13 September 2017

What makes Dirty Apron so impeccable?

Piano Man and Dirty Apron have proven to be a game changer in the food and nightlife scene in Delhi. The Piano Man Jazz Club situated on the ground floor is a place where there are performances and gigs happening everyday, and Dirty Apron is the restaurant situated on the second floor that serves an elaborate menu of food and drinks. Both of these are owned by the same people, and the cocktail and food menu to quite an extent is also the same. The former is for a chilled out evening with gigs, the latter is for a chilled out meal with great food. Together they have educated the audience of Delhi with its phenomenal concoctions, a vibe and energy that the place lends with its gigs that other bars and restaurants should take inspiration from, and the fantastic food they serve which has some of the best flavours and ingredients used. They've brought jazz music to the forefront and brought music enthusiasts a very classy place to chill at.

Headed to Dirty Apron a couple of weeks back for an evening with friends. Started off with 2 salads- Smoked Baby Spinach with feta salad (with bacon), and Chargrilled Watermelon, Caramelised Onion, Mint and Feta Salad. The ingredients worked like magic together in both the salads. So much of bacon in the first one, so fresh and crunchy. Pine nuts and balsamic reduction uplifting the flavour of the salad and feta cheese doing what it does best to salads- balance them with creaminess and saltiness. 
For the watermelon salad, imagine a watermelon which is naturally sweet and a fruit has a lot of water, and then those watermelon chunks have a slight beautiful char on them- beautiful! You devour it with caramelised onions that lend their sweetness, and feta cheese that lends its creaminess and saltiness, and then have some mint for the freshness. Mind-blowing flavours! Imagine people who don't like moving beyond Caesar Salad flipping over these.

Moved to appetizers and tried Rice paper rolls that were wrapped in a thin sheet stuffed with veggies. Served chilled and balanced well with Thai flavours, healthy too. A perfect bar nibble was also the Cajun Chicken in a crepe net. Cajun spice rubbed on the chicken, spicy and very slightly pungent, and a nicely done chicken. Some veggies for the crunch and a net which was like soft roti with uneven circles as holes (hence forming a net). Filling, and so good! The most amazing thing about this dish? The raw mango Balinese sauce made with chillies, garlic, pepper and the likes, and a tinge of sour sweetness from the raw mango. It's a DIY dip so you need to mix it all together with a proportion of ingredients you feel is right for your flavour preference. Yum!

Also ordered for the Zucchini Fries and TPM Nachos with Minced Chicken with our drinks, and both the dishes were superb! The Zucchini Fries, a healthy version of fries, though still fried (Hey, at least we swapped potatoes with zuchhini!), is crisp and thick on the outside, with juicy zucchini inside. Great stuff! The Minced Chicken Nachos were made with nachos that are prepared in-house. Something like a pizza to look at- the nachos were that loaded, but a beautiful mix of pizza and nachos together. They weren't nachos however, they were tostada chips, hence very light. Came with sour cream and a salsa dip, and the nachos were wiped clean from the plate within minutes- that good.

The place is damn famous for its cocktails. Though the food deserves to be equally famous, because people coming to Piano Man don't eat as much as they try the different cocktails, the cocktails have ended up becoming more famous. So we went with extremely high hopes here, and what we got completely matched our high expectations. The Gin Rickey with gin, lime and bubbles can be made with vodka or any other spirit too if you request your server. A favourite throughout the evening, there were multiple of this well-balanced goodness ordered. Ordered multiple rounds of Old Fashioned too which was superlative according to my friend.

But my favourite was Pot- elderflower based vodka cocktail which was not overly sweet, and very refreshing! Fizzy with an orange peel for the bitter-sweet flavour. Loved this one through and through. For someone who really adores blueberry, Blueberry Hill with blueberry puree dominating the drink will be your poison. There's cointreau because of which the drink tastes kind of sharp, but for the ones who have a taste for such kind of cocktails, it's bliss for them.


The servers will recommend you to go with My Thai, one of the classics here. I hate coriander but I still went ahead with it because I love kaffir lime. Really liked this drink, so I can safely say that for someone who's indifferent towards coriander or likes it even (and doesn't dislike it like I do), this gin based drink will blow you away. 

If you're not in an adventurous mood and would just like something simple, potent and good, go with 'Knickers Down'. Crazy name, right? Vodka, ginger, bubbles (best part about it) and basil leaves. Sounding pretty basic. But the trick lies in the balance. A crisp, no-fuss, delicious drink that's not on the sweeter side too.

I liked all their cocktails, but I don't know why the Sangria is priced at 575/-. It's good, but nothing great for this steep a price point.

Main course consisted of two delicious pieces of Lamb Chops glazed in a honey balsamic sauce. The flavour of honey we all know but the flavour of balsamic I cannot describe. It's just very well balanced and strong, if that gives you any reference. And honey and balsamic go hand-in-hand because the resultant flavour that comes out is mostly loved by all. The Sous Vide Coriander Chicken was a hit on the table as well. I particularly loved the mashed potatoes that came with it. Creamy and so good, the chicken had a tomato based sauce underneath, some coriander foam on top, and the chicken had a lovely flavour of itself too. A pretty safe dish to order if you don't like to experiment with your protein.

Dessert was a lavish affair of Nutella Popsicle and Raw Mango and Guava Popsicle, Churros, and Chocolate Meltdown (yes, we can really eat). The Nutella Popsicle is nothing like you can imagine. You'd expect a popsicle to be supremely just ice, and at least for me the chocolate wasn't fitting in the head when I thought of a 'Nutella' popsicle. But oh my, what incredible stuff! Chilled, not too heavy, astonishingly great-tasting. 

The Churros are yet another something to kill for on Dirty Apron's Menu. Dusted with cinnamon, comes with a thick luscious chocolate to dip your churros in. Soft on the inside and crisp on the outside, they were one of the best I've had. Also, I really believe the cinnamon is the game-changer here.

I'd only like to end by saying- Dirty Apron is one hell of a place when you're looking for something with great food AND great cocktails. A place that should definitely be on your wish list.

Note: Refer to the Facebook page of Piano Man to know what gigs they're playing and when. Also, when there's live music at Piano Man, the speakers at Dirty Apron play the same music :)

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