Aerocity is steadily rising to become #OurCity’s go-to food hub. Opening doors in January 2018, Playground at JW Marriott is the newest kid on the block. So, we made our way to this ascendant dining destination for an evening of drinks and debauchery. The sprawling space had us revelling in Playground’s three moods — a food truck with alfresco seating; a brew bar, with a chic and cool vibe, that is fit for day meetings and relaxed evenings alike; and an invite-only speakeasy, for their most discerning patrons. The food offered is a medley of tapas style small plates from across the globe along with a barbeque selection.
Marvelling at the graffiti-adorned food truck through a gleaming glass facade, we seated ourselves in the comfortable brew bar to have our first taste of the menu. The daintily dressed Artisanal Burrata graced the table swimming in a shallow pool of flavourful tomato consommé, surrounded with heirloom tomatoes and young arugula, sprinkled with pine nuts, and dabbed with basil pesto. The flavor of the creamy, luscious Italian cheese (procured from a dairy farm in Gujarat) was accentuated by a drizzle of Ligurian olive oil and a sprinkle of piquant tomato salt. We washed it down with the sharp Green Grass Spritzer comprised of fennel, apple, celery, and bubbles, for a soft start to a heady evening. Up next were fresh Balik Salmon medallions which made us gleam with their fine plating and generous portion; the caviar on top packed in an indulgent bite. A tad more smokiness, characteristic of this specific preparation, would’ve been the crowning stroke.
Enticed by the signature cocktail menu we opted for PBJ: Peanut Butter Jelly — a well-made whisky sour with a subtle hint of jelly sans peanut butter. The cocktails won us over one more time when we were told the syrups and shrubs are all made in-house. Pairing these stellar drinks with Porcini Ragout and Pecorino from the Tapas section got a rather appreciative nod at the tasting table. The chef’s interesting take on this top nosh comes with earthy flavours from a ragout made of porcini and chanterelle mushrooms, punctuated by slivers of salty Pecorino cheese — all seated on a bed of toasted ciabatta bread. We’ve already booked a table and placed an advance order for this one. Real Playground Nachos followed close. Dressed with a three-cheese blend, jalapenos, sour cream, and Pico De Gallo, they make for an apt bar nibble.
Raising the bar-o-meter considerably was the potent Spicy Pineapple Margarita that our ebullient bartender for the night mixed with tequila, pineapple, spices, and finished with a salted rim. The masterfully prepared drink intertwined the sweetness of pineapple with the headiness of tequila and borrowed a kick from the habanero pepper and pink peppercorns in the most alluring manner. On our next visit, we plan to chug down at least a dozen of the 40 craft beers that the brew bar prides itself on.
The Ultimate Playground Chicken Wings are offered in five flavours that range between ‘mild’ and ‘suicidal’. Our appreciation for the wings grew as we moved up the scoville scale. The Spanish classic Gambas al Ajillo came seated in a zingy sauce prepared with garlic, white wine, lemon, and parsley; three more minutes in the pan could’ve helped the shrimp carry the flavour of the sauce better. Before we knew, it was time for gintos, and we particularly relished the infusion of orange. The citrus burst had us swooning as we prepared to chomp on the Baby Back Ribs. The spectacularly presented pork ribs smoked inside a glass tomb came bedaubed in a BBQ sauce with a side of country fries and a salad. Their Smoke House Burger is what all chowhounds dreams of. Built up with a pork patty, fried egg, bacon, and cheese, on a bed of crunchy lettuce, with smears of apple chutney, confit tomato, and confit onions, the burger burst open upon the first bite. Next up was the Arabic Wrap, dusted with sumac, carrying pickled vegetables in its belly, and accompanied by hummus, salad, and fries. It made for a satisfying portion, one that we’d make a dash for, anytime before a marathon meeting.
Whilst bursting at the seams, we kept with the tradition of not drawing the curtains on supper without dessert. Our first, was a rich and creamy citrus-scented Lime Cheesecake topped with homemade berry jams, lemon curd, pistachio crumble, and edible flowers. We’re big on citrus and this one gave us weak knees. The second, an intense 66% Valrhona Chocolate Cake accompanied with a mild-flavoured vanilla bean ice-cream and a silken caramel sauce, which balanced the overall flavours on the plate befittingly. We washed it down with Rose Caffeine Fix, a cold brew tonic with, you guessed it right, a hint of rose — a refreshing post-supper drink.
Make your way here for a casual evening with great drinks and food to match.
Head Here: JW Marriott Delhi NCR, Asset Area 4, Hospitality District, Aerocity, New Delhi.
Lose wallet weight: INR 3500 for two (with a round of drinks) approximately.