Discovering new places to eat, even if they have been in the city for some time, is always interesting. It took my brother-in-law visiting us for the first time with his new (and only and first, just to be clear) wife for us to search for a new place to eat in the cosmopolitan city of Gurgaon, which has become somewhat of a destination for hardcore foodies in the North of India.
The Indian Grill Room or IGR is situated on Golf Course Road in one of the many malls/office complexes that have sprung up at every nook and corner of this city of high-rises. Don't let the professional office like exterior of the building fool you though, for the restaurant is beautifully decorated, spacious, and comes with its very own terrace which is perfect for enjoying food during those warm wintery afternoons and cool evenings. The music being played was at just the right volume and well selected; something that a number of restaurants usually get wrong. The ambience of the entire restaurant, outside and inside, adds to a wonderful eating experience.
IGR follows the same concept made popular by The Great Kabab Factory. It's basically an all you can eat menu of freshly made kababs served at your table followed by a buffet for the main course. The only difference between the two restaurants would be that the main course is also served on the table in The Great Kabab Factory whereas in the case of IGR it is laid out, something that I very much preferred.
Jumping right in, the kababs were delicious. The vegetarian options were a tad limited, but the non-vegetarian options were plentiful. The other good thing about IGR is that both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian options cost the same, so if you are a non-vegetarian you can always try the vegetarian options since the hosts are not at all picky about that. IGR also has a fixed menu, and I am yet to try that, but in all honesty I was quite happy with the buffet.
The main course buffet had enough variety to satisfy most stomachs. It is obviously not as extensive as buffets in other restaurants, but that is expected since Kababs are the main draw of IGR. I especially liked their concept of make-your-own Raita. Various breads were freshly made on order and served hot and crispy. Overall, the food gets full marks. The dessert gets a special mention though. The Phirni and the Paan Ice Cream were simply divine, and I still get cravings for them a good two weeks after my visit. Both these desserts should be tried and cherished wholeheartedly.
Now, the only negative aspect of our visit had to be the service which was atrocious. On arrival it was assumed we were returning guests, even though it was our first time there. No one cared to explain to us the concept, what was included (especially in the case of drinks), and how much the Sunday lunch buffet cost. Yes, I am aware we could have asked, but then what’s the point of reviewing a restaurant? All we were able to make out was that Fresh Lime with Soda was chargeable whereas the same with water was not. We were seated, asked whether we wanted veg or non-veg options and if we wanted bottled water, and within five minutes the kababs started arriving. Had we have not known and read about the place before it would have been even more annoying. Furthermore, there were constant interruptions by the waiters. It was fine till the kababs were being served since repeat orders were being made, but unfortunately the interruptions continued afterwards as well. They also seemed in somewhat of a hurry to remove our plates, even though the place was almost empty and it was nowhere close to closing time. In fact, when I finally said it was okay to take my plate, the waiter went on to pick up the plate of another person who was still eating.
The Sunday Brunch at the Indian Grill Room cost roughly Rs. 1000,- per person and it's certainly not a bad deal. The food is without a doubt brilliant. In addition, a special thanks to the hosts for not charging for my 5-year-old daughter who hardly ate, even though they initially said that 50% of the buffet cost will be charged. That was a good gesture on their part. For such a lovely place with good food, a little bit of polishing is required in the servicing department. While everyone was very courteous certain modalities were ignored. Other than the service, The Indian Grill Room gets TWO THUMBS UP!
Suggestion - After my visit to the IGR I finally managed to devise a plan for the next time and below are some suggestions I would recommend to everyone;
1. Whether you are going for Lunch or Dinner, make sure you go on an empty stomach. The entire purpose of visiting IGR is to enjoy their juicy kababs and you need all the space possible in your stomach for them.
2. If you eat non-vegetarian food, preferably opt for that. Firstly, you will end up with more choice and the kababs really were that great (Yes! I am aware I have praised them a number of times in the review).
3. Keep your drinking limited so you can enjoy your food.
4. Order the Roomali Roti while eating the kababs. It goes well with them.
5. Skip the main course, or maybe try it, but fill up on the kababs. The main course is great, nothing bad about it, but I just felt that the kababs should be cherished more.
6. No matter what you do or what you eat, keep some space for the dessert.
7. After you are done be prepared to burp!