While we had planned to have lunch at a restaurant on this glorious day, that we would end up going to Impromptu of all places was quite the spontaneous decision.
I had been avoiding visiting Impromptu for the longest of time. I’m not sure why, there wasn’t any particular reason, except maybe that often I’ve been disappointed by “popular” places that have a certain aura about them. Don’t ask me what exactly because I can’t describe it, it’s more a feeling.
However, I’m also one who doesn’t mind being proved wrong, and when food is involved, you can prove me wrong all day every day.
A restaurant that serves a pretty mind-boggling mixture of cuisines – Mexican, Jamaican, Indian, Chinese, South African, Italian… – and with rather diverse options – wraps, burgers, soups, pizza, curries – the most basic aspect that stood out was that it’s a stand-alone restaurant. Situated outside a business center – but within the complex – the lushness of a well-manicured garden surrounds this greenhouse like building. A small space for outside seating, casual and very picnic like, makes it perfect for warm winter afternoons in this region or as was the case when I visited, the ideal place for a barbecue or a birthday celebration.
Inside, the seating is relatively sparse, comfortable, with a room that has high ceilings and large windows giving the restaurant a pleasantly open and grand ambiance.
Even though we had visited on a fairly busy weekend, the service at Impromptu was welcoming with just the right amount of recommendations and suggestions that are not too in-your-face nor one with attitude or aloofness.
The menu though is full of surprises. But first, a surprise of a different kind; when ordering the Minestrone soup, the staff was quick to inquire if we’d like it “one into two”. Now that’s a phrase I haven’t heard for a long time. It brings back nostalgia from eating at smaller, more homegrown restaurants, where it’s common and often expected to get one soup dish divided into two parts, but I sure didn’t expect the offer to come at Impromptu. It was however very much welcomed.
While my parents dug into their usual Daal/Roti platters, I was more excited about having a Bunny Chow – A South African street-food which comprises of hollow bread loaded with a filling. It has a certain simplicity to it, with that added touch of drama, that makes it more of a fun eat than anything else – think, soup in a bread that one gets in some European countries. At Impromptu, there is a choice of three fillings available out of which I went ahead with the Butter Chicken Masala.
Rich in the masala the Bunny Chow was everything I had expected it to be. Served in as street a serving plate as you can get in a restaurant of this stature, the bread was soft, the chicken deliciously spicy and juicy, and if there is one recommendation I could make, it would be to add a little more gravy that the bread can then really soak up. However, I had been wanting to eat a Bunny Chow for quite some time, so finding it on the menu was the highlight of the day for me.
The street magic continued with the rather mundane Paneer Wrap which thankfully came loaded, both with flavour and ingredients. I must confess that it was my wife’s choice, and sometimes looking at the food she orders when we are out to “fancy” restaurants, makes me wonder why we even left home in the first place.
Lastly, to make lunch a more “African” affair, there was a Moroccan Fish that come on a bed on Couscous and a colourful fresh salad for its caudal fin. The fish ticked all the right boxes in terms of flavour, look, healthy eating, and taste.
Impromptu on weekends also has a buffet which includes a combination of salads, freshly prepared starters, and a combination of Indian and Chinese for the main courses.
Another refreshing aspect of the food prepared at Impromptu is that for certain dishes they let the customers choose the main ingredients along with the type of gravy they would like and then make it fresh based on the order. While it might lead to a slightly longer preparation time – which wasn’t all that much – the food is guaranteed to be a lot fresher.
I can see myself going back to Impromptu. It has a certain charm that many a restaurants lack in this day and age. Whether it is the surroundings, the laid-back nature of it all, or even just for the food, there’s a lot that makes Impromptu an attractive option when deciding on a place to have a meal.