We all know how disciplined the life of an army man is, and when its that of a Colonel, it has to be meticulous. A colonel’s life is full of achievements and he showcases his trophies, badges, medals, arms, pics showing his priceless memories, his uniforms, cars n jeeps used by him etc.etc. at his home very proudly.
So there we were at 38 Barracks, a newly done fine dining establishment whose décor is inspired by the life and achievements of a real-life world war era colonel. Popularly known as Movida earlier in CP, the entire place has been re-designed as a home of a colonel whom Mr Ankur, the owner has met sometimes back. An excellent collection of different war artifacts from all over the world, a soldier’s metal helmet, his bags, artillery boxes, bullet boxes, army mugs and kettles, antique locks, golf sticks gives the place a military ambiance.
A very well decorated living room area with walls adorned with guns, rifles, old telephones, books and novels etc. give you a rustic yet inviting feel. The locker room with typical army metal boxes and lockers make you feel nostalgic. Another section depicting the balcony area of the colonel’s house is also very well done, with old styled colonial windows and a book self. A colonel often likes to enjoy his morning cup of coffee while enjoying the fresh air in his balcony and reading a book. An oil lamp dating back to the 2nd world war is the most valuable vintage artefact that the owners proudly display at the entrance. And the collection of vintage n rusty locks just made me gasp.
The ambiance was such that we never felt like visiting a restaurant. And also the hospitality shown by the owners, the Chefs and the staff had us floored. Executive chef Jatin and Michelin recommended Chef Gautam (curator of the menu here) were present at every stage with us explaining the delicious drinks and dishes.
Yes folks, besides having one of the best decors in Delhi, the place should really be proud of the delicacies that they serve. Every item seemed to have been prepared with utmost care and in complete disciplinary command of a colonel.
The mock tails served to us again showed the varied options that a colonel normally enjoys at his home or at the army canteen. All the drinks were again named and styled in true army style. We started with Sargent, a mix of Pineapple and lime juice with Khus syrup and soda. Just like its name, it did appear like a Sargent at the first glimpse. Super green in colour, it was an amazing mix.
Before I could finish taking pics of Sargent and taste it, another one named Battalion 49 was served on out tables. Giving a feeling of the romantic hearts that our rough and tough army men have, this was a water melon based drink with chillies, sprite and apple juice added in it. The heart shaped water melon slice and the pink colour reminded me of some of my old time romance stints with military friends a few decades back.
I wanted a normal common drink now, so we ordered a chocolate brownie milkshake and again we could notice the exquisite touch. The presentation was great and the brownies served separately, was a unique act. Kala khatta drink in a classic Banta bottle came next followed by the Military Camp.
Kala Khatta was a normal drink, but Military camp was extraordinaire. A mixture of fresh orange juice topped with Peach snapper was amazing. The fresh orange pulps added the perfect flavour to the drink.
It will not be a wise decision to select a winner here, as I am afraid the colonel might not like it. But if he had given me a chance to do so, Battalion 49 should certainly be a winner for me, it really won my heart with the refreshing chunks of watermelon and the heart shaped slice to top it up.
Enough of drinks, right Colonel! We were hungry now, and soon were served with the welcome dish, the Amuse Bouche. A bite-sized salad with tomato sphere on bocconcini slice with modena balsamico & basil pesto. It was a great tasty n nutty welcome dish with unique flavours of balsam and bocconcini. This was followed by a great serving of Caesar Salad.
Next was a modified version of our very own Paneer Tikkas – the Paneer Tikka Barrels. The barrels were superbly presented placed on Beet-root sauce. Instead of the usual mint chutney, here at 39 Barracks they came with butter milk. The paneer barrels were stuffed with lots of nuts and were marinated perfectly. You see, the chef never wants to see the colonel detest his food.
Next to come were super duper Dahi ke Kebabs, and Veg. Seekh Roll. Being a Marwari, I like the traditional dish from Marwar, Dahi ke kebabs served to me spiced and well done. And believe me, the colonel himself was very happy with this delicacy. This infact was the best kebab made of Dahi I have ever had outside Rajasthan.
Though Veg. Seekh Roll was a stunner to eyes and also very tasty to eat. Each ingredient had its own distinct fragrance and taste, but it was a bit dry for my enjoyment. When Chef Guatam came to know about this, he immediately went back to the kitchen and got the dish corrected and I really applaud his efforts for this. That’s the kind of attention and discipline which is required at a colonel’s home.
The main course started with Thai cuisine; Thai Yellow curry and Steamed Jasmine Rice. Thai yellow curry is normally thicker than the other types of Thai curry, and here too it was done to perfection. Full of seasonal veggies, baby corn, coconut milk, beans and green peas, the curry was scrumptious.
World War -2 had many a countries participating. Italy was one of them. So how do we miss an Italian dish at the Barracks. Mushroom Risotto with Asparagus was soon served on our tables. It looked fabulous, and was a delectable dish too, but as it got a little cold because of my shootings, it became a little sticky and that spoiled the taste a bit.
Though India did not participate on its own in the war, but as a colonial group we did engage. And I am sure any Indian colonel will certainly treat his guest with the traditional north Indian desi food. So we ordered a Vegetarian Maharaja Sampler.
The platter had Dal Barracks and Kadhai Paneer with a spicy, tangy, fragrant curry along with butter naan, laccha parantha, and tandoori rotis and Vegetable Biryani.
The Vegetable Biryani again had all our taste guns firing at full. It was done superbly with the right amount of spices and vegetables. This infact was a dish we finished to the last piece of rice in the plate. The Kadahi paneer was no less yummy, it was juicy and a lip-smacking dish, tangy and flavorful.
As I always say that the Desserts tasting session is my favourite and I wait for it right from the moment I enter a restaurant. On the menu too, I first of all look at the items in the Dessert section only. And it was no different here at Colonel’s home also.
I was so happy to see a fusion dessert here. The colonel likes world unity – so he has crafted a dessert including Indian and Italian ingredients. The Baked Rasgulla Pie with Vanilla ice cream was presented in quite an artistic way. But, well, it is my personal view here, I wasn’t really convinced. For me it was too sweet, the baby rasgulla was too sweet and it spoiled the full dessert. My colleague though liked it and finished up the entire serving.
Seeing my dissatisfied looks, Chef Gautam immediately ordered a plate of Brownie with ice cream for me. It again was a super presentation on a hot plate. Nuts sprinkled around the brownie and the hot n cool combination made it a perfect finish to a grandeur of lunch.
Wait, wait guys, that’s not the end. There were more surprises to follow. The food bill are presented to the clients at Barracks in vintage and rustic replicas of Army officer’s cars, Artillery boxes and brass kettles used by the infantries in military camps.
I am surprised folks, you still sitting at home and reading this extra long write-up. C’mon man, dress up like a soldier and rush to savour your meals at 38 Barracks or you will have the Colonel pronounce some kind of punishment for you.
So go on, enjoy the hospitality and great food at 38 Barracs.
Décor : 4.5/5 Hospitality : 4.5/5 Food : 5/5 Location : 5/5
Address: M block, Outer Circle, Connaught Place, New Delhi
All pictures are copyright property of PCP Exatraveller– photography by Pradeep Chamaria
Note: Review done on invitation from the establishment and views expressed are entirely ours and without any bias. No monetary favour was received.