It’s close to 24 hours and I can’t even think about eating. I’m stuffed. You could hang me up on your trophy wall and people wouldn’t know the difference. It’s been ages since I have had this much food. “This much”, in case you’re wondering, is what I mean when I extend my hands in opposite directions and stretch to the maximum.
Indian Bistro Company might have a fancy modern name but at its heart it’s as “desi” as it gets. The idea is to replicate a college canteen and so one side of the wall is plastered with pages from comics and the other screens cricket matches. Comics and Cricket pretty much covers basic college essentials. Unfortunately for those looking for some booze (I hate that word) you’ll have to fill up someplace else before or after your meal. I’m not complaining since alcohol was never an issue for me; I’m okay having it and equally fine not having it.
The decor at Indian Bistro Company is quite chic with printed cushions, retro-styled table and chairs, and of course the above mentioned comic wall. There are knick-knacks all around, placed in a very subtle manner, that would in an instance take you back to your school/college canteen. The Staff is dressed in everyday casuals, no uniforms, and I actually like that since it competes the whole picture.
Those of you who read my reviews, and I know there has to be at least some (Hi MOM!), would know that I’m never in favour of places that serve too many varied cuisines. So, I’m happy to say Indian Bistro Company has a firm grip over their menu. There are enough non-vegetarian and vegetarian options but within limits and they stay true to serving canteen styled food with their egg preparations, the all time favourite and now infamous Maggie, kababs (not exactly canteen food but you’d always find a good kabab shop outside your college on a “thela” probably) and lastly paranthas and curry items.
Here’s a word of caution though; the prices at Indian Bistro Company are quite deceptive. You can be forgiven for believing that such nominal prices would have a catch and as in most cases it would be the quantities being meagre. But, you’d be wrong and in fact it’s the exact opposite. Not aware of their quantities, we (3 adults and one child) went ahead and ordered three of their Chef’s Signature Chur Chur Paranthas, one naan, two curries, raita, and two appetisers along with a drink each. The fact that we had part of the food for lunch the next day should give you an idea of the quantities.
Volume aside the quality of the ingredients was fresh and wholesome, but everything finally boils down to taste in the end and this is where Indian Bistro Company scores maximum points;
The Paneer Malai Tikka with the soft melting paneer was a treat especially for the kids since it wasn’t spicy at all. The green chutney that accompanied many-an-items was freshly made and unlike the coloured extra-smooth version I’ve found at other establishments that just shouts fake.
The Dahi ke Kabab came cut in half and were done in a dark batter which on inquiry turned out to be due to the baked palak they infused in it. This in turn added a whole new dimension with the addition of slight bitterness to the taste. The moderately tough (not hard) outer shell with the soft oozing dahi filling inside was just perfect.
For our main meal we ordered one of each, the paneer pyaz adraki (cottage cheese), gobi pyaz achari (cauliflower), and aaloo pyaz lehsooni (Potato) Chur Chur Paranthas. They were able to exclude a few ingredients, like lehson, on request from one and go light on the adrak in another. Crunchy and well stuffed, the Paranthas are quite a sight when they come stacked up in a mound on the plate. Add to that generous helpings of Panner Makhni and Gatte ki Sabzi, I just looked at the food on the table for a good five minutes no knowing where or rather how to begin.
The Paneer Makhni with its sweet gravy (and we were informed of this at the time of ordering) was creamy and delectable. I’m a born sucker for all things paneer so noting irks me more than a bad paneer dish, but here all three options I tried (parantha, tikka, curry) passed with flying colours.
The Gatte ki Sabzi too had a nice, slightly spicy curry but the Gatta was a tad chewy. I would have liked if it was cooked a little more to the point where it should disintegrate easily once in the mouth. Besides this the only other recommendation I would make is that the mixed Raita could have been a little less runny.
I’ll go off on a tangent here and mention that the staff was super friendly throughout the meal and this included bringing boiled veggies for my 18 month old son and also taking care of him when he wouldn’t let us eat. Not only were they forthcoming with suggestions but were quite chatty in a good non-intrusive manner. Moreover they were knowledgeable about the food being served and recommended that we must have their Dal Makhani with the Chur Chur parantha. Even though we were hesitant since we already couldn’t think about finishing what was already on the table, they brought us a bowl of the Dal to try and it was certainly worth it. The Dal Makhni has a very homemade feel to it and while it wasn’t as smooth as say Dal Bukhara (which I’m guessing is a good five times in price if not more) it clearly showed that the Chef was proud of his creation and it undoubtedly complimented the paranthas which in return complimented the Dal; they truly are a match made in heaven.
The drinks which included an Aam Panna (served in a mason jar), a sweet lime soda, a sweet lime in water (for the little one), and Chaach were all perfect with good taste and quantities. Sometimes the best of places gets something as basic as Sweet Lime Soda wrong, but I found the one served here to be just right in terms of sweetness and saltiness with the right amount of acidity from the lime. The Aam Panna with bits of mango pulp in it was especially tasty.
My visit to Indian Bistro Company was certainly not what I expected. I came looking for good food but instead I found it to be excellent. I liked how the staff was proud of the food they served. It wasn’t about earning money or running a business but a genuine liking for the culinary art, something that I hardly ever find in restaurants these days, but also noticed a similar passion and love for food at Di Ghent recently.
Indian Bistro Company has been labelled as a “Hidden Gem” in Gurgaon by Zomato and I completely agree with that. May it be because of the location (being part of an office complex) or the fact that people just haven’t been there, I really hope that they continue to keep up with their admirable service and simplistic yet exceptional food because I can certainly see myself visiting them again and again in the near future.
The biggest surprise though and a disclosure on my behalf would be when the management/staff refused to give us the bill stating that the meal was “on-the-house”. I did object to the same but they were very sweet about it and quite persistent and I did finally give in. Now, I did have a Zomato discount coupon (for Rs. 1000) that I was using, but the staff wasn’t aware that I write reviews or who I was (and let’s be realistic here, I’m nowhere close to being a well-known foodie… Yet). They also assured me that they inform first time customers if they have ordered more than they can eat telling them about the quantities, but because they wanted us to taste a variety of their food, they didn’t really say much. They did however make sure at the time of ordering if we were all vegetarians (to avoid any mishaps) which I think is always a good practice.
In the end I would like to clarify that in no way is my review biased because of not having to pay the bill. It was a pleasant surprise and I’m thankful to the management and also the Chef(s) for the outstanding food. I was also not obligated to write a review on the restaurant and this is being done on my own accord.