Gymkhanas — an Anglo-Indian term derived from a Persian word — was coined in the British era, and still have an aura. Known as gentlemen’s clubs, gymkhanas have long been recreational and sports activity centres but membership of such clubs has always been linked to one’s higher status in society. Besides their legacy and old world charm, gymkhanas across India are known for their culinary specialities. The social drinking culture also appeals to people but perhaps the subsidised rates of food and drinks are bigger attractions.
However, club membership is restricted and not many can enjoy the benefits. But what if one can enjoy the same perks without membership? 212 All Day Cafe & Bar at Phoenix MarketCity Pune, Viman Nagar, is presenting an opportunity to enjoy legendary delicacies from iconic gymkhanas like Delhi, Bombay, Madras and Wellington, to name a few, from across the country over a drink till September 9. Celebrating India’s more than century old ‘club culture’, the restaurant is organising a festival called Gymkhana Diaries.
212 All Day Cafe & Bar has come up with an exclusive menu of 10 dishes. The limited menu offers an option to choose from five vegetarian and five non-vegetarian dishes, along with a few spirits, at pocket-friendly rates, just like the gymkhanas.
Taking a cue from Delhi Gymkhana, 212 All Day Cafe & Bar has a typical Delhi style Paneer Makhani served with Pav. Prepared with tomatoes and cashew nuts, the sweet Paneer Makhani is sure to bring an instant smile on your face. The mixed veg Chuuk Chuuk Cutlets are equally delectable. These crispy, delicious cutlets remind you of your train journeys when the servers would come with their hot cutlets as soon as the train would leave the station.
If you are looking for a quick grab, Bombay Gym Batata ‘Especial’, a typical Mumbai style Masala Sandwich, will be perfect. Another one from Mumbai’s Wellington Gymkhana is Mrs Brown’s Au Gratin, served with garlic bread. But if you go East from West, then Kolkata’s Tollygunge Club has Ramdin’s Veg Special.
If you are not following ‘Shravan’, then would recommend Chooza — Minced & Spice, chicken keema, created by Hawaldar Rahim Shiekh, a dish inspired from Madras Gymkhana. Served on a bed of bread and with Pav on the side, the keema will satisfy your taste buds and is finger-licking good.
A certain surname ‘Kejriwal’ is often associated with the one in New Delhi, but 212 All Day Cafe & Bar has created a dish inspired by the one from Mumbai, and to be more specific, a dish first created at Bombay Presidency Radio Club. A half-fry served on a bed of bread with salsa is named ‘Mr. Eggs Kejriwal’, and we feel that is a little twist to the day-to-day sunny side up.
In a chronological order, Gora Sahibs Mutton Pate Kebabs and Croquettes Macha are perfect starters and finger foods to go with your drink. The restaurant is also preparing to send you home ‘sloshed’ as one can order up to four drinks per dish. One can choose from a range of house pouring spirits — vodka, gin, whiskey, rum and draught beer, as well as mixers if you are a non-drinker.
Gymkhana Diaries has happy vibes, so join the club and make merry!
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Gymkhana Diaries at 212 All Day Cafe & Bar, upper ground floor, Phoenix MarketCity, continues till September 9, from 11.30 am to 11.30 pm