Even if you have never been to a city, you could still be familiar with it. You may have picked up its sights and sounds from films like 8 Mile or video games like Detroit: Become Human. Your childhood fascination with cars and locomotives may have taken you on a historical trail of that city, especially along the bylanes where Henry Ford manufactured the Model T—the first affordable automobile. If you have consumed a healthy amount of pop culture, it is very likely that all those visuals in your head that evoke American grunge and industry are from none other than Detroit.
But when I stepped into one of the newest restaurants by Bareback Hospitality Group’s Ajit Singh and Arpan Gupta, Detroit Garage Kitchen and Bar, the place did not reflect the same brand of familiarity I refer to. It was more nuanced, and had brought home a larger slice of the city than what pop culture had fed me: Detroit had made its way to Delhi.
For most tables, red leather seats, as in old cars, made for dining chairs. But for a few, the complete frames of old 1930s and 1940s convertibles were ‘converted’ into tables. Car parts painted white and arranged into a collage of paraphernalia on the walls, amped up the décor. There were shutters, graffiti, the front half of a Detroit-style truck housing a DJ console, a floor that resembled tarmac, washrooms with hollow tyres for washbasins and the cherry on the top: an old convertible placed above a car-lift that could shuttle me from the restaurant’s ground floor to the first and then back.
If the décor of a restaurant had arrived, could food be far behind? Once grub entered the picture, Detroit Garage Kitchen and Bar did, indeed, shift the stick to the fifth. The menu was a hearty mix of European, Indian, American and South East Asian offerings.
Things began with a cheesy trio of mini macs (with its good and tarty soft base, and homey mac and cheese), cottage cheese jammers (paneer skewers essentially, but with the added crispness of noodles) and Detroit dogs (well-done corndogs, an American street food favourite). However, starter number four trumped the whole cheesy affair: dynamite prawn crackers (crispy, spicy and a dynamite explosion of flavour). In the main course department, I was thrown a curveball right away with a cheetoz pizza, which was exactly what it sounds like. Swallowing my cynicism, I took a bite and it was, surprisingly, quite good. Interestingly, it was the grilled chicken leg (red-wine soaked), an otherwise safe bet, which did not win much of the love. But by the time we pulled over to the dessert corner, a nicety in the form of churros dipped in banana sauce (a treat for the sweet tooth) was there to help us conclude our meal at a high.
Lastly, the buzz in the town is that the place has already found a sizeable clientele, courtesy its gigs, location, food and beverage, and ability to make everyone have a good time. So now that not just us, but the city has given its verdict, it is time you head to Detroit—not just the Michigan capital, but the Garage Kitchen and Bar.
Address: F 40, II Floor, Rajiv Chowk, Block F, Connaught Place, New Delhi .
Meal for two: Rs. 1,500, excluding drinks and taxes.
Timings: 12pm to 1am