Three things come to mind whenever I hear the name Sandy’s – their fantastic, perfectly measured and balanced cocktails thanks to their owner and mixologist Sandeep Verma (“Sandy”), the beautiful landscaped lawn they have where they organize Sunday open air brunches with grills when weather permits and the relative serenity of its location being away from the hustle bustle of the city tucked away near Westin Hotel.
Sandy’s is spread over two floors where the restaurant is on the ground floor with huge glass windows overlooking the lovely garden. It has a very 1960s feel to it with the walls adorned with photographs clicked by Sandy depicting his journey in life. The basement houses a full fledged bar at one end and a stage for performing artists which doubles up as a dance floor at the other end. The whole place radiates with such a feel good warmth thanks to Sandy the livewire owner who loves to share all his stories. But one should not get fooled by his easy going demeanour because it gets obvious that he is a perfectionist and a hard task master who will not rest till he has put in his hundred percent.
A word or two here about Sandy. A hotel management graduate and armed with a WSET certification from London, Sandy has, over the years, been closely associated with numerous well known establishments such as La Rochelle (Oberoi), Oasis (Hyatt), CJ’s (Le Meridien) and Staying Alive (in Dubai). He is also a winner of the “Best Mixologist” in the Big F Awards organized by Indian Food Freak
I was invited for a bloggers’ meet with a specially curated menu perfectly combined with cocktails for each course of the menu. We started with the appetizer – Grilled Bratwurst sausages served with red cabbage sauerkraut, fig chutney, grain mustard and poached pear. The added flavor came from the bits of bacon that Sandy puts in his sauerkraut. The outer casing of the Bratwurst was a little chewy and I had to remove it and keep on the side. This was paired with a gin and vodka based cocktail called Vesper. Vesper was made famous by James Bond in both the book and the 2006 movie ‘Casino Royale’. While in the book and the movie they use Gordon’s Gin, Sandy prefers to use Beefeater Gin as the others are too dry according to him.
Next came the Deconstructed Chicken Caesar Salad –where the grilled chicken was served on one side and the greens were served on the other side. Somehow the presentation made me feel that I’m eating a main and not a salad. The chicken was seasoned and grilled to perfection and the Romaine hearts with garlic melba were bang on. This was served with the Last Tango In Modena a tequila based drink with a chili hit and containing a huge ice ball which dissolves slowly to add to the flavors of passion fruit and lime in the drink. A lovely innovative presentation. I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that there will be a difference between the first and the last sip.
The hot, wholesome Hungarian Goulash served in a covered soup bowl was perfect for the cold evening. Taking care of these small things like serving it covered, is what makes all the difference. The classic recipe uses beef instead of lamb as is used here and it has a rather thick consistency like a stew. A hearty lamb soup with carrots, potatoes and onions seasoned with paprika was what we enjoyed. This was paired with Smok’d Celery Bloody Bitch. Sandy had served it with celery foam instead of the traditional way of celery stick in the glass. I can honestly say that this was one of the best Bloody Marys I’ve had.
For mains, we had Braised Lamb Shanks cooked in their own jus and served with artichokes, green pea and truffle risotto, sautéed spinach and shallot confit. The chunky piece of lamb was cooked to perfection (simmering the whole night in its juices) but what it needed was some more of that meaty jus. The risotto was also cooked just as I like it with a little bite to it. This was paired with an Old Fashioned with the yellow ambers of bourbon flowing through you. Old Fashioned, incidentally, is also the oldest cocktail of the world.
We finished off with a New Age Tiramisu which could have done with a tad bit more of expresso and Kahlua paired with an Expresso Martini Cocktail with Hazelnut Foam.
The service was simply impeccable with smiling pleasant waiters. Whether it is the five potent cocktails I had or the heady mixture of food or the lovely outside seating in the lawn with halogen heaters or a combination of all, I was high on all the good things in life served together. I have been an ardent fan of Sandy’s ever since it opened about a year and have always wondered why it has not got the recognition it deserves.
Ratings (out of 5)
Food: 3.50| Drinks: 5.0 | Ambience: 4.0 | Service: 4.0 | Overall: 4.0
Meal for Two: Rs. 2000 | Credit Cards: Yes | Alcohol: Yes | Timings: 12 Noon to 4 PM, 7 PM to Midnight | Wheel Chair Friendly: No
Address: Sandy’s 388 SCO ,Adjacent to IFFCO Metro Station, Behind Westin Hotel, Sector 29, Gurgaon, Haryana 122001 Timings:12 pm -12am | Telephone: 011 3959 5290
Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgment and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review, but readers need to consider this review keeping this fact in mind.