An evening of wanderlust-themed cocktails and delicious food at Sly Granny in Delhi’s Khan Market inadvertently reminds me of the way Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, Dali, and Stein rejoice in Midnight in Paris. By Rashima Nagpal
Part of a new cocktail series called The Explorer’s Club, conceptualised as an ode to travel, flights of fancy, new sensations and experiences, ‘Wanderlust’ is the theme of the quarter at Sly Granny’s Delhi and Bengaluru outlets. Expect eight colourful cocktails inspired by some of the most iconic cities and bars around the world—from London to New York and more. As I visit the Khan Market outlet to sample a few, sitting in the restaurant’s vintage-looking, artsy European bar, I find myself day-dreaming about Paris of the 1920s and the hedonistic soirees painted by Woody Allen in Midnight in Paris. Perhaps that’s what the drinks are supposed to do.
I begin with The Host, which is gin mixed with orange juice and bitters, inspired by the legendary Harry’s Bar in Venice, where Ernest Hemingway would often spend his evenings. Then Granny whips up a potent mix of vodka, ginger, activated charcoal, lime, and beetroot juice—called The Doctor—dedicated to the popular Savoy Hotel in London. If you are a whisky-sour person, try The Professor, which is classic bourbon mixed with egg whites, lemon juice, vanilla syrup, and a dash of tequila made aromatic with wood smoke. To remind you of Dante’s, the iconic Italian bar in New York’s Greenwich Village, the menu offers yet another beautiful gin-based cocktail made with port wine and touches of cardamom, toasted almonds, and orange juice—a smooth and subtle potion. If you are a fan of piña coladas, you ought to enjoy The Sailor, which is white rum blended with mango puree, coconut cream, pineapple juice, and lime—a take on the classic Singapore Sling. Seasonal much, and dedicated to Japan’s sakura, is The Samurai—whisky mixed with cherry-blossom infused white wine, gin, egg whites, peach, and yuzu lemon juice—inspired by Bar Hoshi in Tokyo. There’s another Tokyo-inspired cocktail on the menu: a creamy combination of white rum, agave syrup, lemon juice, and peanut sauce—aptly called The Shogun. The Count, vodka and orange zest mixed with dry vermouth and topped with blueberries is another Italian-inspired cocktail that works nicely as an aperitif.
I didn’t know what I’ve been missing until I had the kubaneh at Sly Granny. Traditionally a Yemenite bread, it is made in-house and comes complimentary at the beginning of your meals. Served with olive oil, balsamic, and a blob of freshly whipped butter, it sets my hopes for the rest of the food up there. You cannot go wrong with a classic mezze platter as a good accompaniment with your drinks; I am certainly going back for the roasty romesco, crumbled falafel, and pickled vegetables. The garlic bread baked with cheddar is cold by the time I dig in but crispy nevertheless. And unlike small toasties or pull-apart Italian buns, I like how the garlic bread at Sly Granny is slices cut of a baguette. A must-eat this season would be the peaches & brie on the menu; based with a layer of goat’s cheese, perfectly grilled peaches on a crusty toast, and drizzled with balsamic, the dish disappears from my plate within seconds. From the mains on the menu, the saffron couscous, which comes beautifully layered in grilled seasonal vegetables and a pool of romesco sauce, stands out.