Is it a retail space? Is it a home décor and furniture exhibition? Is it a vibrant pan-Asian restaurant that serves quirky food that is also delicious? Yes, oui, ja. While Plum by the design studio Bent Chair may have furthered the emerging global trend of retail dining in India, it has, more so, catapulted what could have otherwise been a niche segment into the mainstream. The whole of Mumbai and Delhi are going gaga over Plum, and that’s testament enough.
But does the place put its money where the word of mouth is? When I recently attended an event hosted there by travel and food writer Rupali Dean, so seemed the case. It is fittingly located in Worldmark; for the uninitiated, that’s a mixed-use space for offices, stores and restaurants in Delhi’s swanky Aerocity hospitality district. (Or the city’s answer to downtown Singapore. Works either way.)
The place is announced by a colossal purple winged bear—inspired by artist Lawrence Argent’s ‘big blue bear’; this one’s called ‘plummy bear’—trying to peak indoors. Upon entering, one immediately discovers what may have caught the animal’s fancy: a psychedelic, iridescent mish-mash of décor elements, lightings and furniture. And, yes, on a spectrum ranging from ‘garish’ to ‘tasteful’, it is the latter times two.
Planters of all shapes and sizes loomed over my head; the colour plum was used as a motif everywhere, especially the solid walls; Warhol-esque paintings and wall plates enhanced the polychromatic experience; chandeliers evoked an art nouveau-like rusticity; there were changing lights at the bar (just in case you thought you had the place mapped); each table was unique and so was every chair; and so many patterns and themes still somehow managed to make sense together. My descriptions will never do the décor justice: you have to see it for yourself, and see it to believe it.
And once you are over the aesthetic, make way to the food. Bent Chair, started by Natasha Jain and her father Neeraj Jain, is exclusively a design studio. For Plum, it entered into a collaboration with First Fiddle F&B Pvt Ltd, owned by Priyanka Sukhija, known for established brands such as Tamasha, Warehouse Café and The Flying Saucer. It really helps to have onboard chef Sagar Bajaj, who you should be able to recognise if you’ve sauntered Delhi’s nightlife scene in the past decade.
As all good meals do, mine began with sushi (salmon truffle cream cheese) and dim sums (dynamic prawn). I had a strong bias for the former—I mean salmon, truffle and cream cheese, all in the same bite? This place really knows the way to a person’s heart—but the latter proved to be a pleasant surprise. A strong, delicious prawn flavour, it had to be another salmon item, this time a pizza, which managed to top it. The fermented garlic oil chicken with soy noodles was another treat, one that kept flavours balanced; it wasn’t too oily, and who doesn’t like soy noodles? In the dessert space, the indulgent Nutella banana uramaki—a pleasant surprise, since it was meant to resemble sushi—was everything one needed to sum up a wonderful culinary experience.
Very rarely do I enjoy every cocktail I order at a restaurant. That wasn’t the case at Plum by Bent Chair. These three stood out in particular:
Smoked Plum Negroni
Two words: plum liqueur. This take on a classic Italian gin-based cocktail hits all the right smoky notes.
Fig in Fashion
Who knew the lovechild of an old fashioned and a fig-infused bourbon would result in a deliciously complex concoction?
Elderflower and Blueberries Spritzer
Courtesy the elderflower and blueberries, it appears to be a work of art. It tastes no different either.
Price range: ₹ 1,800 for two people
Address: The Walk, Worldmark 2, Aerocity, New Delhi