Downtown is a word originating in America, usually meaning city-centre. Sector 29, with its multitude of eateries appealing to every taste, is fast becoming the eating out downtown of Gurgaon. I think it is pretty apt, and somewhat poetic for the resident restaurant and microbrewery to call itself Downtown Diners & Living Beer Café.
The interiors here are woody, with exposed bricks. The walls adorn posters related to beer and life on the fast track. There are large television screens, presumably to get the diners hooked on to the cricket match of the day. The restaurant has the feeling of space and is well lit. All in all, it is just the kind of place to hang out in. I ask Neil Bose, the Manager of the restaurant about the kind of food they serve. He decides to call it popular cuisine designed for the beer palate. Intrigued by his description, I dive into the menu.
The restaurant has a stone oven, and serves conveniently sized slices of pizza. So I order the favourite pizza of all Americans. The pepperoni pizza (Rs 225 for a generous slice) provides a meaty cheesy bite, with a crisp thin base, designed to delight the beer palate. What stops this pizza from being great is the fact that the stone oven is not wood fired and so the smoky dimension of the taste is missing.
I have chosen the Middle Eastern favourite, shish taouk (Rs 375) as my next dish. In Turkish shish means a skewer and taouk (pronounced “tah-wouk”) means chicken. It is usually served on wooden skewers. What I am served looks pretty on the plate, and is cooked competently. However, for it to have an Arabic character, what is missing in the marination is the dried thyme and all important ground allspice. As such the taste here is that of an ordinary chicken tikka on a stick without the zingy masalas.
Having decided against the mostly outsourced desserts, I decide to try a back-to-home meaty dish to end my meal. The mutton tikka roomali roll (Rs 250) more than justifies my decision. It is clear to me that kababs is what the restaurant’s chef Abdul Bashisht does best, and the proof of that is my first bite. The tikka is well seasoned and perfectly grilled so as to melt in the mouth. Even the awkwardly made roomali roti does not take away from the taste of the roll. The interiors have these beautiful chunks of meat rolled in with a liberally spiced onion ring salad and most perfect chutney creating a taste sensation that is very piquant and quite addictive.
Downtown Diners has some good things going for it. The service is nice and the prices are not over-the-top. These are essential ingredients for having a good time with friends. In case you feel peckish, my recommendation would be to order the kababs and avoid the rest. This is what the restaurant does best, and as many of us would vouch, for the Indian ‘beer palate’ there is nothing better than chilled beer with some good kababs and some great company.
Ratings out of 5
Food: 2.5, Ambiance: 3.5, Service: 3.0| Overall: 3.0
Address: Downtown – Diners & Living Beer Café, 34, Leisure Valley Road, Near Crowne Plaza Hotel, Sector 29, Gurgaon | Phone: 99996-59098
Cuisine: Multi-cuisine | Timings: 1 PM – 2 AM | Meal for two: Rs 1000 (without alcohol) | Credit Card: Yes | Alcohol: Yes