Desi by Design

Looking for lip-smacking delicacies and fine whiskies paired with stylish decor and fashionable fare? Head to Gurgaon’s Indian Grill Room by Segel Design Associates.

The mirrored backdrop, an Italian stone counter top, high chairs and a fine collection of whisky makes the bar of this restaurant very popular.

In A Room of One’s Own, English novelist Virginia Woolf said, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”. Food lovers and connoisseurs across the globe could not agree more with the writer. The Indian Grill Room in Gurgaon, Delhi-NCR is the perfect place to put the theory to test.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was this temple of tasty delights. Restaurateur and owner of the joint, Kamal Khattar approached his school friend, architect Nikhil Segel of Segel Design Associates, to visit a site for an eatery, a large space with a swimming pool outside. Once Kamal got Nikhil’s go-ahead, he bought the property and roped in restaurant consultant Bikram Singh. Just as they were leaning towards making it into a five star international-standard café, they went back to the drawing board. Why? Since Kamal was already in the restaurant business (he is the MD of Forte Grand in Chanakyapuri in Delhi), the duo had easy access to the kitchens where they enjoyed eating food straight from the tandoor. They believed that the distance the food travelled from the tandoor to the table changed its taste. Further, the proximity to the chef allowed the duo to request for minor changes to the food flavour. After one such appetizing session, Indian Grill Room took shape.

This passageway lined with black and white photographs of food being cooked in various parts of India and comfortable chairs allows you to relax
while you wait to be seated at the table.

Spread over 20,000 sq ft, the eating joint is like a Russian Matryoska doll, for as the space unfurls, new and exciting elements come to fore. The doors of the restaurant open to reveal a reception replete with the heady fragrance of mogra flowers. You can choose to wait here or in the passageway lined with chairs. The reception also forms the connecting link between all the spaces: a pathway to its right leads you to the dining; straight down is the formal bar; and to its left is a glass door that opens into the terrace for an alfresco meal.

I was first taken to the main section, indoors. A beautiful corridor lined with black and white photographs of food being cooked in various parts of India sets the mood. “We commissioned photographers to travel and click food,” says Kamal. Adding to the drama of this narrow walkway are wooden slats with LED lights. Before you take a step further, you can’t help but notice the intriguing patterns you are walking on. “These are handpicked ceramic tiles from Spain,” explains Nikhil. What’s interesting is that three to four different tiles that slightly differ in the intensity of the colour (terracotta or rust-red), shape and design have been used. Their abstract motifs in green and red give them an Indian appeal. The decor is a product of a lot of passion and planning — like why the architect has used laminate wooden flooring under the tables. “I love taking off my shoes while eating, and wanted to give others the same level of comfort,” says Nikhil.

Since the main dining area is intended to be a family space, the tables along the wall with arched windows (which, incidentally, hides a service passage behind), can be easily joined to cater to a large family.

A square Chef’s Table, ringed by high chairs, forms the centre of the room. When the chef cooks and serves, the guests can watch the meal being prepared and interact with him. Close to the walls are tables where food is served from the main kitchen. Here, seating comprises white leather seats and sofas accentuated with deep orange cushions huddled around dark wood tables. As for the walls, a resin-based wall-cladding forms an attractive feature. On one side, arched windows hide the service passage that connects the kitchen to the outdoors. Large brass serving spoons hanging on the main kitchen wall is an innovative touch. The ceiling is mostly exposed — except for some parts that are covered with a silk fabric from which industrial lights in the form of large metallic LED pendants are suspended. The restaurant also offers a private dining experience in a large corner of the indoor section, complete with a personal chef and a mini bar.

As for the main bar which is opposite the reception area, it is a well stocked whisky paradise. An imported Italian stone counter top, mirrored backdrop and comfortable seating make the place both cosy and classy. If the indoors was all about understated elegance, the outdoors revel in casual-chic. You will find rattan and wicker furniture with bright and colourful cushions, a water body in the centre and cabanas. On most evenings, the central area transforms into a performing section for musicians. For those hot summer days, guests can book air conditioned private cabanas that come with a butler.

That’s not all! Nikhil has also followed vaastu principles such as the direction of the kitchen and placement of the tables while designing. Clearly, not only does the restaurant offer a smorgasbord of flavours, its design is a confluence of creativity and passion.

CONCEPT
To build an open-plan and aesthetically designed space that allows guests to watch their food being prepared and personalize what’s on offer.

MATERIALS
Walls Resin-based wall cladding to imitate different types of stones, brick Flooring Imported Spanish ceramic tiles Ceiling Exposed, with fabric and wooden slats in some sections Furniture Custom-made.

FACT FILE
Project name Indian Grill Room Location Gurgaon Area 20,000 sq ft Firm Segel Design Associates Principal architect Nikhil Segel

Some more images…