As the clock strikes 4, Team DSSC steps into Sly Granny in Khan Market to join the notorious grandmother for a session of English Afternoon Tea, as she throws open the doors of her Delhi home to the discerning diner — NOT foodie (what does that even mean?). Over sips of fine tea, bites of loaded nibbles, and bubbly thrown in for good measure, we coax the granny to reveal what went into the making of her new home. We quiz her about the larger-than-life Arnie wallpapers that adorn Sly Granny walls, the enticingly arranged food that makes one effortlessly pour out all gossip, and everything in between.
Good afternoon Granny. Bangalore being home turf, what made you acquire your vacation home in Delhi?
I began my Azure journey 10 years ago with the opening of Mamagoto at Khan Market in Delhi. This charming old market housing narrow lanes and intimate spaces spread across different floors, brings back a lot of naughty memories. Since these were all old homes, it was a logical fit for me to roll in and set up shop when I found a space available.
Grandma, your Delhi home is gathering conversation around its art and fabulous wallpapers. How did the design process take shape?
Ah Arnie gotta grab eyeballs, no? Whilst designing the home I looked at what was missing around and clubbed that with my vision of the space. Since most of what I do comes with an element of quirk, I wanted my Khan Market home to be cheeky and humorous to a certain extent. So, I got brainstorming with Chetana Sharma who works on all my brand identity and we liked the idea of showcasing my hots for retro Arnie. All this hipster stuff isn’t my style.
Gran, may we request you to take Team DSSC through your hand-picked ‘curiosities’ from the tipples menu at your vacation home?
I will begin with telling you about my books. Their titles range from ‘How to organise the perfect funeral’ to ‘A husband’s guide to disappearing’, and they often come handy. Apart from these, I often pick up antique bar accessories and little bottles to store my concoctions and bitters. Then there is all the art and my sweets. Granny’s gotta have sweets, no?
Loving Grannie, how did you end up concocting the Breakfast Bramble? Be truthful to your age grannie, and admit to us if the cocktail Chase & Status was indeed slyly named after Arnie?
I’ve been drinking gin longer that Margaret Thatcher, so Breakfast Bramble is a good way to get out of bed. Not sure about the alleged Chase & Status angle but there are some Delhi tributes to this list. Name Dropper and Kitty Lunch Special ring a bell? *Sly sly granny*
Grandmother, while strolling down the by-lanes of Khan Market, we heard whispers of dedicated ‘gossip hours’ that commence during afternoons in your new home. Tell us more?
I love to catch up with neighbours and friends during late afternoons for my daily dose of gossip over a cup of tea or a tipple, who cares? To ensure no one’s holding secrets, I serve up proper English High Tea with a personal addition of Prosecco to get my facts right. After hours are usually reserved for straight up cocktails at the parlour; we prefer you be good children and walk up with a full tummy.
Dearest Granny, tell us about the menu at your parlour? If we were to rely on your wisdom and recommendations, what should our order comprise of?
I go with 10% research and 90% instinct while putting together the menu. Luckily, my chefs agree and we keep changing dishes every few months. Like most things in my life, I’m also agnostic towards my food, so there will always be eclectic dishes from various cuisines or whatever we feel tastes good. Granny recommends Deconstructed Cheese Toast, Chicken Liver Pâté, Salmon Gravalax with dill sauce, Saffron Couscous with romesco, Duck Ragout Tagliatelle, Brie en Croute, along with Banana Pudding and Apple Pie to finish off the meal on a sweet note.
Bangalore has the advantage of access to some fabulous produce, Gran. How did you tweak the menu to adapt to what Delhi offers?
We fly in a bunch of the good stuff that isn’t available in Delhi. My pork ribs come from Coimbatore and my wickedness comes from within.
Kabir Suri and Rahul Khanna are your trusted boys, grannie. What is their vision with Sly?
The whole industry is busy capturing the attention of under 25 year olds, chasing nachos and warm beer. That’s not how we roll. Some casual sophistication for the discerning folk who value their time, money, and company, is where Rahul and Kabir would like to be with Sly Storys.
Chubby squishy Grandma, is there a sly corner or a clandestine meet at your new home that we should look out for?
There is a philosophy club called the Mind Manifesto Society; we meet once or twice a month and discuss things that are usually censored. For some special friends, I open up my wicked parlour every night for drinks post dinner to let them in on more personal secrets.
This conversation is a part of the DSSC Secret Conversation Series, where we get candid with the ace industry disruptors who map its course one masterstroke at a time.