The Millennium City has developed a thriving fine-dining and drinks culture in the recent years. However, it has very few original, conceptual restaurants of its own — most are outposts of existing successful ones, typically from Delhi. And so, it’s great to see Old World Hospitality, the group that has produced gems such as Indian Accent and Chor Bizarre, open doors to Comorin.
An ode to the country’s southern-most point, Cape Comorin, the restaurant is a journey through India’s flavours. The menu of regional dishes is designed by celebrated Chef Manish Malhotra. A cocktail bar, coffee bar, and a market to indulge in barware, tableware, and different foods to take home, Comorin strives to be an experience that shines beyond your everyday wine & dine.
The small outdoor seating makes for the perfect setting to enjoy the winter sun. Inside, you’re welcomed by high tables, a mix of solid wood and slender structured ones. Colours of the sea grace the walls, and the glass inlay on table tops keep up with the Cape Comorin theme. Both the bars and the market take up either sides, completing the contemporary design. The menu features small and large plates, and perhaps mindful of the intrinsic Indian trait of large groups and sharing, also an extra-large plate section.
The Sweet Corn Khichdi comes laden with sem ke beej (sword beans) on top and khakra on the side. The soft and sweet kernel is juxtaposed with the hard and spiced seeds, making it a fun discovery for the palate. If you favour the sweet and salty combination in your food, this should be a go-to. The Gunpowder Idli features roasted cashews and three chutneys — mint, coconut, and tomato. While the chutneys are fresh and burst with flavour, the idlis could be lighter on the oil. The Andhra Gongura Chicken is accompanied, interestingly with murruku, that crunchy snack South India binges on. The tender chicken is spiced well, with the flavours seeping in through its layers. And if you are one of those who have previously tried and loved the extremely-sour-slightly-spicy Gongura taste, then this dish is for you (it can make for a milder bite if you pair it with the murruku).
The Haleem carries a beautiful balance of spices, with butter toasties on the side; the smooth texture and creamy consistency make for an indulgent dish. The Mutton & Egg Bhurji is minced meat mixed with chunks of boiled egg. With a side of pita naan and masala hummus, it can be high on spices for some; a lighter take on the mix of flavours may just help the ingredients shine better. The Smoked Chicken Curry was the only large plate on the table, and a star. The naan dripping with butter, onions on the side, and rich, creamy curry is the excess you’d want to make room for.
The seafood is presented with equal expertise. Kanyakumari Crab Claws are served with a generous topping of almond flakes. And the never-fail combination of butter, pepper, and garlic with seafood hits the spot here too. The Green Chilli Prawns come sprinkled with black puffed rice. Mildly spicy and a zing of lemon to it, the prawns are a refreshing preparation. The Cheeni Malai Toast to conclude our lunch, it is made with brioche, fresh, thick malai, and sugar crystals and honeycomb chunks. The satisfying flavours of childhood memories carry a modern touch, making this dose of nostalgia a must-try.
Wine & Cocktails
Their collection of 24 wines spans across North America, Europe, India, Australia, and New Zealand. Take your pick of red, white, rose, or sparkling, alternatively you can pick from their extensive bar concoctions. Other than cocktails such as Neer More (green chilli infused tequila and yoghurt whip), and Nitro Mai Tai, they’ve got house liquors and a sous vide bar. The former lists the likes of Light Khus Vermouth and Walnut Bourbon, and the latter features infused alcohol. The gin infused with rose and hibiscus is a lovely mélange of fruity and floral flavours, with an aroma just as enticing.
As Chef Dhiraj Dargan shares, Comorin seeks to bring comfort home food known to all Indians under one roof. And there the restaurant certainly wins. While some preparations remain entirely traditional, others feature a modern take — like the pita naan, brioche, and hummus being part of the menu – and that adds to the concept. The bar is not to be missed, with the infusions and home liquors bringing forth innovative craft. With an in-house market, Comorin is conceptually a step forward.
Where: Plaza Level, Two Horizon Centre, Gurugram
Opening Hours: All days, 12 pm to 1 am
Recommended Dishes: Kanyakumari Crab Claws, Smoked Chicken Curry
Price: INR 3,000 plus taxes for two, with alcohol
Noise Level: Moderate
Service: Courteous and prompt
Video: Pranav Bhasin
All images: Pranav Bhasin