All great food comes from a successful experiment of a chef who has mixed and matched certain ingredients to come up with a masterpiece. So then, it should come as no surprise when chefs around the country experiment with their food. But at Molecule Air Bar, the term experiment has been given an altogether new meaning.Located in Sector 29 in Gurgaon, Haryana state, Molecule’s setup takes you back to Adolf Hitler’s ‘evil’ chemistry lab, food served in objects symbolic of a chemistry lab, menu cards in the form of memorabilia from the Second World War, ceiling lights made to look like the structure of a molecule, and the use of liquid nitrogen – all this put together takes fusion food to a level few have seen before.
It is sprawled across two floors, including a terrace that has a spectacular view of Gurgaon with a lot of space to move around.
“Molecule is a first of its kind in India to offer molecular gastronomy experience along with a German micro-brewery,” owner Vivek Bhargava said.
“We always wanted to come up with something that youngsters can relate to. We also offer an amazing experience of finest air bar, molecular kitchen and freshly brewed beer coming straight from brewery all under one roof,” Bhargava added.
The micro-brewery will start functioning from next month.
According to Executive Chef Piyush Jain, the menu is straightforward and simple, the whole idea being to serve everyday food with a twist, something rarely seen
“The cuisine is very progressive, a mix of European, Mediterranean, Indian and even Chinese. But our presentation is what sets us apart from the rest,” Jain added.
We were served an array of differently presented basic foods ranging from an amuse bouche – star anise flavoured cauliflower soup served with pesto lavash and sprinkled with paprika dust which came on a small military truck.
It was creamy and well-balanced. Cauliflower can get a little overpowering, but all the ingredients in this soup could be individually tasted.
The next was something that will definitely make people come back to Molecule – dragon smoke popcorn which came in something that resembled a grenade. The popcorn was flavoured with the Maggi tastemaker and was infused with liquid nitrogen. The way to eat it is to grab a bunch and put it all in your mouth. Thick smoke will come out of your nose and mouth! Hence the justification for the name.
We were served three types of in-house special cocktails – raspberry and gin, hot apple cider with rum and molecular sangria. The first resembled a bit of a good old cosmopolitan but the addition of gin gave it a better kick. The second is perfect for winter: warm, woody and sweet. The sangria had grated apple instead of the usual chunks. Once mixed with the wine, it is probably the best sangria one can ever drink.
Next we were served molecular puchka shots with mint and tamarind chutney and five different flavoured waters – mint, pineapple, orange, cola and beetroot. Golgappas are something that are always fun to eat and experimenting with the flavoured waters is what took this dish to the next level. After this, we were served corn and kurkure chat platter. It is the perfect snack to go with the drinks.
What we were served next was definitely the star of the show. The dish was called air bread with chicken – bite-sized morsels, filled with a four cheese sauce, served with a piece of chicken tikka. The first bite was an absolute party in my mouth. The gooey cheese and the tender flavourful chicken constituted the perfect definition of fusion food.
After this was a grand performance by chef Jain which left us spellbound. He created a re-deconstructed chat right from scratch. He started with mixing different kinds of fruit with sweet yoghurt, tamarind and mint sauce with a special chutney glaze – chat masala with red paprika – on a plate with liquid nitrogen which in the process was freezing the mixture. After this, he placed the mix on a platter and sprayed it with crystal yoghurt – yoghurt frozen in liquid nitrogen – and sprinkled some boiled chopped potatoes. He then added a sponge bhalla and poured dhokla water on it to soften it and a generous topping of sev. The finale to this show was the spraying of more liquid nitrogen which bound all the ingredients together. The final taste to this grand spectacle was something very unexpected. The freezing of most of the ingredients could give one a brain freeze; so a big first spoon is not recommended.
Since I personally dislike chat, this particular dish was not up to my liking, But the dramatics involved definitely made it worth it.
We were served a whole lot of other run-of-the-mill dishes also – biriyani arancini balls where they used basmati rice instead of the usual arborio rice; tomato and basil soup with pesto lavash and mozarella cubes was warm like a fuzzy blanket in the form of soup; chicken and paneer tikka, cajun crusted fish with lemon froth fused with South Indian spices, over oily water battered fish fingers, ghee roast keema matar served with mini parathas and a wood fired chicken pizza. The presentation of all these dishes were very unique but the taste was nothing new.
To conclude, the theatrics involved was all fine when a person eats with his eyes but what about the actual taste of the food?
The food at Molecule was good but that’s what it was – only ‘good’, not great, not mindblowing.
But the theatrics is something one has to see and which the chefs pride themselves with. They are not pretentious and have a clear goal in mind – give a memorable experience to the consumer and blow their minds away with the theatrics.
Where: SCO 53, 4th Floor, Sector 29, Gurgaon
Meal for two: Rs.2,000 (with alcohol)
Timings: 12 noon-12.00 a.m.