Drift at Gurgaon’s Epicenter is several notches up from Habitat Centre. Both are run by the same person, yet Drift has an evolved modern European menu featuring duck, sea bass and salmon, all of which are notable by their absence at IHC’s outlets. What remains the same is the cultured, arty crowd; before long, Drift will metamorphose into Gurgaon’s hang out place for them.
The best part about Drift is that although the food is definitely gourmet, the aura of the place is casual.
The best of the appetizers is the Classic Prawn Cocktail (Rs 350) which is around 200 grams of steamed prawns doused in thousand island dressing and perked up with a hint of cognac for an extra rich taste. The next best appetizer is the Organic Garden Greens with Avocado, Goat Cheese and Mango Balsamic (Rs 175) which manages the feat of being stylish yet filling. The Mushroom Cappuccino Spiked with Mint Oil is full of flavour, while being – thankfully – easy on the corn flour. The mint oil, by the way, is not added with a heavy hand; to be honest, I could not detect a trace of it in the soup.
In the main course, just about everything that I ordered over two visits was uniformly excellent – Drift has some real talent in the kitchen. Charmoula Crusted Sea Bass with Braised Leeks and Fennel Oil (Rs 450) had a distinctly Moroccan sensibility to it: charmoula is a marinating mix from that country; Pan Seared Salmon Steaks with Pinenut Parsley Salsa and Lime Bouillon (Rs 525) was a fairly straightforward dish in which the parsley and pinenuts were left whole for some reason, and not blended.
Citrus Infused Duck Breast on Potato Corn Galette (Rs 400) featured duck that was moist and tender – definitely one of the best dishes in this remarkable restaurant. The other dish that contained duck was Papperdelle with Duck Confit, Pine Nuts and Mushroom Cream: simply executed and well-conceived. Neither are chicken lovers left out – there are a couple of dishes for them too and one lamb dish, but they are not the stars of the show that they would be in a restaurant that wants to cater to the local palate.
Whatever else you do, don’t miss out on the superbly crafted desserts: Tart Tatin (Rs 175) takes liberties with the French classic and Asiette of Chocolate (Rs 225) is notable for its Jack Daniel Mousse.
Epicenter at Apparel House
Sector 44, Gurgaon
Tel: (94124) 271500
Open from 12 noon to 3 pm and 6.30 to 11 pm
All credit cards accepted; alcohol served
Average cost of a meal for two: Rs 1,200