It’s a balmy evening when I go to DLF Commons in Saket. A light drizzle ensured that Delhi continues to sweat, and chatter from the mall is low; a weekday is generally a quieter affair here. While the ground is quiet as I walk to the terrace, the world comes alive with music and a deafening roar as I enter Aviary Cocktail Nest.
The vibe matches what the Aviary Cocktail Nest aims to be – a high-energy cocktail bar. Having been to restaurateur Manish Sharma’s Ivory Cocktail Garden, my hopes are high enough that another of his ventures will turn Delhi into a cocktail lover’s paradise. And today, the vibe is made livelier with a live band setup.
Long before we can make our way to the table, I’m wowed by the opulence of the interiors, which take inspiration from the aviary (an enclosure for birds). The space is large and green, marked by colors in the corners that are designed to entice you with their tropical aura. It’s no wonder, then, that Aviary Cocktail Nest has made the rounds on Instagram as the go-to spot for those who love design and luxury. The newest addition to Aviary, I’m told, is a terraced garden right next to the indoor space, and I go from the lively chatter inside to the quiet space outside.
We settle into our first service after a series of cocktails aptly called Floral Buzz. On the recommendation of chef Anas, we start with shrimp tempura (which are delicious), followed by generous portions of chicken tikka, made two ways – haryali and garlic cheese, both covered in a delicious marinade and served with spicy onions. Starters are paced and offer insight into the world of cuisines Anas dabbled in before naming them to represent his love for the food on the menu. From the fusion delight of Laal Maas Tortellini to the grainy spice of Thai Herb Chicken Dimsums, there are enough offerings to get you thinking about flavors.
Every class at Aviary Cocktail Nest is matched in intensity by their signature cocktails. We, along with dozens of patrons filtering in as the night wore on, drown our blues of the week in a variety of cocktails from head mixologist Ankit Ghawana, the best of the lot being the deforestation that thrills us with its base of smoky whiskey and lime. The dishes are as tempting as the starters; we dig deep into the dum mutton biryani that came with a lip-smacking burhani raita, while barely managing to make room for the paneer butter masala.
The highlight of the evening, however, are the desserts. A towering plate of cotton candy makes its way to our table, to be spectacularly ignited with alcohol for the big reveal – the chocolate fondant. Aviary Cocktail Nest’s signature dessert, the fondant is rich and oozes chocolate from the start, its warm embrace cut softly by vanilla ice cream on the side. A glorious consuming mess.
While Delhi’s back streets regularly witness new restaurants that fade far too quickly, Aviary Cocktail Nest, with its gastronomic delights and hard-to-match ambience, seems to be here for the long haul.
Time: 12:00 a.m. to 01:00 a.m.
Location: 2nd Floor, DLF Avenue, Saket, New Delhi
Price for two: Rs 2000 (excluding alcohol)