Nestled in New Delhi’s hub of social interactions – Public Affair by Navneet Kalra is a restaurant in Khan Market that surprises you in more ways than you might imagine. It also has received many awards for the best bar in town. We had heard a lot about this hidden gem from our fellow food enthusiasts, so one fine day we decided to experience it ourselves.
The entry to Navneet Kalra’s restaurant is through a quaint dark door that one might miss if they aren’t looking for it. We, for one, intended to find this dark door and the culinary heaven that it leads to. Right from the moment we entered, Public Affair gave us an exciting mysterious vibe that’s in tandem with the underground theme.
Dim lights and peppy music greeted us as soon as we stepped up the sombre wooden stairs. While the adjusting to the lights took us a while, the Lutyens style charm of this prohibition era style speakeasy enchanted us right away. Since it was a Monday evening, we managed to secure a spot on the beautiful terrace, relishing the quaint setting.
The terrace not only offers a pretty view, but it also comes with a fireplace and a Roman wishing well, perfect for those who enjoy simpler things in life. However, for people who prefer a vintage buzz, the first floor offers a perfect setting with just the right amount of razzmatazz and graffiti. What’s more? There’s a private dining area adjacent to the wine cellar, for diners who like to keep the ‘public affair’ private.
The Food and Drinks
We have grown rather fond of all the other Navneet Kalra restaurants for one reason – the food and drinks never disappoint. While visiting Public Affair, we had a similar experience in mind. After all, Kalra had roped in Chef Augusto, a veteran in the New Delhi fine dining scene known for great panache.
Manning the bar is Tenzin Lhagoe, who has an affinity for punchy cocktails. The bar serves Prohibition Era drinks in glasses wrapped in paper and fastened with a tie. We ordered Income Tax, a gin-based concoction. What a great beauty it was!
As we glanced through the multi-cuisine menu, we found South Asian, Peruvian and Spanish influences to be most prominent.
To start off, we ordered the Quinoa A ’La Española, which was made of refreshingly healthy baby spinach, edamame corn kernels, goat cheese, cherry tomatoes and mango in olive oil dressing. To wash it down, we ordered the Sidecar, which instantly put us in the mood for jazz.
Next, we ordered the chef’s special preparation Tiradito A ‘La Augusto, a tangy dish made of yellow tail, cilantro, soy, micro greens and Japanese vinegar. For our vegetarian friends, we ordered Textures of Beetroot.
The carnivores in the group enjoyed the Deconstructed Chicken Tacos and the Bira Barbecued Chicken with Garlic Crostini – great dishes if you wish to nibble on something while catching up with your friends.
The Teppenyaki Grill section featured some of the most delectable dishes that we had ever enjoyed – especially the Salmon and Red Snapper with Asparagus which was served with fried rice.
It was now time for us to conclude our visit, so we finally ordered the desserts. We had the Deconstructed Lemon and Meringue Tart, which is a fun plate that came with dollops of meringue and lemon curd next to breadcrumbs and lime slices.
But the most decadent of them all was An Affair to Remember, which was nothing short of a party in the mouth. The freshly baked bread along with blue curacao caviar, vanilla ice cream, marshmallows and chocolate sauce create a delectable combo that is perfect for sharing.
We can’t wait for our next visit to this Navneet Kalra restaurant, since there is a lot on the menu that we haven’t explored yet. But one thing is for sure – one can’t help but partake in this Public Affair.