Tuesday, 24 June 2014

A Relaxed Evening Under the Stars @ Outback Bar & Grill, Leisure Inn, Gurgaon

A few weeks ago I got an invite to visit and review Outback, an open air bar and grill at Leisure Inn Gurgaon, close to the Sector 14 market in Gurgaon. I had not heard of this restaurant and was quite curious. We arrived at Outback by around 8.30 pm and made our way to an open air courtyard that sits in the shade of an old Maragosa tree. The open air ambiance was quite nice and made even more so with the tiny yellow lights that wound around the tree trunk and branches. Since it was quite a warm Summer evening, large fans were strategically placed to ensure proper cooling.

The concept of Outback is pairing drinks with freshly made grilled appetizers, all in a relaxed outdoor setting. Simple and casual is the mantra here along with enjoying some really good North Indian appetizers.

Once I had a chance to look through the menu, I was quite excited by what was on offer- some favourites and some things which I have never tried before. Executive chef Abhishek Mathur came over to us and explained the concept behind a few of the dishes and we were looking forward to tasting :)

There was a very balanced selection of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian starters to go with our drinks. The Dhai Ke Suley was one of the star vegetarian items. It’s Chef Mathur’s own creation and consists of hung yoghurt mixed with some secret spices & wrapped in soaked bread & deep fried. The hubby is a veggie and he loved it! Another two delicious vegetarian starters were the Malai broccoli and the Mushroom Kive. I was quite impressed with the way Chef Mathur managed to infuse so much flavour into the humble broccoli and make it something special. I must also mention that what I liked about the selection of vegetarian starters was the variety. It wasn’t just the usual paneer which although I love, can tend to become a little boring after a while.

Being a die hard meat and fish lover I really enjoyed the malai jhinga and pepper fish satay (sadly don't have images). They were absolutely delicious. Only thing more I could have asked for was a wedge of lime/lemon for my crispy batter fried malai jhinga. I should also mention the Shikampuri kebabs, which I also liked, but were over shadowed by the yumminess of the prawn and the fish starters.

When it came time for the main course, the hands down winner was the imli ki machi. It was a delicious fish curry in a gravy that was subtly flavoured with tamarind- my mouth waters when I think of how good it was. Another winner was the dal Qureshi. It was a rich creamy dal made from green mung lentils. It was something very different and not something I've had anywhere else. The humble mung dal was certainly celebrated in this dish. 

Also on the menu was Murg wajidshai, chicken in a creamy gravy, but no one on our table seemed too impressed with this. Equally disappointing was the Dum ghost biryani, which I was really looking forward too. Another main I was excited about was the beliram meat curry and while the flavours of the gravy were excellent, I wish the meat had been cooked for a little longer so that it had a chance to be a little tenderer, so that it was falling of the bone.

The evening ended with some dessert- pan kulfi and the ghost halwa (mutton halwa). I was very curious about the mutton halwa which is supposed to be a classic, but while I enjoyed the pan kulfi, I must admit that meat in dessert form is a bit too radical for my taste buds. To be fair, I’d have to say that that is more of a reflection of my staid palate than any fault of the chef.

Over all Outback is a nice place to visit for a casual evening out, especially when the weather is a little cooler. A nice, chilled out place in a pleasant setting perfect for a relaxed evening. I’d say it’s a great place to enjoy some delicious starters along with your drinks, all under the stars. I plan to visit again for the prawns and the imli ki macchi, but maybe when the weather is slightly cooler :)

[All images courtesy Outback Bar & Grill]

Outback Bar and Grill, Leisure Inn West Gurgaon
17/6 Old Delhi Gurgaon Road, Sector 14, Gurgaon 122001

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