Smoke in the Lounge!
Even though Delhi has another couple of hundred miles to go before it can even start to have the desired quality of service in the hospitality industry, as compared to Bombay, one thing that has shown definite improvement in the recent past is the quality of the new joints that have come up. Over the weekend I managed to pop by two of the newer introductions to the city, Visge Lounge at South Ex II and Smoke Grill at GK II.
Both were done up pretty well, a refreshing change from the tacky interiors we’ve so gotten used to here and Smoke Grill was particularly impressive on that count, though, at the ground level it could have really done with dimmer lighting on the side panels and seating sans any backrest can get to be a bit of a problem for us lazy, unfit slobs. Visge had the typical lounge decor, though it was a bit low on space and seating capacity. They’d have trouble hosting anything more than 60 people at the same time.
One very irritating thing we saw Visge was the practice of having a cover charge that was not redeemable. Moreover, once we got in, we were asked to get coupons before we could order anything. On a first night in a very competitive locality, one thing you don’t want to do is to piss your first customers off with such idiocy. After a bit of huffing and puffing, the food happily was served at the table, making us wonder why it was so impossible in the first place.
The better part about Visge was the music, a lovely set played by DJ Batuta, bereft of any commercial house (he refused to play even White Horse!) and the crowd too was pretty good. And for the first time in Delhi I saw someone spinning with Traktor3 and Final Scratch. Not bad at all. Between three of us, we ended up running a bill of Rs 1600 that did not include the cover charges that would have added another Rs 900 to it. The joint is pretty promising for all house/techno heads and I hope it does not meet the same sad fate that has befallen all other places that used to play techno/house before.
The music at the Smoke Grill was typical lounge fare, with the DJ even playing out a mix cd at times than even bothering to mix the tracks. Since I’d dropped by quite late, I did not eat or drink much, but a 30ML shot of Teacher’s cost me around Rs 250 and the total bill per person came to over Rs 1000, with a gut wrenching 50% of it coming in as various taxes/charges. Still, if you can afford that kind of money to be spent in an evening, the place is worth every bit, the ambience is lovely and there is oodles of space everywhere.
To conclude, it is kind of nutty to see the bad habit of using Microsoft Word printouts as menus in new joints persist almost as a rule. I had seen it long ago when It’s Greek To Me opened and the same was see in both the Smoke Grill and the Visge.
Update: Been too lazy to edit this post, but the first joint is called The Smoke House Grill and not Smoke Grill.