It’s a Sunday night at Miso Sexy in Delhi. The diner’s terrace is packed with people grooving to pulsating music as they enjoy their drinks and gaze out at the view of the 12th century Qutub Minar. One could easily sense the urge to party hard and make up for the time lost indoors while people recovered from covid.
Mehrauli in Delhi has long been a hotspot for party goers, but over the past few months, there has been an increase in the number of new bars and restaurants. Quite a few new designer stores have also made Mehrauli their home, drawing more hipsters to it. Beyond the old, favourite party spaces of Olive, Bo Tai, Rooh and Qla are a bunch of newer players in and around the Ambawatta Complex, Most of them offer an incredible view of the Qutub, open-air seating, great drinks and electrifying music.
Diablo is loved for its music, while Miso Sexy offers a fantastic view of Qutub and the sunset. Bougie makes for a serene open-air spot if you want to get away from noise and crowds. Swan and Bo Tai, on the other hand, stand out thanks to the carefully curated menu and decor.
Digital creator Mehak Sharma, who regularly visits the complex, especially during weekends, says, “Considering there are so many restaurants in the vicinity of the Qutub, it’s ideal for party hopping or a pub crawl. Also, most of these places are spacious with both indoor and outdoor seating. The great valet service along with polite staff is a bonus.”
Fellow party goer and stylist Ruby Bhatia says, “Mehrauli has become a bar lane now. I love the fact that there are multiple choices, from a coffee bar to a pub to a lounge to ‘club-like’ spots offering a panoply of cuisines.”
Priyank Sukhija, chief executive and managing director of First Fiddle restaurants which run Diablo, Miso Sexy and Bougie, says that given its location, Mehrauli is convenient for Delhites as well as those from other parts of the National Capital Region. “Mehrauli has everything going for it. Offering a green belt and being a heritage site, it has a vibe that is found nowhere else in the Capital,” he says. “The cherry on top are the open-air terrace restaurants.”
Dildeep Kalra, too, believes the open-air space is a big draw. “It has been gaining a lot more popularity lately,” says Kalra, the director of Massive Restaurants, which manages Bo Tai and Swan. “Visual aesthetics have definitely taken precedence over everything else, especially after the pandemic.”
Like revenge shopping, revenge partying has also helped make Mehrauli, which lies near the Delhi-Gurugram border, a party hotspot, especially since it’s a convenient location for people living both in Delhi and in Gurugram. Smart casuals is the dress code at most of these restaurants, which means people can also walk in straight from the office after work.
No matter what the location or ambience, no restaurant can be a hit if the food is not good.
As Samrat Banerjee, director of operations, at Rooh, puts it, “The real game that retains customers is the food and beverage quality of a restaurant. You also need good ambience with music and great service. You have to stay on trend in terms of the food and beverages you serve. You have to be careful of the flavour of the season, to attract more people.”
Mehrauli faces competition from restaurants across Delhi, with new spots opening up in Khan Market and Connaught Place every month. So how are Mehrauli restaurants ensuring a steady flow of guests?
“You have to keep reinventing yourself,” says Kalra. “The idea is to unlearn and relearn. We constantly upscale and are hands on when it comes to picking up current food and music trends. Of course, the challenges are many. But we want to create a different experience for the customer every time they visit us. That is the only way to be able to stay at the top of the game,” explains Kalra.
Consistency is key yet one has to tread a fine line to avoid becoming predictable or boring.
Sukhija says they make it a point to regularly host events such as Groove La Afrika at Bougie and Saturday Night Live at Miso Sexy, to ensure that the crowd keeps coming back.
“That way, the patrons know exactly where to go if they’re craving a particular vibe, instead of going to different places and being unsure of what to expect. The same idea applies to daytime patrons as well, which is why we have morning menus as well as brunches every Sunday at MisoSexy,” he explains.