Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bob Marley Lives on at Raasta, Cyber Hub, Gurgaon

It was not too long ago that I reviewed Raasta, the Carribean Lounge at Hauz Khas village in Delhi. The place had a fantastic vibe, it was cool, it was funky and buzzing with youthful energy and rebellion. 

When the idea of Raasta, Cyber Hub, Gurgaon was proposed I wondered how that laid-back feel could be translated to a space which is virtually the ultimate futuristic food place in the national capital. Standing cheek by jowl with some of India’s biggest corporates, steely skyscrapers steeped in so called capitalism, how would Bob Marley’s dreadlocks and reggae beats fare here?

Commenting on the launch of Raasta @ DLF Cyber Hub, promoters Joy Singh and Rahul Kundan had said, “Raasta is a philosophy and way of life. The huge popularity of the brand made it essential for us to take it to more people and places. DLF Cyber Hub with its cosmopolitan culture and fabulous ambience was an apt choice for Raasta on its journey of expansion.”

Walk into this space, that still remains all about the unmistakable music, an ambience that lets you relax and go with the flow. The essence of the brand stays alive with the décor elements, while evolution has taken place in both the design and food philosophy to bring a newer, fresher version of the brand to old loyalists and new visitors alike.

The décor is quirky, and takes a dig at all things institutional, much like the maverick philosopher who inspired it. Boat shell pushcarts and large truck tyres painted in red, gold and green, back-up as table stands; while caged boxes hold together little references to our industrial and corporate lifestyle.
A unique tribute to Bob Marley

The outdoor seating area of Raasta is like a beach shack
The street style is very much alive with street lamps hung upside down from the ceiling to form a part of the lighting schematics. The movable DJ console and stage form the central focus of the space with the Ms cages with iron chains for a symbolic 3d mural on the main wall of the restaurant where again traditional bongs have been used to add a dose of colour and bring together the connect with the original Raasta. The trademark record cover wall creates a colourful backdrop to this corner.

The tantalising Sex on the Beach
You can either sit inside which is plush and sparkling or the outside bar area which looks like a beach shack with huge fans spraying mist to keep the evening moist and sea-kissed. The staff looks cool and casual in jeans and funky black shirts (oh what a relief not to see stiff, liveried stewards at times!)

We start with some cocktails that look promising. The energetic bartender recommends the notorious ‘Sex on the Beach’ that has my preferred liquor vodka and the even more notorious ‘Electric Iced Tea’ that has every spirit imaginable. Sex on the Beach is truly refreshing and transports me to a palm-fringed beach. Electric Iced Tea is not really my cup of tea but would be a hit with hard drinkers.

You can start off with a cheerful bite of the Plantain Frittos (raw banana chips served with sour cream) or the Tangy Mango Mushroom, and move onto a hearty helping of the all time Caribbean favourite, the Red Snapper Escovitch.

Barbados Platter
Salmon Prawn and Smoked Sole Skewers
For starters we try the Salmon Prawn and Smoked Sole Skewers served with 3 alluring dips and the Non Veg Barbados Platter that comprises of Carribean Chicken Strips, Grilled Chicken Wrapper, Lamb Empanadas and Lamb Chilly served with Cilantro Sour Cream and Spicy Harissa. The cooking is perfect and the tantalising dips provide just the right antidote to the crispy textures and piquant tastes.

Jamaican Jerked Chicken
For the main course there’s Sambuca Cajun Grilled Basa that comes with a side of fajita and Cajun Sauce, Carribean Chicken Curry and Jamaican Jerked Chicken. For vegetarians there is the Wild Mushroom Rizo or a refreshing Soco Peppery Apple Yoghurt Salad amongst others.

While talking about Raasta’s appetizing food menu, Chef Anil Pandey from Raasta elaborates “Staying true to its Caribbean origins, Raasta  serves seamlessly varied cuisine from the cultures of Spain, Africa, East India, China and other palettes into a distinct tradition all its own. Our offering promises to satisfy every craving, as well as makes for a great option for a meal out.”

Herbed Prawns Bowl
Penne Arabiata
Grilled and Spiced Fish Bowl

‘Raasta on the Go’ is a popular menu served from 12 noon to 4 pm catering to corporate busybees who breeze in for a quick bite. Comprising of meals in a bowl such as Pepper Lamb Curry Bowl, Grilled Cajun Chicken Bowl and Herbed Prawns Bowl for the rice lover or basic, nutritious pastas, this is a  popular option for a quick working lunch for corporate denizens of Cyber City.

The menu reflects a fusion of a wide range of cultures and heritages, and many ethnicities that landed on Caribbean shores for the past centuries. This led to an intermingling of different cultures and cuisines, as people survived the islands, and weathered oppressions and challenges for many years. The fascinating stories of this confluence of culture and race are told through the menu of Raasta.

We skip dessert as the sound of reggae resonating into the deep, mysterious evening is all the sweetness one can handle for the moment.

The night is still young and the vibrant crowd is trickling in, fiesty and gregarious, clicking selfies, celebrating birthdays, flirting, buzzing, laughing or simply sharing cosy twosomes.

At Raasta, Cyber Hub the options are manifold. I am sure all of us need a break from our materialistic pursuits!

1 comment:

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