The décor of the restaurant would lead you to assume that the owner has come army connect. Rifles, medals, trophies add to the setting that looks like a colonel’s home. Meet Ankur Agarwal, the owner, and you’d know that the only connect with army he has was a long conversation with a stranger he met on train on his way to Shimla. “I used to be fascinated by army life as a kid. Strangely, when I met this gentleman on train I was a little anxious and at loss of words to carry a conversation. The journey progressed and so did out the conversation. The entire discussion broke all the prejudices I had in mind and told me so much more that I was in absolute awe of our army men. He told me about his life in different barracks,” shares Ankur.
The journey ended and Ankur got back to his life back in Delhi, running a successful restaurant called Movida in Connnaught Place. The conversation stayed n Ankur’s head for a long time and it was recently that it became the source of inspiration for him to start a brand new restaurant! Movida was soon replaced by 38 Barracks.
Designed imagining a colonel’s home, the restaurant is divided into different sections- the locker room, the living room, balcony etc of the house. A small basement space can be used for private gatherings.
Special attention has been paid in getting little elements – like old photographs, mementoes, suitcases etc – together to create the desired ambiance.
Food & Drinks:
Does the passion that has gone into creating the theme reflect in food and drinks as well? Yes, somewhat. The names of the dishes and drinks certainly reflect the theme. The drinks menu named “Top Secret” shows names like Aviation, Chief of Staff, AK-47 etc. I was impressed seeing the varieties of Sangria on offer. Of the 5 kinds available, I tried Homemade Sangria (Rs 295) and loved it. Brandy, triple sec and red wine mixed with soaked citrus fruits, it is a refreshing drink. The chef insisted on us trying Military Camp (Rs 185), a mocktail as well.
Though the presentation makes you think of the now common (and perhaps overused) word ‘molecular gastronomy’, Ankur likes to refrain from it. Progressive cuisine is what he prefers.
The food menu is extensive with some of the items reflecting the theme. Honestly, I would have loved to see a limited menu here serving select well researched dishes in accordance to the theme. But I guess, something-for-everyone makes it a safe to operate in a market like Connaught Place (especially this block which has other good restaurants in the vicinity). So, Italian, Mediterranean, Indian, Oriental – it has it all.
Of the dishes I tried and genuinely liked are: Paneer Tikka Barrel, Seafood Pao Bhaji, and Beetroot Galouti. I went for the review a few days ago but I still distinctly remember the taste of these three items. They were that good.
Paneer Tikka Barrel (Rs 325) is a modern take on the good old snack. Served in barrel shape, it is stuffed with nuts and raisins and grilled in salamander. The cheese is amazingly fresh and the flavours blend wonderfully. Intriguingly, it is served with buttermilk.
Seafood Pao Bhaji (Rs 645). This dish seems to have come right out of my foodie dream! I haven’t heard of this experimentation before. The bhaji is a mish-mash of calamari, prawns and fishes sans potatoes. Delicious.
Apart from this, I highly recommend Beetroot Galouti (Rs 325). Succulent in flavor yet crispy on the outside, this is one of the finest vegetarian kebabs I have had.
Watch Chef Gautam Chaudhary talk about this fantastic dish:
Other than these you can try Malaysian Chicken Satay, Soldier Mirchi Vada and Spanakopita (small wrap filled with spinach and feta cheese. Be careful while eating; the stuffing is super hot!)
38 Barracks isn’t a just another me-too restaurant in Connuaght Place. It has a soul, taste and distinct identity. Do try and share your experience with us.
Where: M-38, Outer Circle, Connaught Place
Cuisine: North Indian, Chinese, Continental
Cost: Rs 1500 for two approx