A classroom setting, complete with chairs and benches, and a video screen playing a cricket match in place of the classic black board, looks like a dream come true for any student. With this and the poster of Einstein in the background, one can gorge on street food we once enjoyed during college, with quirky interpretations of the favourites. Welcome to Prankster, a restaurant tucked in the buzzing Sector 29 in Gurgaon.
Among the quirky food we mentioned, there is Nitro Cooked Dahi Bhalla with Roomali Sev. The chef makes an appearance every time it is ordered, to pour liquid nitrogen over the dahi bhalla flavoured icecream which is topped with crunchy sev and papdi. The fluffy version of Fattir, a flaky pizza from Morocco, is rendered a new presentation by being inspired by patties and topped with mixed meat, chicken tikka or garden fresh vegetables.
The 250-seater Prankster, spread over 10,000 sq feet is riddled with landmarks from schools and colleges. One can choose to dine at the chemistry lab complete with taps and marked with glass test tubes, or the hostel room with bunk beds and t-shirts and pants hanging from the ceiling, alongside posters of The Beatles and Pink Floyd plastered on the walls. The library is replete with books for the curious minds while a Chinese food truck rests in the corner and the parking lot area has seating arrangements on top of Bajaj scooters. There is also the lovers’ point and an amphitheatre and enjoy the luxuries of an informal setting. “Each one of us has a prankster inside us but somehow over the years with our routines in place, the mischief and fun we had in college, gets lost. We wanted to bring that fun quotient back through this setting,” says 38-year-old Inderjeet Singh Banga of Pirates of Grill fame, who has set shop with Pawan Soni for Prankster.
Our tastebuds are treated to the Dehydrated Sambhar Cappuccino, that arrives in a coffee mug with dosa papad on the sides, with a frothy cloud on top and the tangy flavour of sambhar below. Served on four Rubik’s Cubes, the Pao Bhaji Zinger is a nostalgic take on Mumbai’s classic vada pav, where the tikki is made of bhaji. There is also a dish called Sharmaji Inspired Hot Dog, a result of Brand Executive Chef Harangad Singh’s journey to Patiala to meet hot dog maker Sharmaji, who has set up his stall near Banga’s Our Lady of Fatima Convent School for years. Sharmaji is renowned in the area for dipping his hot dogs in gram flour before frying them and then filling the center with cottage cheese. There is also the smashed potato version of the Honey Chilli Potato, alongside drinks with flavours that include hajmola.
Pointing out the reason why he chose the campus premises as a setting, Banga says, “All the restaurants opening up every other month have the same old formula of jarring music, events and marketing gimmicks. People have no reason to return after a while. We wanted to create an eating place, which is meaningful not only in terms of food, but also experience.”