My grandmother meant Thakumar Jhuli bedtime stories, a partner in crime, and a masterchef, who almost always stashed away an extra cutlet/malpua for me. So, when Sly Granny tiptoed into Delhi, after making the right noises in Bengaluru’s Indiranagar, I had to explore this supposed den of a mischievous Betty White-like granny that serves Asian, American and European food. Azure Hospitality, the makers of Mamagoto and Dhaba by Claridges, bets big on creating experiences, and are curating stories through their concept Sly Storys – Sly Granny, its first offering. The Bengaluru house (with a living room, terrace, corridors, secret staircases, tipple stash, and odd furniture) is rejigged into a “community house” that is Victorian, yet modern. But only a glimpse of that is available in Delhi, and, just 40 per cent of the original menu is available. It’s spread over two floors (the bar is upstairs), with grey-blue walls, vintage photographs, kitschy pop-art posters of muscle-flexing Arnold Schwarzenegger, pineapple book-holders and curios.
Amid groups of women, their loud chatter drowning the hip-hop music, I picked the pineapple-coconut mocktail, Arnie’s Pineapples (they will hopefully start selling their Prohibition Era cocktails in a week). The drink tasted powdery milky, lacking the punch of rum.
For starters, the Barley Salad jumped out at me, shrieking, “I’m healthy, take me!”. It turned out to be a classic case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. The flavours were clashing. The curry leaves-mustard seeds tempering left a sabudana-khichdi-meets-poha taste in the mouth. I struck gold with the Liver Pâté, off the tapas lot. The buttery brandy-marinated Pâté, with tomato chutney and melba toast, waltzed in my mouth. The Grilled Calcutta Bekti was given a pass for the chef-recommended Black Pepper Salmon. The top was crusty and the insides were a nice flaky pink; the peppery zing is not for the faint-hearted. The udon noodles, however, gets supplanted by stir-fried cubed Provençal potatoes with thyme. I wonder why?
If I were to pay heed to Julia Child, “the only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook”, then I had been eating diet food until now; the portions have been more fine-dining than casual. There it arrives, on a bed of mustardy potato mash, and garden-fresh vegetables. The microgreens, grown in-house, are fresh off the windowsill. The smokiness of the charred broccoli dunked in lamb jus, made using port and red wine, stayed with me much after I had left the building. But, the centrepiece, medium rare, was a tough fight. The buff was chewy and the absent pink juiciness inside howled at me.
The saccharine blast of the rich Brie En Croute, seated in a pond of honey and pecan sauce and the heady whiff of ghee, tried hard to balance the salt overdose of the un-melted Brie, cocooned in a perfectly crunchy, lip-smacking puff pastry.
Address: Middle Lane, No 4, Khan Market, Delhi;
Meal for two: Rs 2,500-3,500 (without alcohol)