A fun bar with a desi twist
Atmospherics: While the small shops on Janpath have never gone out of style, the ponderous office buildings on the opposite side of the road had started wearing a jaded look in striking contrast. In the last year, this side of the road is becoming a restaurant hub. Bars, fast food, South Indian, cafes – the whole gamut is represented here, and thankfully so. Bunta Bar is the latest in a growing segment: the desi bar. It started with Desi Roots and Bottoms Up, both now defunct, and continued with Ek Bar, Dhaba by Claridges and the multiple locations of Social. Bunta Bar makes use of nostalgia in the décor: the codd-neck bottles are a part of chandeliers and wall dividers and the marbles themselves form a striking feature near the bar. You can invent your own drink or go with a selection from the menu and it will be made, bottled for you and served in under five minutes. The bar is accessed by its own lift. Some restaurants are for the gourmet; others are for the cognoscenti. This one is for everybody with a sense of fun. Youngsters, families with cocktail-swilling grannies – the clientele is as eclectic as the menu.
Table talk: The best part of the enormous eatery is the pan-Indian menu. The one stand-out dish is the chingri cutlet (Rs 295) for two generous pieces. Served with kashundi (Bengali version of prepared mustard) it would do a speciality restaurant proud. Sole tandoori tikka (Rs 445) was also supposedly made in the Bengali mustard plus green chilli style, but the pungent hit of mustard was notable by its absence, probably in deference to a non-Bengali audience. Do not miss the hari mirchi chicken taco (Rs 325) made of expertly spiced pulled chicken. The funkiest section of the menu is the flat bread (pijja) one. I was recommended the palak paneer (Rs 225) and found it excellent value for money: it is suitable for a table of six and doesn’t pretend to have any relationship with Naples.
Plus and minus: the menu makes no pretence of being original: many dishes are classics in other Delhi restaurants, like the naan with blue cheese. But the sheer exuberance of the partners who visit every table to recommend dishes is infectious.
Must try: jimmikand shami, bunta butter chicken, mishtaan bhandar sundae
Ratings: Food: 3.50; Service: 3.00; Décor: 3.50
2nd floor, 76 Janpath, Connaught Place
Tel: 98107 47934
Open from 12 noon to 12.30 am
Meal for two: Rs 1600