Social Offline Food Review : Stop By For a Drink
Riyaaz Amlani (from the fame of Mocha cafe and Smoke House Deli) recently unveiled his latest venture, Social Offline, in Bangalore and Delhi. There was a time when Mocha was the thing. Well, that coffee house seems pale in comparison to what Impressario (Riyaaz’s company) has to offer today. We checked out the Hauz Khas Social. They’ve managed to score themselves an excellent spot; the only cafe around where you don’t have to climb endless flights of stairs to get a good view of the lake. If you haven’t already read the detailed space review on Trend Police, then allow me to give you a quick walk-through.
Social Offline offers you an office set-up, which is everything unlike a serious business space. Here, the lines between work and play are blurred. Picture an open living room, communal tables, eclectic wooden furniture, with a well-thought out menu of food and cocktails. If you’re a freelance writer who believes in the Write-Drunk-Edit-Sober School of Thought. You know where to head.
Since they’ve created a laze space for people to stay throughout the day, EBR needs to make sure that the food and drinks are upto the mark. Here’s all that you need to know before you drop in for a visit:
Artfully Plated and Playfully Named Dishes
Since I’d already heard rave reviews about the food at Church Street Social in Bangalore, I decided to skip breakfast. Famished, before I noticed the decor (quirky) or the view (gorgeous), I reached for the menu. Unfortunately it took me another fifteen minutes before I could narrow down what I’d like to eat. Their super extensive food and drinks listing managed to make my decision tough.
Unrestricted to a certain cuisine, the team seems to have had a good time preparing the dishes, meddling with traditional recipes. They’ve fused flavours we’d never imagined could blend. Case in Point: They’ve added Mango aachar to their caprioska and are serving batter fried calamari topped with gunpowder. They do have a few traditional dishes (chicken wings), but it’s fun to experiment with the unfamiliar. The variety of ingredients used in the menu is also commendable – from sriaja, gunpowder, peri peri to the vindaloo paste. The mix and match of flavours has worked in their favour.
The plating is equally quirky and unorthodox. Expect your dishes to be served on gramophone records, enamel plates and even wooden chopping boards. The drinks in miniature bath tubs, beakers or traditional martabans. Each dish has been styled uniquely, adding an element of surprise.
Tried and Tested : Food
Okay, getting down to business – how good is the food? The names might be creative, and the dishes unconventional. But at EBR, it all narrows down to the taste and flavour.
- Social Wake & Bake (Rs. 250) : Starting off with some wholesome breakfast, this dish is for those who want to get started with their work early. It included milk, cereal, fruits, croissant, toast and a choice of coffee or tea. The croissant was just the right consistency and the fruits went well in the mix. The coffee served with it was rich, frothy and hot.
- Lamb Massaman Curry (Rs. 380) : Moving on, I tried their slow cooked Lamb Massaman Curry. Served in a traditional martaban, the coconut curry was mildly spicy with woody and earthy notes. The papad served on the side was a thoughtful touch to break down the meal.
- D.I.Y Kheema Bruschettas (Rs. 250) : Like most of the dishes on Social’s menu, this one was one of a kind. The paintbrush that accompanied the dish was helpful in brushing on the right amount of olive oil. On the side they’ve given kheema masala and a tomato onion salad. Both were well seasoned and complemented the bread well, though the kheema masala was slightly too greasy for my liking.
In terms of service, our first waiter struggled to suggest the right dish and excused himself quickly. Overall, they were attentive and once the right guy was found, he had plenty of recommendations for everyone at the table. The food arrived soon, so no complaints in that department.
Art of Drinking
I’ve always regarded cocktails as ones with too much fluff and too little quantity. But the ‘Social Signatures’ managed to lure me and with a little help from my friends, I tried a few.
- Deconstructed Moscow Mule (Rs. 250) : It’s served in a mule mug, with a beaker tied up in muslin cloth with smoked Vodka and a pipette with bitters. Since I dislike the taste of ginger, the drink wasn’t for me, though everyone else seemed impressed.
- Aachoroska (Rs. 250) : aptly served in a traditional martabaan, fuses together Vodka, fresh mint and Indian mango pickle. A blend we had never imagined we’d ever try, let alone enjoy.
- Screw Social Driver (Rs. 250) : This one wasn’t anything extraordinary, except the way it was served. They added an actual screwdriver as a stirrer (hazardous choice?) and served it in a beaker.
- The Longest Long Island Iced Tea (Rs. 950, 1000ml) : It comes in a choice of three flavours. I tried the one with Blue Curacao and red bull. This drink already has a terrible reputation, and the size Social offers makes it more lethal. The idea is that you don’t need to bother to find your way back to the bar for a refill. And they’re right, one is enough.
Warning: They’re liberal with the alcohol. The buzz well dressed in flavour, tends to sneak up on you. If you share my opinion about cocktails, then you could stick to the regular classics. They offer some interesting imported poisons.
We also tried their milkshakes:
- Oreo Mud Pot Shake (Rs. 180): Designed to resemble a small garden plant pot. It’s a consistent combination of Oreo and whipped cream, with a delicious brownie base. The taste was surprisingly smooth. Although, it might be a little too sweet for some people.
- Social Shake (Rs. 180) : is a fresh take on a standard chocolate shake. It has a subtle coffee flavour and crunchy biscuity bits, which adds an interesting kick.
The effort gone behind building an interesting menu shines through. The team seems to have made it their mission to make the food and drinks an experience rather than just an ordinary meal. The one thing sorely missed on the menu was a section dedicated to cakes, cookies and cupcakes. When sipping on a piping cuppa, a gooey red velvet slice on the side would be more than welcome.
We’d recommend you visit the Hauz Khas Social with a large group of friends and try out several dishes. Each option on their menu is customised and their prices won’t pinch your pockets. The endless list is fit for freelancers, who would spend hours parked on the couch struggling to meet deadlines and at the same time, appropriate for a night out bar hopping.
And now, presenting our first food and drinks video review: We speak to Shishir Rane, their Brand Experience Manager, as he serves up some of Social’s delicious cocktails. Check it out:
- Endless options
- Innovative Plating
- Good flavour
- Value for money
- Greasy food
- Lack of desserts