Never make promises you can’t keep,” is what we tell ourselves as we make our way to Hauz Khas Village, having previously decided never to return. Change is constant, however, so we find ourselves once again weaving between potholes and PYTs, making our way to Roost, an “urban bistro” which has recently opened in the hipster haven-turned-frat house that used to be Delhi’s place to be a while back. While other restaurants seem to be going the chain root, Roost was another restaurant, located elsewhere in the same market. It has changed addresses, and has hatched with a new look, concept and menu.
With a nest egg in seven major cities from around the world, Roost has murals of Hong Kong’s high-rises giving way to those of graffiti from the back alleys of New York to others depicting a Mumbai local train with Dev Anand and Amitabh Bachchan peering out of its doorless compartment. The food menu takes cue from its surroundings, picking up seven distinct food trails from the representative cities which include Istanbul, Milan, Paris as well as the cities mentioned earlier, incorporating dishes from their respective locales in distinct sections. A separate starters selection offers a similar division of cuisines, while the cocktail list again offers seven ways to sin from around the world.
We begin with a Chicken Espetada (pictured) and as a tribute to the G20 summit, a Char Siu Bao and Crispy Mushrooms in Sambal Sauce. First to be foraged, the mushrooms come golden fried with a scattering of scallions and enrobed in a mantle of spicy sticky Sambal, lending each crunchy mouthful a silken finish. Chicken espetada, a poultry variant of a Portuguese kebab traditionally made with beef or pork, has large, juicy chunks of chicken basted over with garlic and spices skewered and served with a picante sauce which just begs to be mopped up. Our baos come next with both spicy and herbaceous dipping sauces. The buns themselves are steamy like a late night movie, and come stuffed with a sweet and spicy dessicated pork filling. The sweetness tends to get cloying after a while, something you should remedy with the seasonings.
For our mains we take a trip to Milan, where we dally with a Prosciutto and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast and then stroll on to Paris for a Chicken and Ham Vol Au Vent. The steak comes floating in a vermilion sea of red pepper remoulade, smoky from roasting, the meat tender and molten cheese oozing forthwith. Not to be left behind, the French pastry comes laden with chicken and bits of ham with a special appearance by wild mushrooms, which infuse the Vol au vent with an umami overload.
Dessert is an Orange Turkish Delight. Not anything like the Ottoman confectionery. The dessert comprises piping hot baklava, decadent with nuts and honey, served with ice cream and lashes of caramelised orange peel. It is as good as it sounds but extremely heavy.
Meal for Two: Rs 1500 (including taxes, excluding alcohol)
Address: 30 A, Hauz Khas Village