Now that there’s more than a nip in the air it seems the fashionably ironic thing to do to visit Summer House Café, already much vaunted as a nightlife destination.
The restaurant sprawls over two floors of the Aurobindo Place market, encompassing a fully stocked indoor area ringed by alfresco seating and a large airy terrace with a faux-VW van serving as a rooftop bar. The menu is voluminous, with dishes from across the world, like snapshots from vacation albums; a medley of international favourites, soul food, sharing platters and individual big plates. The libations list is long and licentious, with several strata of spirits floating around in its ether, apart from an extensive cocktail collection.
In our effort at irony, and also because we see the latter being ordered by a majority of tables, we start with the Sizzled Red Chicken and the non-veg Mezze Platter, a mainstay of warmer months and climes.
The platter swarms in first, a wooden board bedecked with chicken and fish marinated in zaatar and sumac respectively, lamb parcels, hummus, baba ghanoush, tzatziki, tabboule, pickled veggies, pita bread, and most promisingly a bowl filled with olives, which most eateries neglect to supply. Piping hot, tender and delicately flavoured, the fish and chicken, the former fabulously flaky, are quickly dispensed with along with the accoutrements; the crispy parcels providing a pleasing contrast in both texture and taste. The sizzled chicken soon comes in a billow of steam, radioactive red and skewered and accompanied by a correspondingly lurid chipotle mayonnaise, the flavour is as fiery as the name suggests, all to the good.
We order the Summer House Tenderloin Chili with Rice and a Char grilled Chicken Burger for our mains, both dishes throwing up images of sun-drenched, beer-soaked cookouts and the smell of a well flamed barbecue. The chili comes resplendent in a white china bowl, nestled among long grained rice and accompanied by batter fried onion rings. Enmeshed with mince, roasted peppers and refried beans, the chili is one of those dishes which soon has you scraping the bottom of the bowl, chasing behind every errant scrap like a cowboy in a corral. The burger, while less likely to inspire metaphors, is more than adequate with a party to bun ratio that heavily skewed in favour of the former.
Still not convinced we’ve flogged the summer-winter thing to death, we order the Mega Ice Cream Sundae Mug, a dessert as atavistic as it sounds, comprising a gargantuan glass mug crammed with ice cream, chocolate sauce, nuts and squared-off chunks of squidgy brownie. Defying the weather doesn’t get much tastier.
Meal for two: Rs 1800 ( with taxes, excluding alcohol)