Another hat in Delhi’s burgeoning contemporary Japanese culinary scene, the trendy fine dining restaurant, Kiko-bā in Basant Lok is trendy and suitable for dinner and drinks with friends.
Basant Lok is nostalgic for anyone who has grown up in the city and has been a favourite with the expat community residing nearby. From the first McDonald’s in the country to the city’s first modern theatre PVR Priya, the market in many ways has always offered a taste of what is yet to come. While the market fell prey to seedy elements, it is now transforming (and cleaning) itself and is a promising contender for becoming the city’s nightlife centre again.
Kiko-bā has the potential of transforming itself from a Japanese-inspired Pan Asian fine-dine restaurant to a bar conducive to great conversations. The lighting, acoustics, uptempo music and a sip of their delectable cocktails get the chi flowing. The L-shaped seating easily splits the place in two parts – the bar and seating with views of the promenade through the big bay windows and a more discreet dining area. Sparse but with heavy use of wood and stone, the Scandinavian design aesthetic is blended with the Japanese love for symmetry of clean lines and light. The space designed by Studio Majimé creates a sense of everything in place harboured by both cultures.
The contemporary cuisine at Kiko-bā is designed around the concept of shapeshifting tanukis who bring good luck. The food at Kiko-bā follows a similar metamorphosis, authentic Asian flavours from Shibuya, Sichuan, Cantonese and Yunnan are crafted with a contemporary twist. The dishes and palettes are traditional but the culinary presentation is modern.
The restaurant opening might have been delayed courtesy the pandemic but the restaurant on a Friday night is abuzz with people waiting to get a taste of this new Asian joint in town. The menu has been curated by Vaibhav Bhargave, previously involved with restaurants like Guppy By Ai, The Drunken Botanist, Vietnom, and Takashi. The chefs inclination to a vegan cause is seen with the judicious use of avocado and tofu on the menu. Edamame emerges as the first love here with options like Steamed Edamame, Spicy Edamame, Nanami Togarashi Edamame and Truffle Edamame on their Little’s or appetiser menu. If you’re indulging in drinks then then Shichimi Edamame Hummus with Root Vegetable Chips is a mighty fine take on your mom’s chip-dip.
A fairly generous space next to the bar is dedicated to the Robata, the Japanese barbecue that introduces the concept of fireside cooking to the menu. Corn on the Cob, Shiitake Mushrooms and more are grilled to perfection. The Robata styled grilled delicacies can add some nutritional sense to what will be a gluttony of an evening. The mains called Bigs are well paired with the rice dishes of which the Truffle Scented Mushroom Wok Tossed Fried Rice comes highly recommended.
The restaurant is a great place for a dinner date as well as grabbing drinks with friends. The cocktails are worthy of a try, and gin lovers can pick between the potent Sakitini (a gin martini with Japanese Sake) or the Moosh with floral and citrus hints. The Ba-Me Scotch cocktail for those with a smoky palette.
Chef Vaibhav Bharghave highly recommends Kiko-bā’s signature, Toffee Pudding, Caramel Sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream for the finale.
As the restaurant finally opens doors in Basant Lok its abuzz with beautiful people sampling beautifully plated food. The reasons to return to this contemporary dining space are the cold Spinach Gomai salad with a sesame dressing, the creamy Edamame Hummus and of course, a spiffy cocktail. The well-aired dining area is forgiving for large family gatherings and for cocktails by the bar.
Address: Kiko-bā, 62 Basant Lok, Vasant Vihar, Delhi
Price: Rs 2,500 for two (without alcohol).
Ambience: Lively, sit down.
All images: Courtesy brand