If you are one of those waiting eagerly to get inside LAP, the new lounge-restaurant at Delhi's Samrat Hotel, jointly owned by film star Arjun Rampal and restaurateur A D Singh, you already know the premium being placed on exclusivity there.
After all, the place is not merely about its celebrity quotient — despite the tables and plush furniture pieces designed by the likes of Arjun Rampal, Gauri Khan, Tarun Tahiliani and Rohit Bal. Nor is it only about stylish finger food à la foie gras burgers nibbled over expensive spirits and music spun by six resident DJs. Instead, the way the lounge-restaurant is seeking to define itself, at least for now, is by establishing itself as a select, intimate space for carefully screened members. (A more public area, Lap Garden, is to open up later this month, but for now we’ll just focus on the members-only club.)
The membership fee is not in the public domain yet. But if you do get invited to join — and decide to pay up — there is one definite use that you can put your money to: book the restaurant’s centrepiece for dinner for your own group of friends. This is the crystal-embellished “owner’s table”, designed by Rampal himself, and can be reserved for a cover charge calculated in the lakhs for an evening. And if you are wondering whether you will be able to redeem that amount through the pricey rare whisky you may want to consume during the mega night out, this space may not really be for you!
But the Lap table is not the only expensive party zone that you can book. If you are looking to make an impression on your guests, there’s nothing quite like the Chef’s Table at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai. Designed to cater to just six to eight guests and no more — though there’s obviously nothing like a cosy dinner for two to impress a significant other — this is perhaps the most exclusive private dining space in the country. The meal is supervised personally by celebrity chef Hemant Oberoi, the Taj’s top honcho, and customised crockery and cutlery completes the experience. The table costs around Rs 18,000 per couple — not a bad deal, would you say? Among the most expensive dinners that the chef has done here in the past has been one that cost Rs 5 lakh for a group of five. But obviously those were pre-austerity times!
At F Bar & Lounge at Hotel Ashok in New Delhi, on the other hand, you can head to the Diamond Lounge, inspired by the design sensibilities of Karl Lagerfeld, and done up in black and gold with a clear view of the dance floor below. This is a space where only the best champagne or whisky is served and your minimum spend needs to be Rs 1 lakh (for 10 people; Rs 10,000 per person extra beyond that).
If you want to spend a little less but still have an experience to raise your snob value, in Visakhapatnam try Bamboo Bay, the relaunched restaurant at The Park, which offers a one-of-a-kind chef’s table — on the beach. In its new avatar, the restaurant brings forth “tribal chic”.
It is designed by Bali-based Made Wijaya and the interiors reflect the ethnic heritage of east Indian tribes. The food, on the other hand, focuses on hot, pungent coastal flavours — including from Andhra and Chettinad cuisine. The restaurant faces the sea and is set amidst lush green coconut palms. A candlelit dinner at the chef’s table, with a carefully crafted menu, is an experience, all right.