Lounge review: Pluck, New Delhi
Food is nothing like airline food in this cheerful space at the Pullman at Aerocity
I am usually filled with foreboding when eating at hotels near airports, fearing the food will be closer to airline food than restaurant-worthy. The large, cheerful space that is Pluck at the Pullman at Aerocity, therefore, goes a long way in allaying my fears. One glass wall overlooks the garden and the 120-seater interiors are brightened by embroidered lamp shades, colourful table mats, sizeable mirrors between seating sections, and stunning wooden slabs as ceiling lamps. Service was prompt and though the contemporary European menu (with a few Indian dishes), seems small, it leaves one spoilt for choice. The chef came over and mentioned that they use local produce as far as possible; consequently, some items on the menu will change every five-six months. They are yet to get an alcohol licence.
The good stuff
All the food is art on a plate. I can’t remember the last time I took as many pictures for Instagram.
Service started without the usual bread basket: Instead, we got lettuce leaves in a small individual portion vase, with a citrus cream. The leaves and dressings change every day. This was followed by an amuse bouche and then, finally, an assorted bread basket with flavoured butter. I liked this: One can avoid stuffing one’s face with bread. We started with the Scallop Carpaccio with Truffle (Rs.800), thinly sliced scallops served with laser-thin cauliflower florets, a truffle oil and a truffle mascarpone sauce. It was delicate and the cauliflower provided a welcome crunch. The Grilled Spicy Miso (Rs.1,300) was a small slab of grilled miso-marinated salmon on a bed of crunchy asparagus, topped with maple and olive crisps. The salmon was perfectly grilled; the additional miso sauce, poured on the salmon, took it to another level of refinement. Next, we tried the Grilled Chicken (Rs.800), which came on a bed of braised caramelized cabbage. The chicken was cooked sous vide and then grilled. It was soft, succulent and full of flavour.
For dessert, we had a Hot Caramelized Pear (Rs.500), the fruit braised with spices and sugar and caramelized with toffee sauce perched on chocolate soil. Just the right hint of sweet in an elegant dessert. We also tried the Baked Gulab Jamun Crème Brûlée (Rs.500), thinly sliced gulab jamuns laid flat in a ramekin and topped with crème brûlée and baked. A fusion of Indian and Western, it was presented beautifully with edible flowers. The interesting juxtaposition of the sweet gulab jamuns with the mild and velvety creme was a full-on treat. The Dark Milk Chocolate Mousse (Rs.500) was made with 55% dark chocolate and was rich and stunning, topped with caramelized hazelnuts. We were so busy shooting the stunning dish for Instagram that we didn’t realize the restaurant had not billed us for the dessert till after we had left.
The De-constructed Mulligatawny Soup (Rs.600), while beautifully presented with coconut cream gel, wild black puffed rice and curry oil powder, was flat on taste. I would have preferred a shot of lemon or spice to perk it up. The Quinoa Broccoli Cakes (Rs.700) were like unimaginative aloo tikkis: broccoli mashed with potatoes, Cheddar, Parmesan and Brie and coated with crispy quinoa. Again, lacking in punch.
It’s a bit of a ghost town, given the location and the fact that not too many people know about it.
A meal for three (two appetizers, three mains, two non-alcoholic drinks, two espressos) cost us Rs.7,129. Dessert was on the house.
Pluck at The Pullman Hotel, Asset 2, Hospitality District, Aerocity, IGI Airport (011-46080808). Open from 6.30-10.30am (breakfast), noon-3pm (lunch) and 7-11.30pm (dinner).
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