Fiddlers’ Crawl offers locals and tourists a chance to go pub crawling in New Delhi
The Fiddlers’ Crawl is recreating the Western concept of a pub crawl with three unique restaurants in New Delhi’s posh Mehrauli — Miso Sexy, Bougie, and Diablo
If you’ve watched Gossip Girl, chances are you remember the grand Lost Weekend celebrations in season 1 hosted by Chuck Bass. One of the phases of the celebrations, meant as a goodbye to the high school days of Manhattan’s Upper East siders, included a pub crawl. “Five boroughs, and 50 pubs” in a single night. What a maddening idea, we thought, yet a few weeks back, we went on one such crawl ourselves. Not 50, but three restaurants/pubs in the posh part of Mehrauli, offering a great view of the Qutub Minar in Delhi.
Conceived by restaurateur Priyank Sukhija, the Fiddlers’ Crawl (named after his F&B company First Fiddle Restaurants) takes inspiration from the Western concept, allowing locals and tourists to enjoy the culinary culture of the capital, and in the process meet new people.
The idea first struck Sukhija after he participated in one such crawl on a trip to Barcelona. It occurred to him that a crawl back home would not just help showcase his properties, but also help build a community around gastronomy—a social construct that had suffered a setback during the last two years. The pilot crawl in Mehrauli involves three restaurants—Miso Sexy, Bougie and Diablo. “I’ve been to crawls in Barcelona and London and their biggest attraction is to meet new people,” says Sukhija.
In Mehrauli, his restaurants are in a unique position—three bars at walking distance. “Qutub is a touristy place with an influx of all kinds of people. Those among them who want to explore interesting food, meet fun people and get a good vibe of the city, will book us.”
While it is difficult to trace down the exact event that led to the emergence of pub crawl as a phenomenon globally, the Oxford English Dictionary has some ideas, according to a British food blog, ‘Boak and Bailey.’
It notes how the earliest mention of a crawl in the dictionary dates back to 1877 when the York Herald speaks of women on ‘gin crawls’, followed by a 1902 mention in the Daily Chronicle of “the cockney beer crawl”, and another one in the 1915 autobiography of the British author Thomas Burke titled Nights in Town.
The concept is pretty self-explanatory though—you move from one restaurant to another as a group, surveying the food and drinks in these places. You socialise, and in the process, discover the gastronomical scene of the town/city. It is a cultural event, where you eat and drink and let your hair down. You, quite literally, crawl back after having the time of your life.
The Fiddler’s Crawl promises nothing less. You begin with sampling the edgy South East Asian platter comprising Ya Sai Asparagus Sushi, Taro Wu Gok dim sums, Tuna Tataki, and more, at Miso Sexy on the second floor of the chic Ambawatta One complex. Then you walk across the corridor to relish European canapes at the classy and elegant Bougie, where you pig out on Caviar Bruschetta, Mushroom Croquettes, Nordic Salmon on Toast, and Lamb Sliders. A live band welcomes you with a great toe-tapping pop playlist. There is also an impressively curated mocktail/cocktail menu with drinks such as Melon and Kaffir Highball and Sweet Lime Gimlet (at Miso Sexy), and Mango and Cinnamon Margaritha and Pin o Apple (at Bougie).
Once you’ve had your fill, you will have a golf cart waiting for you on the ground floor to take you to Diablo. Here, you transition quickly from casual dining to a party. With substantial outdoor space, the restaurant allows the crawlers to dance, while they munch on Turkish and Lebanese delights like Katafi Greek Yoghurt, Chicken Koobideh, and falafels. The drinks menu experiments with molecular gastronomy. Try the Devil’s Garden G&T, and Prince of Darkness!
While the food, the drinks, and the overall experience are on point, one thing that doesn’t seem to work is the order of restaurants in which the crawl that begins sometime in the afternoon, proceeds. Because Miso Sexy and Bougie offer such gorgeous views of the Qutub Minar, that only get better with the downing sun, either of these eateries, instead of Diablo, should have been the final destination.
Sukhija agrees and adds that the crawl, which is likely to begin sometime in August and will be a Sunday feature, might see a change in the order of things. “We are going to change that. We will start it with Diablo and end at Miso Sexy, because from there you not only see the Qutub Minar but also get views of Sanjay Van,” he says.
The experience has been priced at `3,500 per person, the tickets for which, will be available online (Platform yet to be decided). “The idea is not to make a lot of money but to give an experience,” Sukhija says.