Thirty Nine Restaurant and Bar is a quiet recreation of the Anglo-Indian experience
Discovering Thirty Nine Restaurant and Bar in a walk through a rain soaked Hauz Khas Village is a splendid experience for me and my partner, as what we find is far from the maddening noise and pub-hopping crowd. As a vintage Anglo-Indian restaurant you would want to call home, it is an unlikely offering from brothers Mohit and Dushyant Kakkar, both in their early 30s, who come from a legacy of boisterous restaurants around Delhi.
The restaurant takes its cue from the true story of a British officer — Alistair Kensington — who disappeared mysteriously from his home in Hauz Khas Village in the year 1939 and his Anglicised take on Indian food and drinks. Thirty Nine is a replica of Kensington’s home, giving its diners the warmth of a home back in the days of the Raj.
As we enter the restaurant, a petite elevator is of much help in discovering the three floors that finally open up to a fine-looking patio on top. The walls are wooden, adorned with old photographs, autographed fish cover cricket bats and maps and the curtains are essentially plain in a subtle beige-golden colour, evidently making the place look like a gentlemen’s club with a no-frills decor. The furniture is both colonial and rustic; carved wooden tables teamed with dark-brown leather sofas make the place perfectly suited to sit and spend quality time in great company, while enjoying jazz playing in the background. To complete the look, a huge library of books shadows above the candle-lit inglenook where you can spend hours sifting through heavy leather-bound volumes.
I make myself comfortable on a large leather couch and order the typical Mulligatawny soup which ends up as my favourite due to its perfect blend of lentils with coconut milk while my partner savours the lamb scotch broth. For starters, vegetarians can choose from dishes like the hara bhara burger, an interesting combination of spinach and chickpea patty, golden-fried onion rings or the vegetarian platter and non-vegetarians can choose from rosemary lamb chops, pork ribs or the interesting sea-food platter which serves the kalamari squid, a river sole, crab cakes and prawn crackers served with an interesting dip.
For main course, we order bite-sized portions of the prawn mango curry, butter chicken which is cooked in a tomato gravy and surprisingly isn’t the usual sweet, a portion of curry vegetables with rice which gives out a strong hint of coconut milk and some spinach and corn pie.
The bar menu is equally exciting and goes back to some old classics and all-time favourites such as Tom Collins and Bramble. East India Co. Masala Sour, the cocktail with Indian masala tea infusion, will appeal to the desi palate.
The perfect end to a short affair with the Anglo-Indian experience comes with the freshly baked blueberry cheesecake.