The journey to Wonderland is not always through a whimsical secret garden or the pages of a fairy tale. Sometimes, the most enchanting and mystical places reveal themselves as luxurious cocktail lounges hidden in plain sight. Surprisingly, the path to this Wonderland does not lead downwards but rather ascends one floor, perched atop Smoke House Deli in Indiranagar. Here, you will discover The Drawing Room, a whimsical space reminiscent of Alice’s tea house, for that occasional weekend escape over drinks and stories.
Adorned in lush shades of jungle green, myrtle, and deep spring tones, with striking black and white flooring and expansive arched windows, the décor transports you to the world of Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll’s sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Throughout the space, the paintings, wall illustrations, and overall ambience capture the essence of Carroll’s fantastical tale. Your gaze is drawn to familiar imagery at every turn — the indelible presence of the White Rabbit, round-faced Tweedledum and Tweedledee and Alice herself.
Right from the ambience to the illustrated menu and the names of the cocktails, The Drawing Room is here to host an exclusive tea soiree. In this unorthodox Wonderland, the tea may be liberally imbued with ambrosial spirits, proffering an additional measure of jubilation and mirth, akin to the revelry found within the pages of Carroll’s book.
While gin-based cocktails take centrestage, the menu also extends to agave, scotch, rum, vodka, tequila, mezcal, vermouth, and Pisco. Enveloped in an ingredient-driven philosophy, the bar menu offers a comprehensive experience with a selection of signature and classic cocktails, featuring modern techniques such as clarified blends, fat-washed concoctions, vermouth-forward drinks and fruit-flavoured foam.
And while you are still soaking it all in, the sorcerer of spirits (mixologist) Kaushik Patra, makes a dramatic entrance, rolling in with a trolley for “The Gin Experience”. Here, you hold the reins to your own interpretation of the classic gin and tonic, selecting your preferred herbs between rosemary, thyme, and mint. You can then pick from spices such as cinnamon and star anise, complemented by fresh grapefruit slices and dehydrated orange and pineapple.
Their Tweedle Twins Mezcal is a blend of Creyente Mezcal, Campari, Italian Aperitif, and Martini Rosso, resulting in a cocktail that leans heavily on its smoky and bittersweet elements, with herbal notes from the vermouth. The dehydrated grapefruit garnish does bring a pleasant burst of citrus to the mix. Overall the drink is reliant on classic bitter flavours, so if that is not your cup of tea, you would best skip it.
Lory’s Spiced Rum & Chai offers a creamy profile with Kraken Caribbean Black Spiced Rum and a mix of spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. The milk-clarified Kashmiri kahwa green tea contributes a velvety texture, and the combination of rose petals, roasted almonds, and dehydrated pineapple really up the ante here.
Through the Looking Glass Lemonade offers a refreshing concoction by marrying Ballantine’s Finest Scotch with homemade grapefruit, basil, honey, ginger, and lemon soda. It is a complex mix of flavours, with citrus zest, herbal sweetness and subtle smokiness blending into one delicious drink.
The food menu places strong emphasis on gourmet small plates, offering a selection of bar bites, sharing platters, and flatbreads. One standout dish is the slow-cooked potato, featuring a blend of charcoal-smoked tomato, Byadgi chilli, and peanut chutney, complemented by a side of garlic aioli.
Additionally, the menu boasts other delectable treats such as the smoked chicken wings made Korean style with Gochujang and Mirin; and Sake-tossed edamame beans and succulent corn ribs, generously coated in panko crumbs and served with a zesty spiced mayo. The corn ribs left such an impression that I am already looking forward to ordering again on my next visit.
For those seeking a heartier meal, the main course options include hazelnut-crusted Australian lamb chops, grilled black cod, almond butter stuffed chicken breast, tenderloin steak, and the comforting orecchiette pasta. Our meal ended with some lovely desserts sourced from the Smoke House Deli restaurant downstairs, as The Drawing Room does not offer desserts on its menu..
My only concern during my visit was that the music appeared to be rather loud. It is worth considering that this might have been due to it being a launch day. Nevertheless, the high volume did make it somewhat challenging to engage in conversation.
This is the second Drawing Room by Smoke House Deli; the first is in Mumbai. The Impresario team plans to extend the concept to other outlets in the country soon.
As more Bengalureans seek casual outings for drinks and light bites, the importance of having a place that does not demand a full dining experience but instead provides an airy sanctuary for socialising with friends or enjoying a drink with a date becomes more evident. The Drawing Room aims to fulfill this role, albeit under the watchful eyes of Alice.