By Ankit Sinha
New Delhi: As dusk engulfs the city’s urban landscapes, its denizens embark on a quest to explore new culinary avenues – or perhaps revisit familiar territories – to unwind, and to rejuvenate after a hard day at work. And if one were to find a tranquil environment decked with unconventional interiors, exquisite cuisines and spirits, the night becomes far more entrancing and fulfilling.
I had a similar experience upon visiting Hybrid – a relatively new three-in-one dining concept curated by serial restaurateur Priyank Sukhija, the man behind Boom Box Café, Flying Saucer and many more. After all, how often do you happen to enter an eatery in the capital and stumble upon a gigantic wall installation with a reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s seminal drawing “The Vitruvian Man”?
As an art enthusiast, I was awed and I already started feeling at home. I wanted to stay longer and admire the interiors before getting a taste of the delicacies. As I moved around the place, I was introduced to bigger installations ornamented with steampunk elements.
The Hybrid logo, designed with metallic wheels, a steampunk batman installation and an abstract of a dog with wheels and fan. For a minute, I wondered whether I was at a restaurant or an industrial art workshop. The artist, Vishal Gupta, explained his influences and the “freedom” he got from Sukhija to experiment with these designs.
“So basically, I got inspired by the name Hybrid itself. It means a product generated by the mix of two or more elements. Priyank gave me the freedom to play with the name and use steampunk elements,” Gupta told IANS.
After the overwhelming aesthetical experience, I quickly settled down to get a run-down of the restaurant’s cuisines with corporate chef Tarun, who elucidated on their food concept.
“The restaurant is called Hybrid because of our idea of intertwining ideas from street food and contemporary food and creating our own ‘hybrid’. We plan to deconstruct elements from different cuisines and juxtapose them to create an innovative dish,” Tarun Chanana said while recommending me their signature hybrid chicken wings dish.
Highlighting the chef’s ideologue, the dish, which was made of spicy BBQ and hot sauce, didn’t exactly taste like your average chicken wings. It had shades of the ‘hybrid’ element that the chef mentioned, but left something more to be desired.
After the meal, it was time to get a taste of the bar’s signature cocktails; and the bar manager Puran Singh recommended me the eloquently named nitro orangtini. Made of frozen vodka, with nitrogen, ice-cream and chunks of jello, the icy-cold cocktail retained the individual flavours of its core elements and presented a wholesome taste. Unexpectedly, it was more fulfilling than the meal.
As the eatery is still in its nascent stages, and with a large chunk of menu yet to be unveiled, Hybrid has immense potential in becoming the hub of art and food aficionados in the city. But with constant competition in the market, it remains to be seen whether they can cash in on their uniqueness.
For people of taste, the classy decors certainly serve as a comeback call, if nothing else.
Where: 54, Tolstoy Lane, Janpath
Cost for two: Rs.2,000 (including alcohol)
Timing: 12 noon-12 a.m.