Connect, eat and work

Amrita Prasad
Thursday, 31 January 2019

FC Road Social, which will open its doors to customers on February 2, is a place to relax, eat and rejuvenate, and have real conversations with people. We bring to you some of the delectable food and drinks that elevated our experience

Natalie Imbruglia, the American musician, had once expressed, “I’m not a nightclub person, but you need to have a social life sometimes.” We can’t agree more with her, especially in this age of social media where we are connected with everyone virtually, but extremely disconnected with each other in real life. ‘Socialise’ needn’t be the usual nightclub kind of activity where loud music cuts conversations, or a formal dinner which you could be attending with your folks. It can be a lot more fun if you’re looking for real human connections. So, how about a place that has a cosy, young and cheerful ambience, some finger-licking food, interesting alcohol concoctions and gives you plenty of reasons to put down your mobile phones and ‘socialise’ in the true sense? Sounds good? Then head to the funky yet desi cafe — FC Road Social.  

While many of you have already been to Viman Nagar Social, the new place at Fergusson College Road is a mix of old and new. Chhatt, one of the newest additions to Social (in Pune), is the highlight of FC Road Social. Chhatt, a dhaba-style terrace bar-cum-restaurant, will appeal to those who enjoy North Indian food and drinks with a twist. 

FC Road Social, which is launching tonight and will be open for customers from tomorrow (February 2), is a perfect place for those looking forward to treating their taste buds with scrumptious food, chugging innovative cocktails and mocktails, soaking themselves in good music or just coming down with their laptops to complete assignments in an unconventional space. Social also doubles up as a co-working space for those who don’t confine themselves to mundane cubicles. 

Ahead of its official launch, we decided to visit the place on a Tuesday evening and the moment we entered, it seemed like our weekend had already kicked off! 

The garden effect 
The swanky cafe has an invisible energy that seems to spread happy vibes. At the entryway, the green walls, which have large leaves and white flowers painted on them, add a Bohemian touch to the place. A wall with lighting that forms the shape of angel’s wings and a halo, looks like a perfect selfie point. Move a little ahead and you will find a few bean bags in vibrant hues kept for you to sit and chill. 

At the entrance, you will be welcomed by an illuminated signboard with the words ‘Kay Mhantos’ in Marathi (which means ‘How are you doing?’) written on it. This is guaranteed to illuminate a Punekar’s face.
FC Road Social, which can accommodate 120 people, has high ceilings and is well ventilated, and can be easily converted into a dance floor if the chairs and tables are removed. But what really can be called the highlight of this place is the vertical garden. With an idea to do their bit for the environment, plants of different varieties have been kept. And not just the cafe, you will find the greenery in some other areas too that gives one the feel of a garden. They even grow a few vegetables and herbs in the open area outside. 

The bar is quite unique and serves quirky combinations and fusion drinks. A humongous TV screen on one of the walls is a good option for those who love to watch a sport and sip on their favourite drink.  

Desi setting
Chhatt, an interesting extension of FC Road Social, will remind you of the dhabas you may have visited in North India, but with a contemporary touch to it. 

With a 90-people capacity, Chhatt has a unique seating arrangement. Apart from jhulas, quirky tables and chairs, the place also has cots with mattresses. While lanterns add a rustic feel, the bright walls with quirky graffiti lend a young vibe. 

If you are looking forward to gorge on some desi food with a contemporary twist,  Chhatt should be your next destination. However, since it was windy and cold, we preferred to sit indoors at FC Road Social.

What’s in a name?  
What one will find fascinating about the menus at FC Road Social and Chhatt are the quirky names given to the food items like Lipte Gosht Ki Biryani (Mutton Biryani), Barcelona Paella Biryani (Kebab Biryani), Gori Gourmand Pulao (Truffled Mushroom Pulao), Izzat Ka Falooda (Falooda of Respect), Lal Mirch Ka Tikona Paratha (Red Chilli Triangle Paratha), Jhakkas Gosht (Fantastic Mutton), to name a few. 

We chose to try food and drinks from both the menus to explore the variety. After savouring some warm Manchow Soup, which felt like a balm on the cold winter night, we indulged in some cocktails. We kicked off with Cosmo Explosion —  a gorgeous pink colour drink that had candies and was finished with orange zest followed by Thai Malish, a green coloured soothing drink with a flavour of lemon grass in it. 

Chef Sharad, aided by the bartender, kept the drinks flowing to our table.  So next, we tried Old Smoke, a cocktail with a smoky flavour of wood, and Banarasi Patiyala made with freshly-squeezed sugarcane juice and alcohol. 

Some delectable starters followed like Thecha Chicken Tikka — a spicy chicken preparation with a Maharashtrian twist. The chef also served a sweet Peru and Imli Chutney as an accompaniment to the dish. 

Another starter, Tandoori Gobi, Mushroom and Broccoli Platter, is a perfect treat for vegetarians. This mildly flavoured grilled preparation is sure to give you an euphoria. 

Soon a tray comprising six Goti Banta — interesting Delhi style alcohol concoctions — was brought to our table. Named Sauza Tequila Jal Jeera, Teachers Whiskey Kala Khatta, Ketel One Masaledar Nimbu Pani, Ketel One Vodka Rim Jhim and written in Hindi, the drinks give you a taste of alcohol with a desi twist. 
The Purani Dilli Chaat Platter, a sharing platter comprising two types of Paani Puri, Chaat, Raj Kachori and Chutney, transported us to old Delhi and its popular chaats. Tandoori Ratatoullie Pizza was the best thin crust pizza that we’ve ever had — the crispy base and mildly-flavoured topping were heavenly.
But the best was yet to come! Izzat Ka Falooda. The dessert, served in a tall glass and with Izzat written on it, was full of surprises. This isn’t your regular falooda. Made with Rabdi, Tooty Frooty, Sabza seeds and Rooh Afza, it was ambrosial and sufficient for three.

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