After winning hearts with its first outlet in Rajouri Garden, Duty Free has set foot in Gurugram's sector 29, Leisure Valley. A cafe, bar, and a romantic deck space all rolled into one, 'Duty Free Bar', one of the newest entrants in the ever-bourgeoning food scene of Gurgaon, is helmed by some of the most seasoned bigwigs of the industry. Duty Free is the brainchild of noted restaurateur Mr. Varun Puri, who also happens to be the founder of Imly and Too Indian. The four-storied restro-bar welcomes you with its sleek metal works and stylish wooden furnishings. Artworks in fluorescent pink and gold lend a perfect contrast to an overall sombre set up. Our personal favourites were the massive brewery tanks on the sides painted in rich hues of gold. The checkered marble floor, live bar and chandeliers seems like an earnest attempt to recreate the vintage casino vibe. This space also hosts some amazing Live DJ gigs every day of the week. And that's not all; every level of Duty Free is a surprise waiting to be unravelled. If you are looking to spend a romantic evening with your significant other, do check out their open air Vayu Bar on the second floor. Warm lightings, private cabanas designed in beautiful tones of white, fragrant candles, cutesy pebbles and live music, Vayu Bar has got the perfect mix of mush and fun to make your evening memorable.
Talking about the food, Duty Free is making all the right noises for its pocket-friendly food and a delectably vast menu. Featuring a mix of comfort food and gourmet delicacies, Duty Free's attention to detail and innovative flavours is sure to strike a chord with many. In the new menu, Mr. Puri has also added some of his best-selling dishes from his other ventures such as nalli nihari from Too Indian and palak patta chaat and Quick Gun mushroom 65 from Imly. The menu also includes a healthy section for all people looking for a guilt-free yet an indulgent experience.
We started off with some jhalmuri popcorns, a crunchy and spicy-fest, which is best only for those who share a penchant for all things pungent and spicy. Next on our plate was palak patta chaat, spinach leaves fried in batter of besan, topped with a dash of yogurt, mint and strawberry dressings, pomegranate seeds and marigold flowers- a perfect balance of flavours, gorgeous presentation and generous portion size.
The fitness enthusiasts may also like to try their Asian salad and noodles, the salad is made with a mix of fresh lettuce leaves, apples, caramelised walnuts and almonds and comes in a sweet and citrusy orange dressing. Dimsum lovers have to try their sumptuous range of dimsums. We are definitely heading back for the classic crystal chicken dumplings, the spicy chicken Kolkata dumplings and crispy prawn siu mai that comes topped with handmade vegetarian orange caviars. Vegetarians can enjoy the veggie dumplings filled with a range of veggies and eclectic sauces. We also tried their amazing wood-fired pizzas; farmhouse, pesto chicken, pesto mushroom, there are many options to explore.
One of the most popular dishes on the menu is 'My Boss Favourite Dish', and the hearty broth manages to live up to the hype. It is essentially a citrus-based fish soup cooked with a mix of refreshing herbs. Fish lovers should not miss out on this soothing delight.
The mains feature some of the most loved desi marvels like dal makhani, rogan josh, jodhpuri paratha, Andhra fish curry and chicken Hyderabadi.Dal makhani could have been less spicy; it tends to overpower the creamy and comforting taste that is signature to Delhi's dal makhani.
The Bar menu has an exclusive 'Pahua menu', which is a quirky and eccentric take on the characters from B-Town. This menu includes pahua drinks like Majnu Bhai, ChuCha, Baburao Ganpatrao Apte and many more. We got to try Pappu Pager, which was a mix of vodka, mint and had a strong essence of coconut. Whisky lovers should definitely try Billionare, a stirring cocktail made with bourbon whiskey, passion fruit and mint essence.
Where: Duty Free | Vayu Bar, SCO 32, Sector 29, Gurgaon
Cost for two: INR 900
About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.