My popular hangout place during college, The Priya PVR Complex, at Vasant Vihar has lost its sheen. It is difficult to say that crowds went missing first or the good restaurants, but what can be said with ease is that it is no more the coveted market which used to draw attention on the very mention of its name. I am here to check out Barrels, which as per the owners is the first thematic Pub in the country.
The 45-seater pub with no source of natural light is also kept deliberately dark. The graffitis and sculptures depicting life and women liberalisation may be liked by some, but it fails to ignite any positive emotions in me. Perhaps it reminds me of a haunted house theme. Barrels has a theme for sure but for that one will have to draw away attention from drinks and the conversation to be observant of the surroundings. I prefer a simple, well-lit, carefree setup to unwind.
The starters take time, and I complete my initial two drinks without anything to nibble. The only saving grace is that the cocktails are interesting. The signature cocktails seem to be expensive at Rs420 per drink and no happy hours offer, but I soon realise all of these use imported alcohol. This realisation makes them look much more reasonable. ANS’WER, made with Jack Daniel, drambui, and peach schnaps leaves a honey after taste. CASHEW’S NUT with absinthe, darkrum, tequilla and triple sec is potent. I do not like the beer based cocktails which are too watery and lack the fizz.
The menu has cuisine from all over the world but would they be able to do justice to it is still to be seen. Peri Peri chicken skewers are nice but without much embellishment. I missed some salad or mashed potatoes to go with them that would give it more depth. Mozerella Phylo Triangles is another interesting dish on the menu but takes over 40min to come to the table even though we are the only guest at that time at Barrels.
Thai style omelette is flavourful with aromas of galangal and lemon grass. The two things that are as good as perfect in the starters are devilled eggs and Malu Paan, a Srilankan dish is like a baked patty but not so flaky. Malu Paan is absolutely fresh baked and retains all aromas and flavours except that it is normally with fish filling and here they have used chicken mince.
For main course we order whole fish meal which is grilled pomfret with rice. The fish is so much overdone that it has become all pasty. It is replaced with juicy grilled chicken but it again takes time to be delivered. Perhaps other restaurants who keep the stuff half-done have reduced my patience levels. Fresh preparation is always better but if it is sustainable in a pub where guest wants something quick to nibble is a question.
Food and drinks takes time to deliver. Service is polite but orders are missed. Our butterfly wanton never come.
Barrels is opened by four young partners who are first timer into F&B business. They lack experience but make up for it through their passion and energy. It has only been two months and the learning phase is still on for them. I want new people to taste success but giving honest opinion is also important so that can cover the grounds. I just hope the learning is faster and people who visit are willing to give Barrels a second chance.
Ratings (out of 5)
Ambience: 2.5 | Drinks: 3.5 | Food: 2.5 | Service: 2.5 | Overall: 2.5
Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Meal for two: ₹1800/- (Inclusive of 2 drinks)
Address: Barrels, 1st Floor, Building No 5, Basant Lok Community Centre, PVR Complex, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi | Phone: 011-41075881