Resto bars are mushrooming quite frequently in Chennai these days and I think the location is a major factor for these places, even more than how much it’s important for restaurants. OMR, the tech hub of our city didn’t really have a great pub as far as I know apart from the ones inside hotels. That said, I think they’ve got the perfect place for a resto bar. Being a person who hasn’t been bitten by the drinking bug (if there’s one like that), I still love a pub for their witty selection of mocktails and the crowd and ambience. That’s the reason I’ve always loved going to pubs and when I was invited for Evoke, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. On a warm January noon, my friends and I got to try this place and given below is my take on Evoke Bistro – Bar & Grill, OMR.
Evoke is located in Thuraipakkam and shares their building space with Mainland China. The hoardings are placed perfectly making it a place that’s hard to miss. There is ample parking space that’s manned by a friendly chap and so parking issue is sorted out completely. Evoke is located at 2nd floor and though it’s a normal walk up the stairs to the first floor, the theme and décor starts right from the reception desk at first floor. The staircase to second floor has got it’s wall coloured black and is filled with names of drinks and alcoholic brands in grey. The evoke name board is surprisingly small but creatively made from ropes and backlit. Entrance itself is quite an interesting one. The door is made to look like a huge barrel on its side and as we walk inside, the barrel’s spherical shape is maintained for effect. I found this to be an excellent touch for a pub. And the door also reminded me of Hobbits from the LOTR franchise. The door resembles the shape of doors of hobbit’s homes that are known as Smials. Once inside, the ambience and décor only became better. Couch seating on the right with long tables and bar stools on left. Past that is the bartender counter and it looked well stocked. Behind the counter was more seating space and it was more of a divan style seating with bright red cushions and a small square table in the middle. Only when I thought this was it, I was surprised to find even more seating space behind this with round tables and rounded benches. The entire place has wooden flooring and walls. The walls also have the logos of different brands from the world of beverages. Overall, I completely loved the ambience and I especially acknowledged the part that they’ve made it so great without actually having a theme. Themed restaurants/pubs these days are such a passe.
We got to try a number of drinks and dishes out of which we loved so many of them. Given below is a list of them and how they fared.
- Saffron Shake: Who would’ve expected that the first drink I had would be the best of the day. Thick shake with a strong saffron flavour and touted to be their speciality, this is one mocktail that shouldn’t be missed.
- Blackcurrant Lemonade: This drink looked amazing with a generous portion of crushed ice, lemonade and blackcurrant pieces. But tastewise, it wasn’t anything special.
- Safe on the beach: This ingeniously named holier version of Sex on the beach tasted really good. With a plethora of fruits such as citrus and cranberry, this drink tasted divine.
- Mexican Cigar Rolls: I don’t remember the last time I had cigar rolls with beans in them and never did I think I would love it. Perfectly made and served with a sweet chilli dip, this was my favourite veg starter.
- Calamari Fritters: The usually crispy fried squid rings with garlic mayonnaise. It was pretty decent.
- BBQ Chicken Wings: Hot and tangy, the wings were cooked to perfection. Tasted brilliant.
- Cheesy Potato Fritters: Cheese and potato are a match made in heaven. Made into patties and fried to a crispy finish, this dish was yummy. Not to mention the simple but stunning black flat plate and the thousand island dip as a side.
- Subzi Til Ki Tikki: The name says it all. Minced veggies with masala, cheese stuffed, coated with sesame seeds and deep fried. I’m someone who’d even have plain bread if topped with roasted sesame seeds so this dish was a treat to me. Loved it.
- Peshawari Murgh Tikka: Succulent chicken tikka pieces served with tangy green chutney. Tasted pretty good.
- Fusilli in Cheesy Cream Sauce: Pasta tossed with veggies and cheese cream. Tasted a bit too bland. Garlic bread was very hard as it was overcooked.
- Chicken Carbonara: Chicken Carbonara with Spaghetti. Carbonara is synonymous to spaghetti anyways. It was a bit too creamier than what it’s meant to be but still it was better than the veg version.
- Salmon Poivre Al Safran: Salmon fillet with green peas mash and Saffron Beurre Blanc (A butter sauce made from reduced white wine, shallots and butter). A creamy green peas mash and an even creamier Beurre Blanc makes this dish a winner. Though I found a bone, the salmon was perfectly made and the dish was delicious as a whole.
On the whole, it was a lovely lunch with some good company and great food and drinks. Service was good. Ambience is a major positive for this resto bar and a bit of tweaking will make their food menu even better. From my friend who tried the cocktails I got to know that the drinks are amazing too. For those stuck down the OMR with a tiring job in front of a computer, Evoke bistro would be the perfect spot to unwind and chill with a drink and some finger food. Even if I don’t work there, I’d still love to do it.