With an event calendar more tightly packed than a Louisiana steamer trunk, The Piano Man Jazz Club takes its business very seriously. A stage serves as the club’s focal point, gorgeously illuminated by a chandelier made up of 58 brass trumpets. The two-level dimly-lit space is brightened by the portraits of various jazz luminaries, the interior’s red bricks are etched with their names and those of other musicians. The nightly entertainment includes film screenings, stand-up, poetry readings and, of course, a whole lot of music. No sufi. Or Bollywood/ Honey Singh. Ever.
The food menu is quasi-American, of which we shall speak further on. The drinks menu is among the finest we have seen in the city; the cocktails divided into quarters such as the Prohibition Era, Louisiana mixers and signatures. Every concoction is accompanied by the story of its conception.
Since gin is in, we begin with the Monkey Gland, a muddling of gin, absinthe and orange juice, which sets our nerves jangling, just like the piano-led jazz song splashing out of the speakers. Our stomachs are lined with Fish Finger Hoagies, with gloriously-fresh fish — with batter as ephemeral as the snare in jazz — enmeshed in coleslaw and ensconced in crusty bread, accompanied by a chipotle mayonnaise we lose our hearts to. Incidentally, like the best hooch made in bathtubs during the Prohibition, everything here is made in-house, from the breads to the spreads. Bathtubs not included.
As Frank Sinatra belts out Chicago, we lose ourselves in the Corn Dog. Pork sausage, accoutred in corn batter and accompanied with a garlicky BBQ sauce, this dog is more beloved than Ol’ Yaller. To the palate, anyway. Meanwhile, there’s Gin Rickey, allegedly a favourite of F Scott Fitzgerald, to connect Chicago to New York State, through an embrocation of gin, lime juice and soda water.
Then there’s the Bacon Cheeseburger Bomb. Eschewing bread for crisp bacon rashers, it is an amalgamation of mince and cheese wrapped around the aforementioned porcine extravagance; a dish which truly encapsulates the concept of Dude vs Food. We win, no contest.
There is no dessert, yet. But a bakery will open on the premises soon.
Meal for two: Rs 2,500 (including taxes and alcohol)
Address: 7/22, Ground Floor, B-6, opposite Deer Park, Safdarjung Enclave Market