A World of its Own






Presenting New Delhi’s newest restaurant, The Hiatus, Clarion Collection, Qutab Hotel designed by Zeppelin Design and Environments.

 

The interiors of a restaurant are usually an extension of the cuisine. So, if the menu is Chinese, the eatery will incorporate design elements from the Far East and if pizzas and pastas are being served, decor cues from Italy can be found. Of course, whether the establishment is going for causal or fine dining also plays its part in designing, but by and large the gastronomic journey dictates the aesthetic one. However, what happens when what you are serving is world cuisine? The restaurant then turns into a canvas for creativity with only one rule — it should look stunning. This is also a tricky situation, where overdoing or filling it with bric-a-brac from all over the globe can lead to a tacky affair, while not placing enough elements can make the space look dull and boring. Following the glorious middle path and adding lots of panache is New Delhi’s newest restaurant, The Hiatus, Clarion Collection, Qutab Hotel.

At the onset itself Saurabh Bhandari, the managing director of the restaurant, was very clear that the interiors needed to be elegantly understated. So, he got on board Zeppelin Design and Environments, a New Delhi-based multidisciplinary design studio with an integrated team of design and marketing professionals. In a little less than four months the design team led by Somnath Sengupta transformed it into a chic eatery, where each space has its own story (and menu). Spread over 5,500 sq ft, The Hiatus is divided into four zones — the lounge bar, the dining area, the wine cellar and the outdoor space. Each of these areas deliver a cohesive but distinguishable choice of ambiance to the guests. As you enter, the H-Bar (short for Haitus-Bar) is the first space you lay your eyes on. It is high on energy and displays some of the most expensive alcohol including a bottle that retails at ` 6 lakh (one peg will cost you ` 30,000) on a chisel-finished dholpur stone backdrop. The bar counter is made of onyx and has been back-lit for added effect, while the structure is covered in glitzy metallic tiles. High steel and leatherite barstools complement the stainless steel laser cut out panels on the side. Across this are custom made comfortable sofas which are set against the backdrop of beveled glass. This space has its own menu and makes for a perfect lounge experience. The H-Bar seamlessly transitions into the dining space, complete with a private dining room. The menu here is designed to bridge the gap between the chef and the customer, where the chef personally caters to each of his customers, making their dining experience even better. Between the bar and the dining there are seven wine display units and one cigar humidor. At the junction of the two spaces is the smoking room, a large balcony that can also be booked for small get-togethers.

Unlike other restaurants that give a very small space to the kitchen, at The Hiatus, about one third of the space has been dedicated to it. In here is a rare treat, a special chef’s table for food critics and bloggers! This table, located on the first floor, gives you a great view of the kitchen and overlooks the outdoors. But if you want a private meal that is a luxurious experience, head to the basement, to the wine cellar. Surrounded by fine wines, you dine on a menu specially tailored for you, while sitting on leather high-back chairs (called Macintosh design) in gold, with a steel frame. This space seems dipped in luxe and comes with its private butler. For the flooring an Italian marble has been used, while the ceiling is a combination of gypsum and lacquered glass. However, if you want to bask in the calming glow of the sun, or enjoy a cool breeze in the evening, the open-air patio is the place to seat yourself. Rattan furniture complements the flooring, a combination of natural slate with slate chips. The patio also has a grill station lined with timber.

As for the food, try the rocket, apple and walnut salad; tomato and jasmine tea soup; smoked chicken and artichoke bruchetta with vodka cream or the Kimrone Kotban, fresh king prawns marinated in lemon rose water, paprika, coriander and garlic; and you won’t be disappointed. Hiatus means, ‘a pause or break in continuity in a sequence or activity’. True to its name, when you are at this restaurant, you get a chance to: pause the mundane and welcome the magical.

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