-By Rinku Madan
But when work was finished, the craftsman kept wishing that there were someone to ponder the plan of so great a work, to love its beauty, and to wonder at its vastness," remarked Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola — Italian renaissance philosopher.
Like the craftsman, I wished I was a ring encrusted in this magnificent jewel box. Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Self command is the main elegance." And the command of Biki Oberoi over elegance has been unparalleled, what with Amarvilas and Rajvilas, all epitomes of gorgeousness, and now the Oberoi Gurgaon.
I've read umpteen write-ups on this beautiful property, so this review is solely for the bar, well almost. Located on the first level overlooking the central reflection pool, a Valay Shende artpiece to greet, inlaid mother of pearl, Botticino and Thassos to step daintly on... the list is exhaustive.
Piano Bar creates an environment, which is to see and be seen at. For one, the bartender was decidedly not an old white guy in suspenders, who's been making the same drinks since 1963. There is nothing that you could possibly think of that you want in a bar that they don't offer. It's all very good to boot!! The very talented bar manager, Diksha Pande made me a watermelon and basil martini (martinis are their signature drinks), which is shaken or stirred at your table; the basil melon ratio was perfect.
The pianist in front of the gold-leafed wall serves as a good backdrop, though a tad loud. They make a fantastic Rob Roy (a martini with scotch instead of gin, also my grandfathers' signature drink). The Kir Royal aperitif was the way it should be. Come in the right mindset and this bar can be of a 'mad men', genre what with the beer served in beaten silver tankards and Vintage Cles De Ducs Armagnac.
Chef Anupam dished out gems almost as cute as himself. I had the small plate filet mignon, perfectly cooked. Also, the service was 100 per cent personalised, just as good as the meat.
The sushi platter by masterchef Masato Toida — I would come here and order it 20 million times or until I exploded. But on second thoughts, if that happened, the allure of Piano Bars' romanticality would get tarnished. So I wouldn't do it literally. Piano Bar is the new thinking man's bar... you get an expertly crafted cocktail in an iconic setting, and sometimes, you just want that. It's a sensory overload and I loved it. It's great for Delhi that does business by the day and shifts its mood to a live piano and artful cocktails in the evening.
So it's a combined scene, bright young things in Dolce Gabbana and seasoned veterans in bespoke suits. Though not strictly enforced, come wearing a collared button down, slacks and dress shoes.
And creating a convivial ambience, the hotel offers to its guests a cigar lounge. This intimate space, which received a coveted exemption from the smoking ban, deserves a separate write-up.
Nonetheless, it's one of the most romantic places for a date where I would go back in a heartbeat. And if this day is ever duplicated I would elope, no not in a staid Phantom but on a motorcycle. Let's see... Grungy Harleys aren't apt with the setting, so a Vintage Triumph it will be. (I'm allowed to dream guys!!). Sigh!"
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