Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Get Off Twitter, Go Chatter

-Shivani Mohan

The Non-Veg platter at The Chatter House is outstanding

LIFE in a metro can be tough. Especially a metro like Delhi, with its layers and sub layers of hierarchy, with its North Delhi-South Delhi-West Delhi-East Delhi divide, with its fierce competitiveness.
Everyone is rushing somewhere, ready to step all over you. Rushing in cars, buses, cabs, autos and yeah, the metro. As if this wasn’t enough, now we also live in a virtual clutter. Hooked on to our smartphones, laptop, Facebook or Twitter. Internet Nazis and armchair Samaritans, fighting obscure wars that never get won.  What we lose out on is a heart-to-heart conversation. Face-to-face banter.
An RT can’t match a real pat on the back. A ‘Like’ is better if conveyed across the table with a crinkling smile…..that reaches the eyes.
A tete-a-tete can be therapeutic. Eye contact is energising. Laughter can heal many ailments.  The best thing about meeting friends for real is that you dress up for them. You can’t hide behind a pretty DP. You’ve got to please in flesh and bone. You want friendships of substance, right?
The Chatter House gastro pub at the stunning Epicuria Food Mall in Nehru Place, Delhi is just the place for chatter and natter of all kinds. Now this was my first trip to Epicuria Mall as I do not use the metro much.  I drove down in my car through heavy traffic.
Had I known about it, I would have taken the metro as the Mall is connected to the Nehru Place Metro station. What a cool concept! Just get down on your commute from anywhere, have a hearty chat and a meal with a friend and get on with life.
The interiors of ‘The Chatter House’ are very classy and spacious. Huge booths, green leather upholstered sofas and chairs, brickwork walls and interesting retro art on the walls. I am meeting an old friend there. She is in Delhi just for a day. We’ve known each other through ups and downs. Sometimes we may not see each other for over a year but whenever we do meet; we can chat and chat about anything under the sun. So the Chatter House seems to be the best place to catch up.
The long drive to Nehru Place has left my throat a bit parched and in swooshes the manager offering some unusual mocktails to remedy that. He highly recommends a drink called ‘Amrood Chaat’ (yeah it is a mocktail and not a chaat). I am not a big fan of guava juice, preferring to have the whole fruit when it is still green, crunchy and grainy with kala namak.
The Chatter House in Delhi's upscale Nehru Place is a great place to meet friends over some lip-smacking food
The Chatter House in Delhi’s upscale Nehru Place is a great place to meet friends over some lip-smacking food
I agree to try it but also ask for a water melon drink. When Amrood Chaat arrives, we both have a sip of it and are instantly hooked on. What a delicious and utterly piquant interpretation. It’s like chaat in liquid form and we waste no time to order a repeat.
Keeping the most prized item on the menu supreme, the beverage menu is very carefully crafted - the idea is to make the menu fun and create beverages with an edge. The Chatter House have absorbed one of the topmost trends – ‘Booze for Big Kids’ and have come up with some absolutely unique and peppy concepts like Bubble Gum Invasion that comprises of Bubble Gum Martinis, Bubblegum Vodkas, Blowpop Martini Jello Shots, Bubble gum Vodka Ice cream floats and several other variants in the form of popsicle sticks, jelly shots and beer snow cones. There is also a dedication to the regional cocktail section that includes Aam Panna Vodka, Sharabi Nariyal, Pickletini, Vodka Gunna, Gurkha Guerrilla, Vodka Zair and more; this section is devoted to the fantastic Indian ingredients which have been fused to create cocktails with an Indian touch. The usual suspects are also found here from classic cocktails, sangria pitchers, domestic and foreign liquors, spirits and beers.

Then comes a peach granita with an unusual infusion of clove, again lip-smacking. The watermelon drink too is given a new avatar with mint. All in all, the mocktails are so good that we could almost make a refreshing meal of them. But we order the Chatter House Non-Veg Platter as a starter.
There is a variety of four meats-Sheesh Taouk, honey glazed chicken wings, batter fried fish and mutton boti kebab-all cooked to perfection with two delectable dips and pita breads. The vegetarian could opt for a veggie version platter or mushroom toasties.
For main course we order Butter Garlic prawns and a Grilled Filet of Sole on a bed of Salad Nicoise. Sliced Roast Lamb with Mustard and Honey looks pretty tempting but we decide to stick to white meat. The prawns are truly wonderful and presented beautifully.
Butter Garlic Prawns are exceptionally good
A pair of perfectly curled prawns intertwined in a delicious hug. My friend and I laugh for a moment at the compositeness of the platter. It is quite a coincidence again that the very shape of the presentation symbolises bonding and warmth.
The fish is a bit dry and the dressing too heavy and the raw onions in the salad and bland boiled potatoes do not quite go well with fish. Give me a light, lemony glaze on fish any day!
We’re not really up for dessert. But the manager tells us that the carrot cake is good. I’m done with cakes since Christmas so we decide to share a chocolate mousse instead. The mousse is a bit buttery and heavy and we are unable to finish it. I have had better chocolate mousse for sure. But the fact is that the awesome mocktails, the platter, the prawns and the peppy atmosphere had already done the trick.
Tenderloin Burger is another specialty
Tenderloin Burger is another specialty
The place has a buzz and just the right ambience to break the ice and de-stress. To the extent I ended up penning a poetic tribute to it. Here goes:
If you’re feeling low
But don’t know what’s the matter.
Straighten that furrowed brow,
Collect the thoughts that scatter.
That Facebook you’ve scanned,
And you have hounded Twitter.
But your project’s been panned
And you feel rather bitter.
Just call a dear friend,
A bosom pal or a chaddi  buddy.
The kinds who don’t leave you to fend
For yourself with a fuddy duddy.
And head over to the Chatter House!
Unburden your heart,
Unleash every grouse,
Oh, just make a start!
Pizzas from wood fired ovens
All you need is friendly chatter.
There are icy drinks galore.
There’s a fab non-veg platter.
And what you’ll want more and more
Is the fish fried in a batter.
By then you’ll notice your prattle
Is getting funnier by the minute.
You’ve won half the battle.
That’s what friends are for, inn’it?
The prawns dressed in garlic and butter
Sit in a hug of beauty utter,
You’re over that horrible spat
Soothed with this agenda-less chat,
Chinwag, blether, banter or gossip
Get to the Chatter House and give the blues a slip!
The Chatter House, Epicuria, Nehru Place
Tel:  011-26237777/ 011- 26238888
Average Price for two: INR 750 /- plus taxes
Timings:  11:30 am to 1:00 am
No of Covers:  110

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