Why do restaurants in Delhi feel compelled to play music at an excruciatingly loud volume? Tourist, the latest addition to the ever-expanding culinary geography of Connaught Place, deafens you with dance music the moment you step in, even in the middle of the day. Once your ears have adjusted somewhat to the noise, you see that Tourist’s decor sticks closely to its name as it taps into wanderlust and foreign locales. There are bunk beds a la youth hostels, split-flap displays reminiscent of an airport departure lounge showing some dishes, a dozen clocks showing time from Tokyo to Toronto, and walls with photographs from travellers and world maps.
The food menu comes in the form of passport-like booklets.
The food is billed as “street food from across the seven continents”; an ambitious venture. We got four menus—Far East, South East Asia, the EU and the UK; and West Asia. In all, there are about 25 pages listing over 100 dishes ranging between Rs60 to Rs625. The bar menu is extensive as well. We tried some in-house specialties. The imaginatively named DPL-Desi Piakkad Log (cumin-infused vodka, coriander, lemon, topped up with ginger ale, Rs345) is refreshing and zingy, with just the right amount of heat from the spices. The slightest hint of ginger sings through the drink.
Don’t Smoke (vodka cooled with cucumber, elderflower, mint, cranberry juice and green tea, Rs375) promised a lot with its theatrical presentation—green tea smoke was trapped inside the inverted glass till it reached the table—but it was cloyingly sweet.
The real winner was a mocktail (yes!). Go Green (Kaffir lime, cucumber, rock salt, and an in-house sweet and sour topped up with lemonade, Rs225), is unputdownable.
Among the starters, Kandhari Bun Kabab (chicken and potato wrapped with a fried egg between toasted bun, Rs375) and Dijon Calamari Rings (crumb fried crispy grain mustard calamari, Rs395) were our favourites. The calamari was as crisp outside as it was fresh and soft inside. The burgers, pillowy, lathered with mint chutney, with the potato-chicken-egg centre, just enough cheese, assorted nuts and a hint of ginger was well put together.
The disappointment was Brown sugar chicken strips (caramelized chilly chicken strips with peanuts and dark rum, Rs395). The chicken was chewy and there was no taste of rum. The overall sweetness of the dish left a lot to be desired.
In the main dishes, everything was good with the biryani except its description. Dawat E Biryani (traditional Hyderabadi biryani, Rs525) was anything but Hyderabadi. The rice, though well cooked, could have been more flavoured and the dish could have done with some more fresh herbs. That aside, the meat was juicy and falling off the bone. The sweetness from the caramelized onion was delicious.
A meal for two with two cocktails, one mocktail, four appetizers and two main dishes cost us Rs3,802.
Tourist, 1 Scindia House, Janpath, New Delhi (011-4151551), opened for the public on 9 September. Open from 12 noon to 1am.