In case Delhi wasn't already so spoilt for choices of the many restaurants to unwind on a weekend, Zorawar Kalra's latest offering is a compelling excuse for a 'union' with your friends. Housed in New Delhi's current favourite hangout spot, Qutub Institutional Area welcomes YOUnion after a massive success in Mumbai. An all-day dining space, the real fun usually begins at night and especially on the weekends where your friends and you are bound to have a fabulous time. With Zorawar Kalra's expertise in the fusion cuisine business, he brings forth another spunky new place for the youth to enjoy favourites of the Indian palate but with a contemporary twist. But despite the large array of cuisines to choose from, YOUnion just wants you to have a good time at its core and they've made that effort by introducing one of the largest shots' menus in the country. Pick and choose from shots of any kind and for every mood to enjoy with your friends while you dig into some of their comforting assortment of sharing plates for a night to remember.
YOUnion may just be Delhi's latest most Instagrammable hotspot. You simply cannot miss stepping into a tropical jungle upon arrival with their eclectic hanging garden and bright neon signs everywhere you look. Every corner of the restaurant demands a photo-op; we weren't lying on the Instagrammable part, after all, you see. Even on a hot summer day, the bright interiors of the restaurant are truly inviting.
While YOUnion is an all-day dining experience after all that serves an extensive variety of shots, 200 to be precise, their cocktails are just as vibrant. Refreshing, innovative, and not to forget so wonderfully photogenic, you can't help but ask for repeats. The Wimbledon for instance seemed like a great start to declare this food experience - 'open'.
With drinks and great company, we were served their colourful and delightful Mezze Platter with a fresh array of the popular Mediterranean sauces and dips with traditional breads. Paired with black olives and falafel to dip wrap and eat it as you like it, it's a classic and an instant hit with drinks.
Yet another simple but a classic pairing of mushrooms and truffle came into perfect union in a pate served on bite-sized French toasties. The creamy texture mixed with earthy, warm notes of the mushroom and truffles were balanced with the crunchy toasties topped with microgreens and grated parmesan.
True to the fusion nature of their truly 'glocal' cuisine, we were instantly hooked on the idea of their 'desi tapas'. We tried their Chennai Chicken Express, YOUnion's very youthful take on the traditional Chicken 65. Served on a banana leaf, the chicken bursts into flavor from the moment it hits your tongue. The explosion comes from their saucy coating on batter-fried chicken that prove truly that all big surprises come in small packages.
Along with the chicken came the Mahim Fresh Tawa Shrimp. Bite-sized nibbles that work like mini explosives in your mouth, the shrimp took us by surprise. The juicy shrimps coated with a tangy mix of coastal spices are something we'd definitely go back for.
Right up from the Mediterranean feast and on to the coastal Indian flavor bombs, we were welcomed right into the Orient. An assortment of crystal dumplings seemed like a fitting end to the savoury experience, almost like travelling on this food journey across this global village (under one roof). Chicken & Chili, Edamame Truffle and Lemon Grass Prawns were the dumplings of choice and not only were they packed with juicy quintessential South East Asian flavours, they were served in a clear but equally flavoursome broth too.
A restaurant that boasts so highly of their shots, we obviously had to give it a shot. The shots were nothing like we've seen before and came with some sense of nostalgia. Paradoxical but true. The boozy chocolate shot came was topped with serious dollops of whipped cream and resembled a chocolate mousse we'd enjoy as kids but best suited for adults. The frozen strawberry shot was better than a slushy on a hot day.
But that obviously wasn't going to be the end of our experience at YOUnion, or at least the chefs ensured it wasn't. Our sweet tooth was happily satiated with a creamy cheesecake topped with caramel sauce and with our tummies and hearts full, it was finally time to call it a day.
This 'union' of flavor and fun times surely gets a thumbs up from us.
YOUnion, Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi; Meal for two: Rs. 2,000 + taxes