Buddha-Bar made its beginning in Paris in 1996. It is a popular bar and lounge internationally, standing for the ultimate cool, with a well-heeled, fashion conscious clientele. Being sensitive to the Buddhist sensibilities in India and a few other Asian countries, the management has changed the name and the interiors suitably. Hence the name b-bar, with statues of samurais instead of Buddha all over.
Situated at Select Citywalk Mall at Saket, b-bar has managed to recreate the magic of the Buddha Bar atmosphere, where (as aptly described in their website) the design, food, music and light blend together into an environmental fusion of colonial, baroque and East-meets-West style. Pawan Soni and I are here to experience this global icon. We walk in to distinctly oriental interiors with an imposing skylight. The music playing is pure Buddha Bar style – carefully selected tracks of Indian, Oriental, Arabic, Hispanic, Vietnamese and Greek influence.
As we are seated we are joined by the executive sous chef Richard Biswas. The menus are different for lunch and dinner timings, and feature many of the international signature dishes. We start our gastronomic journey with appetizers. The chicken dumpling are soft and juicy. Tender Chicken salad (Rs 445), one of the signature dishes at b-bar, is fresh and has small pieces of flat fried noodles, giving it an interesting bite. What follow are bounties from the sea. The fried lobster dumpling (Rs 955) has fresh, flavorful lobster meat inside a crisp dim sum shell and is a great mouthful.
The Japanese starters are interesting. The new style yellowtail sashimi (Rs 655) is sliced yellowtail tuna but somewhat Sino-seasoned giving it a tangy and spicy flavour. The same thought process also carries on with crazy spicy tuna sushi (Rs 515) which has an interesting interplay of textures with crispy fried tuna rolled with rice in a sushi format. The white Marchesi Di Barolo wine that accompanies is crisp and refreshing, and adds to the taste of the dishes.
It is time for the main courses to come in. The Singaporean prawns (Rs 955) are inspired by the island nation’s chilly prawns and are exciting garlicky spicy. The b-bar Noodles (Rs 455) are cooked with black sesame and are wonderfully addictive. The star of the meal is the roasted black cod miso yuzu sauce (Rs 1655). Rarely have we eaten a fish so perfectly cooked that it flakes and melts in the mouth. The sauce itself deserves a separate mention because its balance heightens the flavour of the dish to a truly memorable experience. The ginger lamb chop with seasonal vegetables (Rs 2955) disappoints however due to uneven cooking rendering some pieces overcooked and dry and others undercooked. The seasoning is characterless and this dish pales in comparison to the preceding dishes.
b-bar is definitely worth a visit. The interiors, spirits and the music are enough to make your evening, and the food is very good. Especially recommended are the cod and the b-bar noodles.
Rating out of 5
Food: 4.0 | Ambience: 4.5 | Service: 4.5 | Overall: 4.5
Meal for two: Rs. 4000| Business Lunch: Rs995 per person (Soup + Main Course + Dessert + Selected house Cocktail/Mocktail) | Alcohol: Yes of course (Think of a drink, and its available) | Credit Card: Yes | Timings: 1 PM to 4 PM. 7 PM to 1 AM (Tue-Sun), (Monday Closed)
Address: b-bar, 4th Floor, Select Citywalk, Saket, New Delhi | Telephone: (+91) 8130394481
– Aalok Wadhwa with inputs from Pawan Soni