Review | Food

Nege & Ju: European by day, Asian by night

Cantonese Roast Duck pancake at Nege & Ju

Cantonese Roast Duck pancake at Nege & Ju   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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Nege & Ju is Delhi’s latest ‘it’ spot. Here’s why

Nege & Ju, has a unique restaurant concept: By day it’s a stylish European bistro and at night it transforms into a slick Asian food inspired den. They change not just the menu but everything between lunch and dinner, the art, the tables, the chairs, even the entrance. I am already calling this one the hottest restaurant openings of 2020.

At the helm of the kitchen is Ravi Kant Shukla, a chef who I am sure will be talked about a lot, but for now he is the most talkative chef in town! He and his team manage to switch gears between services like experienced race car drivers — it is no mean feat to cater to completely different cuisines and do so authentically from the same kitchen — but they pull it off with aplomb.

Nege & Ju’s bar is also a great revelation. Choose between cocktail stools and a lovely open air patio at the back, a delightful place to soak in the sun. Again, different cocktail lists at lunch (try the Paloma, a mezcal based drink) and dinner (the Risky Sour is delish; I wanted a spoon to eat it). The bartenders make an effort to recommend drinks to suit your palate.

The vibe: By day, it has that Williamsburg feel, upmarket, trendy. Off-white walls, European artwork, and lilting swing music. The indistinct hum of the chatter coasting under the music is just perfect for a place sure to soon be a haunt for ladies that lunch.

Chef Ravi Kant Shukla decorating a dish at Nege & Ju

Chef Ravi Kant Shukla decorating a dish at Nege & Ju   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

By night, the alter ego, Ju, takes over, and the transformation is astounding. Dark, sexy, velvety and mysterious, making you desirous to explore the food. The edgy DJ music and mood lighting too play a crucial role in enhancing the experience of the space.

Do try: By day, I would recommend the Allium Mousse Tart, which is a clever interpretation of various root vegetables foamed into a tart, served with the juiciest Peruvian white asparagus and crispy garlic.

Also a winner was the Truffle Bianco Pizza – simple to look at, but a mouthwatering combination of provolone, Parmesan, mozzarella and Scamorza, and truffle oil. The lobster from their Grills section was excellent — perfectly cooked, succulent, served in the shell. It packed a smoky punch.

At night, we started with the crunchy spicy okra, served with a yuzu tofu foam dip – a clever, well balanced dish. What blew us away was the Avocado and Cured Papaya Carpaccio, which was a dance of crunch and creaminess — unlikely bedfellows, but a match made in heaven.

Spicy Okra With Tofu Orange Foam at Nege & Ju

Spicy Okra With Tofu Orange Foam at Nege & Ju   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Cantonese Duck Pancakes were juicy and comforting. We enjoyed the Truffle Perigord Roll (veg) with black rice that had a pop of honey mustard, a modern sushi — not necessarily for the purists, but nevertheless delicious. Among the mains, the Nasu Aka Miso (diced miso aubergine) and Barley Chicken served with Thai Curry Sauce, stood out.

Skip: At lunch, they serve avocado three ways, and I chose the version with crab. Whilst the avocado serving it self was generous and good, a restaurant of this calibre shouldn’t be serving shredded crab sticks with the dish. Poached fresh crab may have elevated it.

At dinner, I’d skip the Yellowtail Carpaccio, which was flaccid and the wrong temperature. The desserts failed to impress — a lot of effort must have gone into them, but none of them would I order again.

Go with: A first date at lunch, someone you want to impress at dinner; otherwise with your posse.

Spacebar: 75 covers over 2,500sq feet

How much: ₹4,000 for two sans cocktails.

Getting there: Nege & Ju, 9 and 10 Lodhi Market, next to Lodhi Sports; do not follow Google Maps.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 7:43:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/nege-ju-european-by-day-asian-by-night/article30512316.ece

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