand mojito, Purani Dilli collins and home-brewed beers that remind one of the wildest boozy concoctions paired with their childhood favourites.
As the dishes were brought to the table, one-by-one, I was transported to some of the sweetest memories of my childhood, school and college life. We start our journey with the Dahi bhalla ice cream. As bizarre as it sounds, it looks like a traditional dahi bhalla served in an ice cream bowl. But you’re pranked when you dig in deep and take a bite. The ice cream perfectly incorporates the flavour of a dahi bhalla drizzled with imli and green chilli chutney and topped with fried roomali roti. This dish promises to take you back to the scorching, hot days when you craved a chilled plate of chaat to beat the heat. This is one of the wildest but at the same time the best food innovations one could come across.
The next plates that are brought to the table promise to transport you to the time when one woke up to the smell of either sambhar-dosa or chole-kulche being cooked by our mothers on a Sunday morning. Out come the Sambhar cappuccino with dosai crisps where the sambhar is poured into a cup sitting on a saucer with a side of the crisps. Chef Harangad says, “I would want you to drink the sambhar the way you would drink your coffee.” Though I am a bit apprehensive about sambhar as a beverage, the first sip of the thick lentils topped with foam and masala is heaven on earth. The aroma of the spices along with the strong flavours of the sambhar vegetables make my senses dance out of sheer gastronomic joy.
Up next is a hand-shaped platter which holds what seems like golden-brown fried balls. Presenting the dish, Chef Harangad says, “It’s served on a hand-shaped platter because we like to assume that this is a mother’s hand”. This dish is the Chole kulche doughnut with gajar achar mousse and tari dip. It is essentially dry Pindi chole, tucked away in the fluffy kulcha doughnut ball, slathered with the dip and mousse and tastes nothing short of a rainbow bouquet of flavours on my palate.
Next on our journey to relive all our childhood favourites is the Kick-ass honey chilli potatoes with a side of Pepper slaw. Staying true to its name, the potatoes taste quite kick-ass. Pranking you once again, these aren’t just some ordinary potatoes fried in honey-chilli sauce but mashed potatoes combined with malai, cut out in the shape of potato fingers and then fried in a lovely honey-chilli sauce. Biting through the potato fingers, these melt into your mouth giving you the opportunity to experience a buttery deliciousness. The kick comes from the sweet-chilli coating and the pepper slaw that cuts perfectly through the fattiness of the dish.
The T.T. lamb chops sitting on a mini-tandoor satisfy my olfactory senses with their whiff of chariness mixed with the aroma of the spices. This dish will take you back to the cold winter evenings when the entire family came together for a barbeque night. These tender lamb chops fall off the bone at the first bite and leave a charry and smoky coat on your palate.
But that’s not the end of the meal. Resting on a platter shaped like tamarind is Imli glazed kung pao chicken topped with roasted cashews and coconut foam. Swapping the traditional Kung Pao glaze with a sweet and mildly sour imli chutney is a deadly combination that will satisfy all the receptors of your palate.
Next come the Chicken tikka fattirs. When you think of pizza, there are a variety of toppings that you think about but only two types of crusts to choose from, either thin or thick crust. Breaking that conception, Prankster’s pizzas have puff pastry as their crusts which have a golden-brown blush on the crust. Topped with the authentic flavour of chicken tikka, the combination blows your mind. This dish makes me hurtle back in the past when I ate puffs at my school canteen. This pizza leaves me nostalgic and asking for more.
The main courses by Chef Harangad too have a twist. So there is Dal makhni with sour cream mousse, Ghutwa palak with cumin vaddi, Butter chicken with white makhan mousse and Rampuri gosht. All these dishes have one thing in common — they have a wholesome, fresh taste with a certain creaminess that takes each dish to the next level. The Dal makhni and Butter chicken is finger-licking, given their fail-safe recipes. The creaminess is balanced perfectly with the strong and bold flavours. The authentic Ghutwa palak with cumin vaddi will not make you miss the one that our mothers made. For the ones who aren’t looking for anything spicy but a preparation that is high on flavours, the Rampuri gosht should be your choice.
To end our journey on a time machine named food on a sweet note, Chef Harangad brings to the table two desserts, Malai kebab and Textures of jalebi. The first incorporates the desserts that rule over the hearts of Delhiites for resting at the bottom is a rasmalai floating in a delicious milk syrup, topped with a foam of thick daulat ki chaat and finished with crumbled soan papdi. To my surprise, the dessert isn’t overly sweet, just enough for you to crave for more. On the other hand, Textures of jalebi plates three types of this dessert — pearls, chhena churros and crisps topped with rabri and a scoop of saffron ice cream. The earthy flavour of the saffron ice cream cuts through the sweetness of the dish and elevates it to one which can make people drool.
You may not be one for gimmicks and the presentation may stun you a bitbut once the flavours burst, you do not mind the elaborate thought process for simple comforts.
Writer: Shambhavi Suri
Courtesy: The Pioneer