I’m not a rock person. Some songs appeal to me—but they’re almost invariably soft rock. My husband is in the same boat. Neither of us, therefore, had ever been to the Hard Rock Café, despite the fact that it’s been open for several years now in Delhi. And despite the fact that it’s hard to miss—the giant guitar standing tall on the grounds in front of the mall make it very prominent indeed.
Then, my teenaged niece, invited for a friend’s birthday do at Hard Rock Café (and my niece isn’t a fan of hard rock, either) said she liked the food. So the next time we happened to be in DLF Place Mall, we thought we’d give it a try.
Hard Rock Café is approached, down a flight of wide stairs which lead to a store that specializes in musical instruments, from guitars to pianos. Beyond this, on the right, is the Hard Rock Café shop, where you can buy clothing and accessories. And straight ahead is the restaurant itself. The interior of the restaurant has the dark, black-ceilinged and black-walled look. A stage where live performances are held often occupies the right side of the room; the rest of the room consists of gently tiered very wide stairs on which the tables are arranged—all in such a way as to allow you to eat comfortably while watching whoever’s onstage.
Since we visited Hard Rock Café for lunch, there were no performers, but muted recordings of rock shows were being played on the many TV screens on the walls (oddly enough, there wasn’t any music—not even piped—for most of the time we were there). In classic Hard Rock Café tradition, the walls were decorated with glass display cases containing hard rock memorabilia: the closest to where we were sitting were Seal’s guitar and Madonna’s hat. On our way out, we also saw clothing from Aerosmith, and loads of other odds and ends, especially guitars.
On to the menu, now. This being Hard Rock Café Delhi, it had its share of Indian food: we spotted pakoras, a Kerala prawn/fish curry, paneer makhani and a few other dishes that are almost staples with lovers of standard Indian fare. But the bulk of the menu, thankfully, is what Hard Rock Café is known for: the diner-style burgers, sandwiches, steaks, etc. We skipped over the salads, cocktails, beers, and examined the burgers and sandwiches section instead. My husband ended up ordering the ‘legendary 10 oz burger’, while I opted for a pulled pork sandwich. For drinks, we both ordered a fresh lemonade.
It took about ten minutes for our food orders to arrive (the lemonades were served up within a couple of minutes).
My pulled pork sandwich was sandwiched between burger buns, which wasn’t quite what I had in mind (since I’m not a fan of burgers—I find them too messy, most of the time). The pork had been cooked in a spicy-sweet barbecue sauce, and while it was good and tender, there was so much sauce clinging to the pulled meat that it had seeped into the bottom bun, leaving it very flimsy and tending to break. On the side was a huge helping of French fries (so huge that I couldn’t finish it) and a small bowl of a nice, relatively light coleslaw. Also on the side was a small bowl of beans, in a slightly spiced sauce—it proved a very good dip for the fries.
My husband had opted, at the waiter’s suggestion, to have the beef patty in his burger cooked to a medium. This came cooked just the way it was promised—juicy and tender, topped with bacon, cheese, and fried onion rings. On the side were lots of fries (this, we later discovered, could have been substituted with fried onion rings at a little extra charge; we noticed it written on the menu long after we’d ordered). Also provided with the burger, but on the side, was some lettuce, tomatoes, and pickled gherkins. I had a bite of the burger and thought it good (though the fried onion rings in the burger could’ve been more crunchy). My husband thought the burger "a bit bland", so he doused it with lots of ketchup, mustard, and Tabasco.
By the end of our respective main courses, we were feeling rather full, but glad that we hadn’t opted for an appetizer as well—which left us with just that little bit of empty space for a dessert each. From the dozen or so desserts listed, my husband chose a cheesecake and I a tres leche ‘served with seasonal fruits’.
The cheesecake was creamy and delicious, with a lovely strawberry sauce poured over it. The tres leche, something I’d never encountered before, was right up my street: a soft, moist sponge cake sitting in a pool of mixed condensed, evaporated, and fresh milk, and with three types of fruit—kiwi, fresh strawberries, and blueberries—sprinkled over. It tasted gorgeous, the texture was lovely, and I particularly appreciated the fact that the fruit hadn’t been mixed. One side of the cake was topped with the strawberries, another with the kiwi, and another with the blueberries—so you could savour the flavour of each individual fruit. Divine!
Despite my swooning over the tres leche, this dessert proved to be too much for me to handle; it was so huge that my husband had to help me finish it off. Between them, the pulled pork sandwich, the fries and the dessert filled me up so much that I had to skip dinner that day.
We paid Rs 2,670 for our meal, which both of us agreed was good value for money. We’ll be back.