Address: 54, Tolstoy Lane, Janpath, New Delhi
T: (011) 33107916
Meal for two: Rs 2,500 (with alcohol) plus taxes
You have these tiny devices — dispensing powdered water that floats around fleetingly — outlining the borders of the massive terrace at Hybrid. The chopped up sprinkles of water are lovely to look at, and they serve to cool down the air. There’s a bar in the centre, and tables all around. And around it are grand old buildings that contribute to Connaught Place’s eerie urban skyline. It’s the perfect outdoor setting to the backdrop of the Delhi monsoon — which threatens monster rain but usually just delivers on pleasant weather and the occasional traffic jam — to sip on one of the signature cocktails at this newly opened multi-cuisine restaurant/pub. We’d suggest you try the Hybrid Fashioned, a refashioned version of an old-fashioned, complete with that liquid that exudes hot, flavoured steam as essence to your drink. Be warned though: just the one Hybrid Fashioned will mess you up — the alcohol content seems Patiala-sized. They only have five or six cocktails on the menu as of now — three of which are re-imagined versions of existing drinks — which is kind of disappointing, but we’re guessing expansion is a gradual process.
That’s not all there is to Hybrid though. Much like the name sort of suggests, there’s a whole lot going on. For starters, the inside section on the ground floor is massive. For all its many (many) flaws, Delhi has ample space as compared to the rest of the country. But space is money, too, so pubs tend to usually reside in that small-to-medium category. Not here. There’s a long corridor inside, with seating on both sides, and the interiors follow a now-standard hangar/warehouse design template with dim yellow lights, an underdone red-brick-wall finish and those mechanical, spare-part installations adorning the walls.
Coming to the food, they have an exhaustive selection spread across multiple cuisines. (The menu card itself, a clunky file reminiscent of obsolete banquet halls, is a bit of a puzzler.) On paper, having a wide selection sounds great: there’s something for everyone. But picking a dish itself is hard enough; here you have to pick a cuisine too. People often just end up choosing the wackiest thing on the menu, or the safest. We opted for the staff-recommended mutton galouti (Rs 475), which, by the very nature of the galouti kebab, could be a full meal in and of itself. It doesn’t seem all that exotic or unusual at first glance, but at Hybrid, the round, incredibly soft kebabs are placed on top of triangular bits of Malabar parantha, the bread counterbalancing the overwhelming heaviness of the galouti, served with spiced onion and mint chutney. It’s a must-try, best had with their giant-sized Caprioska — filled with crushed ice, a thousand limes, and a twisty straw. Our second Caprioska, made at the upstairs bar, was presented with far less flair though — it was in a smaller, less impressive glass and the ice was, well, absent. But the excellent preparation — if not quite the presentation — of the Bloody Mary made up for it.
We also sampled the chili paneer, with which there’s only so much you can do, but the welcome crispness to the paneer, blending in nicely with the overall edginess of Hybrid, was a pleasant surprise. The pork dimsums (Rs 395) were a good, slightly unmemorable addition to our meal too. Still reeling from the aftereffects of galouti and gang, we bravely soldiered on nonetheless, to try out the sizable portion of the chicken arrabiata (Rs 470), fit for two medium-sized people. The slight tang to the tomato sauce rendered the pasta just the slightest bit disappointing, considering we had a main course menu featuring burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, butter chicken platters, pastas, hot dogs and much more to choose from, but that’s a minor gripe. From an admittedly small sample size, it does seem like Hybrid has gotten its food and overall experience right, bar the generic staleness of the music. And true to spirit, they’ve also been hosting nightclubby events at the place — perfect, considering the size. So all that remains to be seen is whether the curse of Connaught Place — where, beyond the classics, all new places have a strict shelf life after which they peter out — strikes Hybrid too.