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Good food, dull ambience

MIXED FARE Vegetable sumai   | Photo Credit: 25dmc Vegetable Sumai

Plumber is still very new in Malviya Nagar, and it sits a bit awkwardly amidst the crowd of decades old shops and eateries and familiarity. Finding it, though, is easy, the façade covered in bright, prominent plumbing motifs.

Once inside, I realise that even if I didn’t already know this, the very ambience of Plumber during afternoon hours would have told me that this is, quite clearly, a place catering almost exclusively to Delhi’s night life clientele. It’s empty, which I expected it to be, but the music is still loud, the lights still dimmed, and a kind of heavy, after-party air still lingers. I choose one of the plush sofa’s and then give myself a moment to take in the décor — very firmly rooted in its theme, with the walls and ceiling covered entirely with manhole covers (lino-cut wood, not the real thing), and intricate mixed media work representing pipes, nuts, bolt and other plumbing paraphernalia. As far as themes go, Plumber sticks to the one it has chosen for itself.

It is, for its co-owners, Rachit Gupta, Garima Malhotra, Pavneet Suri and Amit Mahana, a passion project. It tries to take the usual distaste with which one looks upon plumbing and drainage fixtures and turn the concept around, trying to establish a correlation between plumbing and some great dining.

As a concept, Plumber is interesting. In practice, its daytime ambience is almost dull, and already, a little faded. I can tell, though, that at night, the place probably comes alive, awash with bright lights, loud(er) music, and diners from in and around Malviya Nagar looking for a place close to home.

I can’t test this theory out, but I can taste the food, so I turn my attention to the menu and peruse the extensive list of Thai, Chinese and tandoori dishes Plumber offers. As far as the menu goes, there’s very little of the theme on show. Even so, many dishes on their list sound appetising, even though not very different from the usual Chinese and Thai fare. I get myself a mixed selection of some chicken satay, some chicken and mushroom pok choy dim sums, and a portion of babycorn, mushroom honey chilli. To wash all this down, there’s a tall glass of a very pretty mocktail called Plumber Special on the Sky. The drink mixes orange juice, mango juice, lemon, and a touch of vanilla syrup, creating a tad too sweet but otherwise very refreshing effect. It’s packed with mint leaves and wedges of oranges, which makes things very picturesque.

While Plumber’s mid-noon ambience has disappointed me, and also made me wonder why pubs won’t just let in some sunlight during the daytime, effectively and quite easily changing it from a night to morning place, the food itself is quite delicious. The dimsums are packed with flavours, and the casing is thin and well made. The platter of honey chilli vegetables impresses too, in the way that well made, Indian-Chinese heavy on soy and chilli impresses. It’s not the best I’ve had, but it’s certainly good enough to enjoy without complaints. The only place the food falters is with the chicken satay, which is not just spicy and slathered with what tastes a bit like uncooked spice pastes, but also looks, and almost tastes like some form of tandoor-cooked chicken. This isn’t a necessarily a bad thing, but it is certainly confusing.

Plumber is divided into three levels, and I go on a quick tour of all three. The first floor is the main bar and dining area, the second floor, its ceiling covered with very sweet little bunches of lightbulbs, is the floor usually reserved for private parties, and then there’s the roof — small, but with the open sky and the grassy floor, quite cosy. All in all, Plumber doesn’t immediately climb to the top of the list of rapidly opening new eateries, but it’s got its good bits, thrown together with the not so good ones.

Address: 10 & 11, Corner Market, Malviya Nagar, New Delhi

Timings: 11am- 11pm

Meal for two: Rs. 850 plus taxes

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2021 1:41:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Good-food-dull-ambience/article14587164.ece

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