Some things in this world are better left out of debate. Like people start reading the newspaper from the sports page, a doctor will always treat you as just another subject, engineering dreams will end with selling products and fulfilling others’ dreams, and a true mo-biker will always look for beer and meat!
Though India – one of the largest two-wheeler markets in the world – is yet to take up motorcycling as a culture, those who do must enjoy some privileges. So, when one was told about a new restaurant in Delhi that has ‘a dedicated parking for super bikes’, feeling curious was but natural. Primarily, it was to check out if it’s just another business gimmick. And thus we enter Porterhaus.
A German name that has grill and steak written all over it and an American Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Deluxe at the entrance – it was evident that subtlety was not the game plan here. But then, the town had been lacking a good steakhouse, so going a bit over the top was okay.
It was nice to start with, for sure – wood and dark leather décor; walls with the customary The Wild Ride poster; shining little BMW and HD super bike replicas; The Archies crooning “Sugar, sugar” in the background…
A heavy black booklet came as the menu. A rather elaborate one, it was unmistakably American with a hint of Mediterranean, French and Italian thrown in. A roasted beetroot with orange gel salad and a salmon ceviche with lemon foam for starters, we decided. Even though Bourbon may have been the norm, we chose Baileys as a cooler option.
We were here for the steak, mind it, but this one needs a mention – the sweetness of slow-roasted beetroots, ricotta, the tangy home-grown mustard along with the slight pungency of rocket leaves and fresh micro-greens, all engulfed by the light and very delicate flavour of the orange gel that covered the salad. The pretty-looking salmon ceviche served in a cocktail glass, with sour cream and lime, was wonderful but Round 1 went to the beetroots. In fact, the drink was a bit of a disappointment – I like Baileys best with just about two-three cubes of ice. The overdose of crushed ice here diluted its rich taste.
Seeing my choice of drink for the evening, it was recommended that I try the Griffon’s Cappuccino, a special dessert described as “a richer version of Baileys”. Served in a cocktail glass, it’s a creamy concoction with a heavenly coffee flavour. “Drink your dessert”, I shall tell my friends when we visit here.
Good as the food is, it’s hard to take your eyes off the biking posters and other paraphernalia displayed around the room. Porterhaus owner Kuldip has “quite a few of them”. Meaning motorbikes. Then there are others in a pan-India group who like to ride out on their 1000 CC-plus beasts often. And though they are a handful of people, nonetheless their machines are every man’s desire. While the price of just one Soft Tail can easily fetch you two cars, there are hardly any dedicated parking spaces for them in India. And when the riders park, they usually head for some steaks, grills, burgers and beer – hence, Porterhaus. The place even has a cigar club where people can buy, store their cigars in a temperature controlled space, and return any time for a smoke.
For the Hells Angels variety of bikers – or for anyone feeling tough and brave – Porterhaus has a burger-challenge: three 8oz-layers of prime red meat sandwiched between layers of freshly baked jumbo burger buns to evoke the monster within. That, plus a pint of either beer or milkshake along with two sides, has to be polished off in 30 minutes.
I skipped the challenge and ordered the Classic Wellington. Tender buff fillets wrapped in chicken and mushroom pâté, bacon strips and puff pastry – the Wellington was a delight. A bit moist may have made it perfect (that’s your choice) but the port wine jus does it for you. The buns are home-baked and, quite impressively, don’t crumble.
Having wolfed down so much, the idea of dessert seemed rather doubtful. But there’s always a separate space in your stomach for desserts! The fruit and nut parcels served with wine-infused ice-cream and banana-caramel ice-cream was the sweet ending. Oh, and we did “drink the dessert”.
Where: Porterhaus, DLF South Court, Saket
Time: From 11am - 1am
Cost: Rs 2800 (for two persons)
(With inputs from Sanchita Guha)