Gurgaon has a new watering hole, and it’s taking the craft of cocktails & comfort food a notch higher. Nestled in the quaint Crosspoint Mall, that’s surrounded by the hustle & bustle of the city, Lock & Key has its location spot on for a speakeasy. With a fresh tipple tale being etched out in the millennium city, we got talking with restaurateur Rituu Memaani on what stirs this #NewInTown bar.
Making a switch from a career in advertising to hospitality, Rituu set out to fulfil her creative streak five years back. Post a successful and continuing stint with catering (Atara Hospitality), she recently ventured into the brick & mortar space of the food industry. Taking after the US prohibition-era of the 1920s, Lock & Key transports you to a world of secrecy, subtle excesses, and hushed tones. “We wanted to create a space for a mature audience, where the cocktails and food are equally important. What we were thinking of fit the bill for a prohibition era bar, and hence we came up with a speakeasy,” Memaani says on what sparked the idea for L&K. As you revisit the good old days with even better new cocktails, they offer innovative takes on the classics, such as the Elder Fashioned, a variation of the Old Fashioned, made with bourbon, bitters, elderflower reduction, and cherry smoke (we’ve got one in our hands by the time you finished reading this). Potent yet ultra-smooth on the palate, their full-bodied cocktails make for spirited evenings without any of that harsh sting.
It’s not the cocktails alone, Memaani shares that the entire experience has been designed to bring to you evenings full of leisure and banter, “I wanted to make everything mind-blowing for the person to experience. Be it good food or comfortable seating, each aspect was really important. Usually when people go to bars they underestimate food, but here they’ll be pleasantly surprised.” Speaking of food, their spanking menu boasts of dishes from diverse culinary traditions, Chicken Kiev to Bhuna Gosht Quesadilla to Burmese Khowsuey. On being asked about this melange-menu Rituu shares, “We wanted something interesting, and not keep to a particular format or restrict ourselves to just Indian or Italian, etc. The menu borders on the lines of comfort food, and we seek to constantly evolve it with time.” As their small and large plates take you around the world, we suggest you pencil in the Pesto Flatbread and Pulled Pork Samosas into that order.
As you sink into the plush chairs and indulge your Instagram with ‘if these walls could talk’ graffiti, their jazz & blues nights will have you tapping fingers against that cocktail glass. A live music aficionado, Memaani thought it essential to bring in this element, “I personally love live music, but you typically don’t get to experience live bands in the city. And when you do, it’s either really crowded or really loud. With L&K you listen to it in a very intimate environment, share requests, sing along…a culture very popular in Bengaluru but not so much in Delhi NCR.” Being involved and enjoying a conversation with the backdrop of immersive yet not invasive music, she aptly sums it up, “Live music is live music, nothing can beat that!” Celebrating this spirit they have live jazz nights complemented by a resident DJ every Friday and Saturday.
Cocktails, check. Food, check. Music, check. Dapper decor, check. With all boxes for a modern day speakeasy ticked, Memaani rounds off the Lock & Key experience perfectly, “It’s a place for when you don’t want to make too much of an effort, you can talk or be quiet, and still be relaxed. L&K is a place where people come to unwind.” As we reach the bottom of our third cocktail and this conversation, we bid adieu, but not without a note of Rituu’s must-try tipples: the Purple Haze if vodka is your poison, the 24 Carat and Elder Fashioned for ‘em whiskey folks.
#DSSCTopTip: Don’t skip their Detox Retox and Bhuna Gosht Quesadilla. Just don’t.