Imagine a place where you can watch a Stand Up Comedy show, A live music jig and eat food exclusive to that restaurant. People & Co, the cool new hang out zone in the vibrant Cyber Hub of Gurgaon is the place to go to. It was hard for me to believe that it was a newly opened place. The food, the shows, the vibes made it feel like they are running this place for years now. They have a smaller version in Mumbai. The Gurgaon outlet impresses with its size and the variety of activities you can do here. It is divided in 3 sections – The Bar (Great place for music over some drinks!), the restaurant (a formal dining space) and a sound proof theatre (For Stand Up comedy shows, plays)
I started my evening with the Comdey Show. We waited for the fun to begin in the auditorium as we nibbled on the finger foods over interesting mocktails (Pirated Cane – quirky and delicious twist to the humble sugarcane juice) and cocktails (12 O’ Clock – Coriander liquer, orange chunks and lime juice). The auditorium hosts plays and comic shows. It has a little bar from where you can order mocktails. You can ask any of the server to bring finger food and alcoholic beverages from another bar outside.
Stand Up Comedy which you want to continue for eternity.
Pics above – Comic stars – (L to R) Raghav, Amit, Sumit
Soon, the lights went off, smoke fills the stage and appears a half asleep chap Sumit Anand, wearing a tee and pajama. He doesn’t even say anything but his dead pan face is enough to break the audience into hesitant giggles. And then he starts to interact with his audience, basically bullies them in a fun way! He didn’t really present an act but his hosting style was enough to crack you up. His spontaneity and the ease with which he pulled it off made me feel like I can be a stand up comedian too. I know it is easily said than done. First act was in Hindi by Amit Sharma. His ‘cute yet sinister’ face, ‘desi tadkas’ and style of speaking had the audience in splits! Most of his jokes bordered on self pity, self mock and what really goes on in the life of a married, middle class, Indian man. The show was closed by Raghav Mandava. The lean, unassuming 30 year old is one of the pioneers of Stand Up Comedy in India. He fluidly jumped from one topic to another in the manner only a veteran can. His was the most energetic act. The good part is they have live comedy show every day!
The Livewire Rock performance
Post the show, we moved into the bar area outside and enjoyed the live rock show by the Gurgaon based band Klevoans. The energy of the performers was infectious and I couldn’t help getting glued to the seats like many others. Born in 2014, the other genres the band performs are Metal, Rock and Roll, Blues, Classic Rock, Progressive rock. Their style was unique and inimitable. No wonder, many passer byes stopped to have a look and enjoy the music they made. I hope to catch one of their shows again soon. Full marks to Iris Rose, Andrew Chyne, Jimmy, Ta Ran and Jatin for a livewire performance! Check out videos of their performance here.
The Fine Dining – Kokum Cocktail, anyone?
Post the music session, I went to the third space which is the fine dining area. I was mighty impressed with their main course menu. It’s short and no nonsense menu. I loved the subtle flavours of Pizza Romagna. Unconventional toppings like chargrilled artichokes, oven dried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and baby spinach. Goat cheese along with mozzarella complimented the toppings. It was the first time I tasted goat cheese, soft and delicately flavoured. Hand churned basil pesto was used as a dressing.
The flavor was delicate and none of the ingredient overpowered the other. For the main course I had Potato Gnocchi. Gnocchi is one of my favourite Italian dish. Their version of dough was made up of potato and flour and caramelized for that extra zing. Served in a bed of sun dried tomatoes, saffron nage and peas, I loved the texture of the balls. The melt in the mouth Gnocchi was good in portion size. The meal left us with no more capacity to eat more but how do you say no to Raspberry Cheesecake? Masterfully crafted, it came, topped with fresh berries and a fruit mix on the side. Memorable evenings must be concluded on a sweet note such as this. Full marks to the minimalistic and classy presentation!
What makes the Food and beverage at ‘People And Co’ stand out is the freshness of ingredients and a recipe unique to this particular place. Impressed, I talked to Chef Abhishek Nair who has invented the recipes and designed the menu. “What we have tried to achieve here is use fresh, seasonal ingredients. We have a rotational menu which changes as per season. We have also tried to present the traditional Indian dishes in a contemporary way. The presentation also remains western in spite of the desi flavours of many of our menu items.” Nair has worked in leading restaurants before.
I was full otherwise I would have definitely sampled some interesting entrees such as Kidney beans Erissery,Idiappam Aglio Olio & drumsticks relish; Kadai Ratatoullie with Country Cheese Gratin & Samak Rice Upma. Even Baigun Bhaja & Chhena malai Moussaka, sweet Bengal Gram With Green Pees filled Luchi sounded exciting. I wish I had enough space to sample these Indians dishes with a western twist. Many complete western dishes sounded appealing too. Salads like ‘Chili Roast Pears with Arugula & Blue Cheese’ and ‘Mainland Salad with Glass noodles & Tempura caviar’ tempted me. So did pastas like ‘Spinach, wild Mushrooms & Goat Cheese stuffed Crepe Canneloni, Cherry tomato Compote & Walnut Crumble.’
Even the cocktails I tasted were unique and not something which I had tried before. Most of you know my love for all things Maharashtra. As I was scanning the beverages menu, my eyes were somehow stuck on a cocktail called ‘God’s Very Own’. What appealed to me was the use of Maharashtrian Kokum in it. I have never before seen a cocktail using kokum as base ingredient, let alone taste it. Blended with white rum, kaffir lime leaves and lime juice, it stood out and was my favourite out of all the 5-6 cocktails and mocktails I shoved down my throat that day!
The F & B manager Mohit Negi told me, “Even in our beverages we use fresh ingredients. We prefer using fresh fruits instead of syrups and squashes and that makes all the difference. Twisted Mule (Whiskey, Thai lemon grass, ginger & ginger ale) is one of our most popular cocktails.”
In mocktails, while Innocent Mule (Ginger, lemongrass & lemon juice) was passable, People’s Shikanji was refreshing. However, though I prefer cocktails, I was not much impressed with the variety of mocktails on menu! They need to introduce more mocktails for their teetotaler patrons.
What makes this place unique is its exceptional customer relations initiatives. GRE aka Guest Relation Executive is mostly a feature of 5 star properties so it was heartening to see People & Co taking their guests seriously. The suave GRE, Rajat talked to the guests and asked for their preference and likes/dislikes which will help them to have a better time. Even the head chef Abhishek and F & B Manager talk to the guests on a daily basis! The service is friendly and thankfully all the servers are attentive, quick and have sunshine smiles. A rarity these days! The décor is contemporary, minimalistic, classy and cheerful! Give me a reason why I should not go back to this place.
The view from my #SoulWindow is Oh So Good!
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