It’s been over a week since I have visited this place and yet each time I think of it, Chuck Berry´s crooning of “Johnny be good” fills my mind. I am sure the same would happen to you if you happen to visit the recently opening “Johnny Rockets” in the Ambience mall, Gurgaon and I will tell you why.
Johnny Rockets is a popular American burger chain which is styled as a classic 70´s diner/malt shop complete with a juke box, red and white colour scheme and classic diners uniform. The chain has maintained the same theme in India and looks quite neat. The staff has even worked hard at creating a happy jiving ambience by frequently turning into a jig on “Johnny be Good”. Funnily enough the jig is done so frequently….and in such good humor, that by the time you leave the place the words Go Johnny Go..Go get impregnated in your head.
As a quintessential American burger chain, the menu primarily comprise of Burgers, Sandwiches, Shakes and malts. There are off course a few Indianized versions of some items, but the menu has been kept as authentic as possible. We started off with the Onion Rings (Rs. 200) – crispy panko coated rings which were quite light to the palate and incredibly non oily and the Rocket Wings (Rs.325) – Spicy tangy chicken wings with a strong flavor of Louisiana Hot sauce. Both the starters reminded me of my days in Nashville where I had the Johnny Rockets products at their outlet in the famous Opry Mills.
We also asked for a Mango mania Shake (Rs.275) and an Orange dreamsicle Malt (Rs.250). A word of caution! If you are going to JR looking for the typical Delhi style Mango Shake, you are better off getting it at the neighbourhood juice shop. The Shakes here are authentic heavy thick milk and vanilla ice creams based, and actually require a spoon to eat (Drink?). Each shake is individually churned and the complete portion is served to you even if it is more than your ordered serving. The Malts are also quite decent but the shakes are what takes the cakes (Yes it rhymed-it’s the dominoes effect of them melodious blues which keep playing in the background)!
For Burgers we decided to try their Houston burger (Rs.375) and an Indian tasting NH-1(Rs.400). The Houston burger is a tenderloin burger with jalapeños and regular toppings of pepper jack cheese, lettuce and the works. We found the burger a bit dry and the cheese not melted (As it is usually served back in the USA), so we requested it to be redone and the 2nd time we got a juicy perfectly cooked patty with melted cheese on top. I am usually very reluctant to try any Indian tasting burgers as the concept of Indian and burgers doesn’t work with me well, however, I must add, that the lamb burger here impressed me sufficiently to rate it over the classic Houston for sure! The fact that the burger had Indian elements and yet managed to retain the essence of a classic burger was enough for me to rate it highly over its cousin. Another things which I found most impressive was that the bread used for the burger is so good that we could hold the breads till our last bites without it disintegrating (As is the case in most of the burgers everywhere else). I do hope that their kitchen takes up our suggestion of adding a layer of lettuce at the heel of the burger so that the sauce doesn’t soggy up the bread as quickly.
Since this Johnny wanted to be Foodie Good, I ordered a Chicken Philly Sandwich (Rs.400) next. My cravings for a good Philly Steak had been going on for long, but in the absence of a decent steak in India, I was happy with the chicken offering at JR. The grilled onions and capsicum certainly gave the proper Philly flavors to the sandwich and I must say that my craving was satiated to a certain extent. We also tried the Panko Paneer Wrap (Rs.375) which had all the right flavours, crispy paneer and was certainly a worthy vegetarian option.
To round off the meal we went with a typical American Apple Pie (Rs.200), half of which we asked to be served with melted cheddar cheese on top and the other half as is. I preferred the southern style melted cheddar cheese combo as the saltiness of the cheese blended well with the cinamony sweetness of the pie. My only peeve with the pie, however, was that the apples were over cooked and I could not get the crunch which is so desired in a classic apple pie.
All in all, the flash jigs by the staff, the awesome malts and shakes, the very American burgers and greater Indian burger, philly steak and the wrap has brought me back memories of my days in Tennessee and I came out of the place a happy soul – jiving and singing to the tunes of the famous chuck berry song but with the following changed lyrics: “Johnny IS GOOD”!
Ratings (Out of 5)
Food: 4.0 | Ambience: 4.0 | Service: 4.0 | Overall: 4.0
Meal for two: Rs.1800| Alcohol: No | Credit Card: Yes | Timings: 11.00 am till 11.00 pm
Address: Level 3, Ambience Mall, Gurgaon. / Level 2, Select City Walk, Saket, New Delhi.
Tel: 0124-4665656 (Gurgaon) / 011-4160666 (Delhi)