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Soi 7 and Farzi cafe review

DLF Cyber Hub seems to have become quite the eating spot. A smattering of the most hip restaurants in an open air mall seems to be win-win formula.

It was wintery Sunday morning and I was very excited! After plotting a visit to the much talked-about Farzi Cafe for a while now, I promptly packed my brother and set out for DLF Cyber Hub in Gurgaon.
Located bang in front of the IndusInd Metro Station is the DLF Cyber Hub. It doesn't look much from outside, but step in and you are sure to be bedazzled by the choicest eateries in a lovely open-air setting . I mentally bookmarked Zambar and some nice american-style barbeque joints - Smokeys and Holy Smoke.

Soi 7
We decided to begin the hogging with some beer and headed to the sole microbrewery in the mall - Soi 7. Set up on the 3rd floor, it's a roomy Asian-inspired gastropub. We initially grabbed a lonely table inside, besides the band stage. A little later we moved to the much more lively outdoors to soak in the winter sun and perched ourselves under one of their canopied sofas.

The expansive menu was full of tempting Asian fare, but we dived straight into the brews. The two of us sampled all of their fresh beer - Wheat, Lager, Stout, and Porter. All of them had quirky martial arts inspired names like "Knock Out" and "Cobra Punch". The wheat beer was refreshing and cloudy with a yeasty aftertaste. I would have liked a bit more citrus though. The Lager was crisp as promised, but a little too heady for my liking. I had never been a fan of stout – my first Murphys reminded of  burnt milkshake, but my brother is. He seemed to enjoy the offering at Soi. The best beer of the afternoon for me was the Porter – A Porter virgin, I was a trepidatious upon seeing nearly jet black liquid, but one sip and I was sold. Light, fruity and very drinkable!

We skipped meals to save our appetite for Farzi Cafe, and gulped down 5 mugs of beer. The damages came to about Rs. 1700, with Rs. 250 - 300 per mug; Pitchers, which were priced around Rs. 600, are an economical option if you have a larger group of drinker.

Farzi Cafe
Beer-breakfast over, it was time to get Farzified. As expected, it was house-full with a wait time of 45 minutes for a table. We spotted a stool cramped up in a corner and the staff promptly arranged some bar stools, to make us an improvised cover.

Our maitre d' was great throughout our meal; the rest of the service seemed a little sluggish, with things like cutlery and water needing frantic call-outs amidst the crowd.

First up, we did what tipsy guys do when they walk into a nice bar – order some cocktails! We got the Santa Banta and the Bang Bang. Quirky names with quirkier presentation. The aptly made Santa Banta, Farzi's version of LIT arrived in the quintessentially Delhi, Lemon Banta bottle. The drink was refreshingly perfect; I only wish they had been a little more generous with proportions. The 250 ml or so bottle, priced at Rs. 400 was sipped through in no time.

Bang Bang was encased in what seemed like mini gunpowder barrel from one of the Pirates of Caribbean movies. The pricey drink (Rs. 800) seemed like an offshoot of Sex on the beach. I found it too orangey and akin to drinking spiked up minute maid out of a cask. 

As we waited for our appetizers, we took in the bright and cheerful atmosphere. The cafe isn't very large, with about 30 or so covers. The usual retro memorabilia in vogue these days were all there - empty bird cages and antique typewriters. The bar was rather long, spanning almost the entire length of the restaurant.
Just before our appetizers, we were served two tiny cups of a Mishti Doi palate cleanser. These came speherified as shots, with the pink speckled mishti doi transformed into a yolk like jellyness. We dunked them into our mouth and shamelessly asked for seconds. We were generously obliged.

Out came our Duck Samosas coated in a Hoisin Sauce. The Samosas were bite sized and the duck filling was deliciously gamey. The enrobing plum dressing provided a nice tartness to cut through all that crunch and meat.

Next up was the Kashmiri Rista style Pork Ribs. It’s hard to get Ribs wrong, especially when the they are good quality, imported cuts. That said, I much prefer my ribs smoked in a barbeque rub like they do at Chilis or charred in Soy sauce like the supremely delicious ribs at Lings Pavilion in Bombay. The Rista seemed a little too overpowering for the meaty taste of high quality swine.

For the mains, we were nudged towards the Galouti Burgers. I had read about Farzi's Hajmola sorbet, and asked for them too.

We were presented with two teeny-weeny popsicle sorbets. The taste was reminiscent of Hajmola alright, but was could have been sharper.

Our mains arrived with a presentation that lived up to the fare so far. An oversized jewelry box, housing two small Galouti-Pavs and some potato wedges. I was a quite underwhlemed with the insipid dish. The Galoutis were sufficiently succulent, and the potato wedges were like......wait for it.... potato wedges, but the banality of the food concealed beneath gaudy boxes and jars was a letdown.

That feeling regrettably carried over to the desserts. We skipped the oh-so-popular Parle G cheesecake in favor of Suji Halwa cake and banana syrup. If I didn't know it was halwa, I would have passed it over as an average banofee cake. The accompanying pista encrusted ice cream was pretty unexceptional too.

Looking back at our meal at Farzi Cafe, I'd say it failed to live up to all the hype. Some of the dishes were inventive while some were just plain vanilla, colored up with fancy gimmicks and presentation. Another disappointment was the small portion sizes. The pricing while not stratospheric, is certainly up-market with our meal costing about Rs. 3400.


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