Review: House of Nomads Makes Exotic Affordable
The new gastro bar at Taj Land’s End has some heady drinks and toothsome bites at pocket-friendly prices
It’s a beautiful rain-washed evening, the kind of weather that makes you want to stay outdoors rather than step inside, especially if you’re by the sea. And so, as we step into the House of Nomads, the Gastro bar at Taj Land’s End, we throw a sidelong glance at the open sea outside. Let us quickly add that it takes no more than a few moments inside this newly-launched old-fashioned bar with a lively vibe to acquiesce in what promises to be a beautiful evening with friends. The chic, brick and wood paneled interiors, a central island bar lit with mellow tungsten lighting and crafted from brass and knots of timber; and a robust collection of spirits displayed right across the entrance, add a spring in our step, as we walk past the bar stools to settle down in the relaxed, fine dining section of the gastro bar.
The name strikes us as unusual and we’re tossing it in our mind, until the affable general manager joins our table. Why House of Nomads, we ask him. By this time, the spirits have begun their job, and Parveen Chander Kumar’s passionate response sounds just short of prose. We’re all urban nomads, globe-trotters, living in and absorbing different cultures and culinary influences, people who wear our patchwork identities with pride. He wanted to build a cozy evening roost, a melting pot of sorts, where the nomads—you and I, basically—can unwind in its charming English Deco-inspired ambience, as we sip on the finest spirits from beautiful crystal glasses, and dig our slender forks into a thoughtfully curated menu. AlI this, in the company of other wandering nomads.
First the spirits…
The beverage menu has some innovative cocktails that are surprisingly light on the pocket. It’s a deliberate strategy, says Kumar. The House of Nomads wants to stay within the reach of both the upstart millennial as well as the evolved Gen X. The wine list is extensive, and award-winning mixologist Andrew Pearson has done a thorough job of planning the beverage menu, and training the staff to keep the drama alive. Speaking of drama, the Minus Five Martini, comes in “blast chilled Martini glasses” with a thermometer mixing spoon, pointing at a temperature of, you guessed it, minus five—because Tanquerey or Ketel One, that’s how freezing cold your Martini should be served!
A section of cocktails labelled Man Up (for the modern man, says the fine print) clearly seeks to address the misplaced ‘femininity’ attached to cocktails. Ladies, if you like your drink to look you boldly in the eye, we’d recommend you skip the hyper-feminine, seductively sweet Chanel No. 6, a concoction of Ketel One vodka with lychee and coconut juice, and an edible molecular lipstick. Turn over to the Man Up section instead. Specifically the Islay Smoked Sour, with Johnnie Walker Black Label, Caol Ila, ginger, honey, served over block ice and finished with a smokey Islay sea salt foam. We’d have doffed our hat, surely, if we were wearing one.
Then the Nibbles…
Borrowing from different cuisines like Spanish, Italian, American and Indian, the whole idea of the minimal food menu at the House of Nomad is to enhance the drinking experience. They have kept the flavours simple, and that is their magic sauce.
The Burrata seasoned with basil, olive oil and a generous addition of broken Focaccia whetted our appetite. Dig into the burrata parcels, and you have fresh curd and cream that mixed with the other ingredients pouring out.
The lightly seasoned, crusty flatbread with arugula, truffle and parmesan shavings will perfectly pair with any of their signature drinks.
Although the menu suggests each item is a small bite, the Total Lamb Pie with Tangy Tomato Chutney will surprise you. Scoring full marks with the plating, it seemed like a deceptively humble pie. A glob of dense tomato chutney sits prettily atop the pie and an aromatic jus is poured around it. As we chewed on a bite-sized portion mixed with the chutney and jus, the tender lamb chunks and sublime tangy-spicy flavour catapulted it to the top of our list of the best pies in the city. We were so impressed that we spoke to the chef who told us that the tomatoes are braised in stout beer for the chutney. The lamb is cooked for three hours and the jus is a concoction of red wine, rosemary and thyme, that takes almost three days to prepare. It is one of those fulfilling food experiences that demand complete attention.
We weren’t too keen on dessert for it felt the lamb pie had saturated all our cravings, but who wouldn’t be curious about a Sangria Trifle? The light sponge cake was soaked in sangria and layered with fresh fruits and thick cream. It took barely a few seconds for the dessert to disappear from the table.
House of Nomads does a neat job of providing a five-star experience at a pocket-friendly price. Most items—both drinks and eats—are clear winners, you can see the kind of preparation that has gone into perfecting them. Hand carved ham from Parma, parchment of cured meats and eggplant—exotic and not out of reach. We’d say, this place will keep your spirits high. And for this, we give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5.
Price: INR 3000 for two (including taxes)