24 Karat Chat & bacon in your bourbon?
Is that a giant teddy bear on the ceiling? We’re in a ‘playful brasserie’ in a very plush, hip section of Gurgaon — where breweries are passé and pub themes range from industrial factory interiors to ‘take me back to college’. Still, sighting a luminous teddy, as we sip on a cocktail inspired by the perfume Chanel No 9 — is a stark contrast to everything swanky cosmopolitan resto bars stand for. Sort of like a ‘prank’ when you least expect it — and hence the name to Gurgaon’s recently opened Pra Pra Prank in DLF Cyber City.
Bar within a bistro
“The double ‘pra’ implies twice the fun,” says Inderjeet Banga (38), and one half of the brother duo who runs the enterprise. So if you’re visiting Gurgaon looking for a good time — now you know where to head to. Jasmeet Banga (35) is the younger (single and eligible brother) among them and inspired by the two brothers — the brasserie has been designed to hold two distinct sections — a European-style bistro and a swanky bar. The latter is disguised by a door within the bistro embellished with 191 miniature bottles of alcohol. One tends to assume this is a décor element — until people start disappearing behind it — and we decide to give it a go too!
Incidentally, the ambitious and uber fashionable Banga brothers also own the fast-growing Pirates of Grill, which has a barbeque and buffet format and is now up to eight outlets across Delhi, Jammu and Punjab. Of course, partygoers in Delhi more often associate them with the almost two-year-old Prankster in Sector 29 — widely popular for its campus décor. Here you can take a swig of your beer right out of a tap at the ‘Chemistry Lab’ or watch the IPL matches live, a few steps away from a line of scooters (that also double up as seating) — with headlights shining in a makeshift ‘parking lot’!
Both Prankster and Pra Pra Prank are helmed by chefs Harangad Singh (who specialises in Indian cuisine) and Kaustubh Haldipur (an expert in Asian cuisine). Look forward to a Modern Indian spin on several signature dishes that you might recognise — ranging from truffles in your butter chicken (Pra Pra Prank) to a more radical sambar cappuccino (Prankster). “I believe relatability is the biggest factor for a restaurant. So we create things that people have been eating before and then give them a twist,” shares Jasmeet.
Also, this way, the ‘play’ and ‘pranks’ continue to surprise patrons on their plates as well. Our favourites include a veggie-friendly Rainbow Sushi (coloured with bell peppers, beetroot dyed rice and onion tomato salsa) and appams for dessert. Jaggery flavoured and mildly crisp, then topped with tender coconut foam and fennel dust — this platter was a delicate symphony that almost took us right to the pearly gates of heaven.
24 Karat Magic
A special mention must be made for the 24 Karat Prank Chat in the ‘street eats’ part of the menu — which had us excitedly take a picture of a ‘thumbs up’ with a touch of gold dust. Made with ‘dahi bhalla hummus’, crispy spinach leaves, a tamarind and mint chutney drizzle and tempura chickpeas — this concoction had our taste buds give up a standing ovation, every time we opted to try another dish and inadvertently returned for more of that hummus!
Brothers in arms
“When we started our first restaurant More Than Paranthas (now sold), I was 21, and we didn’t even know what a KOT (Kitchen Order Taking) was,” confides Jasmeet Banga. Raised from a family of businessmen in agriculture and no background in hospitality — the brothers have come a long way since and now employ a massive staff of 700 people. Here’s a quick Q and A with Jasmeet on the inner workings of a business magnate and the perks of working with family.
Business meetings over burpees
My brother and I gym together first thing every morning with a personal trainer. So invariably we do end up talking about business and making plans. He handles the operations, while I focus on finance.
Shopping sprees in Milan
We shop twice a year in Paris and Milan. It’s the best stress buster I know (laughs). And we both love fashion — right now I am wearing a Paul & Shark shirt, Armani Jeans, a Hermes belt and Louis Vuitton shoes.
Shut up and drive
Every time we want to reward ourselves, the prize is usually a luxury car. And since we live in a joint family, we share our cars as well. At the house right now, we have an Audi, Jaguar and Porsche...Successful restaurant-ing is a lot like driving a car. You need to have multiple working parts — tires, brakes, accelerator. It’s hardly just about the food or interiors. We organised a PPL (Pirates Premier League) last Navaratri to keep our employees bonding — one essential piece to a buzzing restaurant.
The writer was in Gurgaon on invitation by Pra Pra Prank.
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