Sure it’s sort of murky and rundown, and sometimes when we’re unable to repress traumatic memories, it brings back images of a creepy subway flasher, but we still think Connaught Place is beautiful. All those white columns; the perfect circle of Lutyen’s imaginings; and the history behind the shuttered windows, even if they only hold something as prosaic as a chartered accountant’s office.
So naturally we were excited when we spotted the pretty, fortnight-old Ardor restaurant and lounge at CP, wondering if this could be a start of the neighbourhood’s resurrection. We made our hopeful way up the two storeys, walking past the dining area and up into the lounge where thumping music drew us in like Pied Piper. While the vibe said nightclub, the big screen broadcasting a sports channel seemed to say casual pub. Apparently there’s a live Sufi band every Wednesday, which we were sorry to have missed. Just as we were about to dismiss the lounge for being too loud, the smiling owner ushered us on to the balcony and we were charmed. It’s a proper Lutyen’s-Delhi-history balcony, wide and long, with white painted balustrades that we associate with this neighbourhood. The moon glowed gently and full with a cloud wisping over its surface, a scene lovely enough to discount the pink-lit, slightly phallic fountain.
To-Do Or Not To-Do Lists
If like us, you’re expecting an elaborate cocktail list, you’ll be disappointed to see a single laminated sheet. A round for our table included a mojito and Bloody Mary. The food menu, also strange, began with a mix of Indian and continental dishes and then slowly lost steam, its main course section ending rather abruptly with...sandwiches. In an attempt at creative ordering, we got kache kele and rajmah kebab and a batch of meatballs with barbeque sauce. The first, which looked like shammi kebab imposters and tasted unpleasantly bitter, were better on paper than on plate. The meatballs were nicer, but should have been cooked a little longer.
For mains we got the BLT and Bombay Masala sandwiches (other options included generic sounding pizza and pasta). Considering the sorry show put up by the appetisers, the BLT could have been a lot worse. It was a little soggy but featured decent bacon and fresh lettuce. The Bombay Masala, ordered in a fit of homesickness for Mumbai, was not the chutney-slathered street sandwich we were expecting. Instead, it came with paneer slices sitting in an odd red gravy that resembled ketchup. Unfortunately, the dessert couldn’t save our night on the balcony, as the prune and apple strudel tasted like a Mc Donald’s sweet re-heated in a microwave.
Have the Fries With their Shaky Feet
All is not terrible at Ardor, though. The fries here are perfect—crunchy and well-salted, and our Bloody Mary had an interesting salt and sugar rim. We suggest a trip for the balcony, where you keep one eye on your cocktail and the other looking out for Romeo, who could climb the railing at any minute.
Uh oh, there’s that creepy CP flasher memory again!
Getting there: N 55-56 & 88-89, Outer Circle, Connaught Place, call 45152266, 45152267, Rs 3,000 for a meal for two, with drinks.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.