Saavdhaan! The colonel is in town. Though you will be “at-ease or vishraam” with this one! As a kid who grew up in Army cantonments, seeing contingents march all day, dining in the mess, playing in the training grounds and diligently going too see all parades on special occasions, the concept of an army theme restaurant got me curious and thinking about 38 Barracks.
The cafe gives a vibrant aura of colonel’s ‘barrack’. The walls are adorned with shields, old guns and other collectibles. To an outsider it appears to be very army-ish, as some of my friends nodded convincingly, but it somehow misses the mark for me. This is not to say that the interiors are not very appealing. The cafe has a teal tone (instead of the olive military green), which makes it bright and full of life. The restaurant has live music and their singer deserves a special mention for his soothing melodious voice. It was a pleasure listening to him.
We were greeted with a fruit entree, which had a bite-sized watermelon topped with cream and a small slice of bitter grapefruit. Next up were the assorted bruschetta. This was rather a strange one. I have never had coloured breads topped with artichokes. It was quite dry and looked a little bizarre as well. The ice chicken pate were quite delicious. The bread was crispy and the chicken was juicy and full of flavours. My favourite were the crispy and equally moist chicken panko strips. Another delicious vegetarian entree was the bocconcini and tomato rolls with pesto sauce. The tomatoes were tangy and cool and the combination with cheese and pesto was a delight for my taste buds. The tikkas and grills were absolutely balanced in terms of spices. The cheese and mushroom corn tart had an unusual sugary flavour. The pastry was quite sweet.
The monster burger caught everyone’s eye. The sheer size of this burger made us wonder how in the world will we be able to eat this gigantic burger. I managed to cut myself a tiny sliver out of the huge burger pie. The bun was a little dry but the burger tasted good along with the harissa and chipotle dressing. The chicken asparagus roll was a little chewy and dry, probably a little over cooked. But it had a pleasant citrusy tinge which added a lot of tropical flavours to the dish. I order a watermelon basil and mint mocktail which was by far the best watermelon flavoured drink I had. The basil was not overpowering and it was not very sugary. Each sip of this concoction was very refreshing. On the contrary the strawberry slushie was very sweet for my taste.
The main course was a full Indian meal with the staple dal makhani, palak paneer, veg biryani, dhaniya murgh masala and naan. The flavours were as good as a sumptuous home cooked meal.
For the dessert the chef made nitrogen ice cream along with walnut brownie crumble. I wish he hadn’t added the sugary fruit crush to it. I tasted kiwi and mango flavours and the crush was over powering the creaminess of the ice cream. The plain vanilla with the brownie would have been a classic choice.
Overall the food was great and a thumbs up for the chef, the staff and their melodious young singer! 38 barracks is a great place for nice casual outing with family or friends!