What strikes you first is the light—natural diffused gold in the day; edgy, glamorous red at night. The space comes next. Artist, copywriter and designer Freddy Birdy’s work skillfully blends vintage disco balls with modern chandeliers, classic portraits with antique stained glass, and red couches with minimalistic chairs. Oriental wallpaper offsets crimson walls; plants from the trellis garden balance velvet and gold underneath. On first look, The Kimono Club seems to live up to its vision of being the most glamorous room in the capital.
The opening at The Kimono Club saw the whose who of Delhi dressed in their clubbing best. The invites that went out contained crystal wine glasses and a Japanese fan with the clubs sign on it. Kimono clad men swayed on the bar counter even as mythical Geishas added oomph to the party — and the sparking red disco balls brought along the 1920s vibe to life.
The latest offering from Ashish Dev Kapur and Joydeep Singh’s camp, The Kimono Club is not just a pretty place though. With exquisite champagnes, cocktails inspired by the Silk Route, and modern Asian cuisine designed by chef Vikramjit Roy of Whikey Samba, Tian, and Wasabi by Morimoto, the restaurant cum club promises to bring niche entertainment and premium dining under one roof – think swinging Geishas, dancing Kimono men, neon lights and electric music that is spread across three distinct spaces — including an alfresco enclosure.
We start with the champagne button – a quirky concept unique to the place. Press the vintage brass bell and you have a Champagne Butler at your service. You could choose a glass from the champagne menu or get yourself a refreshing cocktail – also made with champagne and home made cordials. There is also frozen martini poured straight from the bottle and Silk Route inspired drinks in flavours of truffle (flash frozen with oil and decanted), negroni, dill and sugarcane. The exhaustive cocktail menu, informs Akhilesh Sheoran, the sommelier, took a few months to conceive but was done completely in house. The exhaustive list of wines and champagnes are some of world’s finest. I try the Kafir Lime and Blueberry, Lemon and Thyme, and Passion Fruit cordial, move on to Olive Martini and continue with fermented strawberry and rosemary in Chandon Brut. By the time the amuse bouche arrives, I am already a happy person. A slew of small plates follow.
“Let me do this for you,” I am wondering if I should keep looking at the beautiful plate served on the ice bed when chef Vikramjit Roy offers to mix his signature Tuna Tartar for us. Made with caviar, Japanese tuna belly, miso cream cheese, tobiko and barley miso, this is his take on the classic Tuna Tartar. While the added elements add drama and texture, they do not take away its soul, which, according to chef Roy, is sacrosanct.
Even though there is much to distract — the shiny disco balls, the red velvet sofas, the unending wine walls, andthe vintage decor — the food still shines through at The Kimono Club. That chef Vikrmajit Roy brings especially sourced ingredients in simple yet delectable plates may have something to do with it. That his adaptation doesn’t take away the authenticity could be another.
“Food has to connect with your palate,” says chef Roy while serving us his signature spring chicken sourced from a farm in Pune, “without that there is no joy in eating.” And so, the food his kitchen serves hits the right spots. The dumplings, made in the open kitchen, are perfectly formed; the sushi is gloriously umami, and the small plates with interesting combinations like spinach with sesame sauce, tofu and fried onions, sweet potato and cream cheese gratifying. Home made ingredients like soy sauce, freshly ground wasabi, creamy silken tofu and hand made udon meanwhile stand out for their freshness and quality.
What stands out most however is the attention given to every dish and every little detail. No two things taste alike, everything stands out on its own; the desserts are as many as and beautiful as the mains, and there is plenty for those who may be teetotaler or vegetarian — something one doesn’t easily find in today’s time. But then, The Kimono Club is not from this time, it is far ahead of it.
The Kimono Club, LG,DLF Chanakya Mall, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, Delhi 110021. Timings: 12PM-1:00AM. Reservations: 099107 82198. Meal for two without alcohol: Rs25,00 (aprox). With Alcohol Rs. 4500 (aprox).
A version of this story first appeared in CondeNast India.