Curated menus, International chefs and partnerships and perfectly marketed campaigns – just some baggage modern day restaurants come with. With slick execution and social-media-based business models becoming the go-to in the F&B industry, it seems like the age old stratagem of creating something successful with good old labour of love is becoming rare. While blueprints will never be unimportant, it’s the universal thought that any food experience made with one’s heart and soul is bound to find success – and that’s exactly what we found at Together at 12th.
Opened last week at Le Meridien Gurugram, the restaurant name refers to the 12th floor it’s on. The height makes it privy to the rare views to an all-green biodiversity park on one side and city lights on the other. The kitchen is helmed by Chef Vanshika Bhatia, who brings experience from restaurants like Noma, Gaggan, and Junoon, and closer home you may have gotten a taste of her skills at Ek Bar and Piso 16. And the bar is led by mixologist Nitin Tewari, who’s previously been associated with hotel brands such as Taj, Oberoi, and Hyatt. Nitin’s wife and two other friends of theirs form the team that put together the restaurant. And it is while conversing with them that the passion and love for constructing a model that celebrates people coming together for a memorable time sits at the foundation of Together at 12th.
Mature millennial in essence, it checks all the boxes you’d want from a restaurant in 2019 – in-house edible plants, dedicated selfie spots, a wall with names of all those who’ve been involved in the project, a specially illustrated cocktail menu, and rose gold hues. Seating about 100 diners at once, they’ve restrained from sticking to any particular cuisine. Calling themselves ‘freestyle’, Chef Bhatia explains that it is to focus on seasonal ingredients and create a menu off those, based on time of the year and availability. Add to that following zero waste, using international cooking techniques, and dishes that evoke nostalgia, and you know the team is with the times.
The freshness of ingredients is apparent across all the dishes, as is the innovation that’s gone in. Here’s a peek: The chefs used their homegrown sugarcane leaves to cook chicken when they couldn’t get their hands on bamboo leaves, Bhatia shares, as she plucks a fresh broccoli flower and encourages me to eat it – intense flavour and amplified love for broccoli is the result. The Star Fruit and Sweet Potato appetiser is a mix of tart and sweet flavours, where the star fruit is compressed and the sweet potato is roasted and smoked. The fruity and earthy tastes taking one back to the street vendors selling shakarkandi and kamrakh chaat.
The Kolkata Betki, Coconut, Mustard comes with a fish tartare in pita bread, baked potato on a bed of spinach and sprinkled with Bengali mustard seeds. The raw fish smell is high, but if you’re not one to be turned off by that, give this dish a go. The strong mustard flavour makes it a must-try for those who’re fans. The Chicken, Tamarind, Peanut, Tree Spinach is a dish of chicken encased in tamarind terrine, with a side of English pickle. The Pork, Timur, Hempseed, Apple is pork belly with hemp chutney and apple bacon jam. All three are done expertly, the sweet-savoury jam and smoky chutney competing with the pork to be the star of the dish. The meats are flavoursome and done well, though the tamarind terrine and the pork belly get hard to knife through and could do better if they retained some of the hard texture.
The Upcycled Tortellini is stuffed pasta made from leftover shreds of vegetables, actioning the ‘using every part of the ingredient’ philosophy. The mish-mash of veggies results in a pleasant burst of tastes on the palate. The Fish of the Day, Squid, Prawn, Bisque, Cauliflower is a seafood bisque. The creamy soup keeps it light, and cleanly brings out the sea produce – balancing it with caramalised cauliflower. The decadent four-layered chocolate cake seeks to ring home nostalgia with homemade crackle on the side. And the dessert offerings have something for everyone, from berries to rose to pineapple.
They’re yet to get the liquor license, but the cocktail menu is as spirited as the food one. Great view, wonderful food, and a staff striving to give you an excellent experience, Together at 12th has it to be the next go-to hotspot on the Gurugram-Delhi border.
Where: 12th Floor, Le Meridien, Sector 26, M.G. Road Gurgaon Delhi Gurgaon, Border, Gurugram
Opening hours: From 12 pm-12:30 am, all days
Recommended dishes: Upcycled Tortellini
Price: INR 3,000 for two, plus taxes and without alcohol
Noise level: Low
All images: Courtesy Together at 12th