What does a lounge, a food truck and a speakeasy have in common? That’s a question one may well ask about this JW Marriott New Delhi property. Walk across the foyer, pass Akira Back’s restaurant, and you arrive at their newest venture—Playground. A mishmash of styles, Playground tries to offer different experiences to patrons—from the casual to the elusive.
The first thing that caught our eye was the food truck, parked across the lounge. It’s not the truck per se but the vibrant graffiti on it that draws you. Yogesh Saini (of Delhi Street Art) has used blues, pinks and reds to brighten the mood. Unlike in cities such as Austin and New York where such trucks, each with specialty foods, are part and parcel of everyday work life, the concept is still growing here. The one in Playground offers an assortment of snacks on the go. Choose between falafel or hot dogs, or upgrade to Canadian poutine among other options.
The second part of Playground is the lounge itself, an expansive space with a bar at one end and walls with splashes of colour that complement the truck outside. Music plays in the dimly lit space. There’s even a drum set for those who fancy themselves the next Ringo Starr or John Bonham. Last but not least, go behind a wall to the exclusive speakeasy Playground boasts of. Its private entrance and invite-only policy creates a heady atmosphere. The bar inside boasts of coveted bottles and prized malts along with plush leather sofas.
Among the small plates and delicious cocktails, we preferred the latter. We do enjoy a good beer (this place lists 40 different kinds), but cocktails are their benchmark. Mixologist Tzvika Furman takes centre stage as he creates new among the old. The Spicy Pineapple Margarita is recommended. The habanero and pineapple together with tequila and pink peppercorns create just the mood one needs after a long week. The Tel Aviv native playfully uses herbs and fruits to create freshness in every glass.
Playground prides itself in using exquisite ingredients, flying them in from the source. The Artesanal Burrata served over heirloom tomatoes and a clear tomato consommé was a refreshing start to the evening. The Balik salmon that followed, served with avocado, rocket leaves and pine nuts, was again incredibly fresh. Our favourite was the gorgeous porcini ragout with pecorino on ciabatta. They call it tapas in reference to the quintessential Spanish small plate, and we would definitely recommend it. It’s vegetarian-friendly and the use of truffle oil heightens the flavours.
The prawns (Gambas al Ajillo) and purple potato croquettes fell short of expectations, as did the ‘Hungover Burger’—a massive one-pound tenderloin patty, to be shared after a night of drunken stupor. The smoked pork ribs were ordinary, as were the chicken wings. However, the Valrhona Chocolate Cake more than made up for that. The combination of fudge cake, vanilla ice cream and cookie crumb is a classic, and left a delicious aftertaste as the evening drew to a close.
JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity; Asset Area 4, Hospitality District, Aerocity; Tel: +91-11-45212121