Less reminiscent of the scene from The Party, where we first heard the phrase “birdie num num”, and more a contemporary mix of black wrought iron, wood, shiny mirrors, geometric floor tiles and a smattering of bright azure on doors, cushions and other surfaces, Birdie Num Num is the new 85-seater cocktail bar at Global Foyer in Gurgaon, adjoining Delhi. While the ground floor is where the food is served, the upstairs is more cocktail lounge, open only in the evenings.
Birdie is run by Yuvna Damani Panwar, a Les Roches International School of Hotel Management postgraduate and a pastry-and-cuisine chef from Le Cordon Bleu, and her husband Sudanshu Panwar. They serve regional Indian food with a focus on the coastline.
The good stuff
The menu is large and enticing. As we were seated, we were served a bowl of mini rice papad topped with gunpowder and ghee. They disappeared before you could say num num.
The service is attentive and the bartender well-versed in a wide variety of exotic cocktail mixes. A good thing, given that it is more bar and less restaurant. The intriguingly named cocktails invited us to try them out: Both Two Faced (Rs399), a tequila-guava mix, and Liquid Bread (Rs399), a bourbon-based cocktail, were delicious and Instagram-worthy.
We started with an item reminiscent of a health food version of a chilli cheese toast: Ramu’s Dahi Toast (Rs379), with hung curd and green chillies spread thickly between white toast and cut into triangles. It was surprisingly refreshing and delicious. The Kasundi Scotch Eggs (Rs449), two eggs sliced in half, coated with mutton keema (mince) and plated in a little cane nest, was wonderfully crisp on the outside. One bite and I could taste the Bengali mustard. It came with a sharp kasundi aioli.
All the main dishes came plated with salad, chutney and a choice of rice or roti, and the Madras Egg Curry (Rs399) topped the list. We had it with a Malabar Paratha. We enjoyed the mild Assamese Bambooshoot Curry (Rs479), a chicken curry with chillies in an onion-bamboo-shoot gravy, served with rice. It was light and flavourful.
The Malwa Makkar Curry (Rs699), part of their weekend menu—a typical onion-based Malwani crab masala that Damani Panwar learnt in Deonar—was delicious and lightly spiced.
The small plates were disappointing. The Telangana Chilli Chicken (Rs399), seven pieces of tikka marinated in ground green chillies, vinegar and garlic, was dreary both in taste and presentation. The Cornmeal Iddiappam Nests (Rs429) were pretty in concept but uninspired in taste and texture: Only crunch, crunch, crunch. My lunch companion said she got tired of chewing.
The Kerala Ishtew with chicken (Rs479) was overpowered by the coconut milk, with few other flavours breaking through.
The dessert menu comprised just two cakes—a Rose Tea Cake and a Thums-Up Cake—so we steered clear of it.
A meal for four —four appetizers, four mains, one dessert, two cocktails—cost Rs4,015, all inclusive.
Birdie Num Num, 21, Ground floor, Global Foyer Mall, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon (4262888). Open from noon-11pm.