The moment you enter Prankster you are greeted by an upside-down bright red horse; setting the tenor of what is about to be unleashed.
The Upside-Down Horse
As you walk up the stairs, you enter into an alternate universe – a universe that has clearly been inspired by Bollywood (Karan Johar in particular) but a couple of notches up in class.
Prankster is like Disneyland for food lovers. Just off Leisure Valley Road, Prankster makes you feel young and nostalgic at the same time. Young, as the place is full of infectious energy that is actually contagious. It is a buzzing restaurant perfect to kick any blues. Nostalgic, because this 300 seater mammoth is divided into many hip sections, most of which remind you of your golden age of abandon (school and college) and the nostalgia continues onto the menu as well.
Freshly Brewed Beer
The campus vibe makes this restaurant special. Prankster has so many sections that you must visit in the afternoon to get a tour so you can explore every inch of this massive restaurant & it has freshly brewed beer!
At the Entrance
Prankster could be seen in one of two ways. It could be taken as a clever take on a college campus and restaurant merged into one or it can simply be looked at as a place that knows its flavours and food very well. I lean towards the latter for the simple reason that I am a big digger of good flavourful food. I have been a fan of the owner Inderjeet Singh Banga’s other restaurant Pirates of Grill. In a review I wrote many years ago I described entering into PoG as going to a “big fat Indian wedding” because of its brilliant hospitality, lavish spread, and splendid flavours. It’s easy to try new things and experiment with ingredients but if a chef understands the balance of flavours, he/she can’t ever go wrong with his/her food. PoG did that and now Prankster is out to do the same.
However, Prankster certainly has cranked it up many notches in every way. Its “Nostalgic Progressive” take on many classic dishes is extremely inspiring.
Nitro Cooked Dahi Bhalla
Here at Prankster, classic dishes like “dahi bhalla” have been smeared with a progressive touch but the taste and authenticity haven’t been lost in the process. Many restaurants try their hand at progressive and experimental cuisine but very few can do it successfully.
Honey Chilli Potato
I’ll come straight to the point now. My favourite dish on the menu is the “kick ass honey chilli potato”. A crispy potato fry, when bitten into never oozes cream or mashed potatoes – does it? Well, at Prankster it does! Mashed potato is taken and is converted into this kick ass honey chilly potato fry which is crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside. The is two dishes in one – it offers the lusciousness of a creamy mash and the crunchiness of a perfect fry.
Flaky Pizza or Fattir
Other dishes like Chef Angad’s creation – the Moroccan/Egyptian flaky pizza or fattir will remind you of the patty you ate your school canteen.
It was a rage then and it is a rage a Prankster. While I was touring the restaurant, I would have easily seen 15 of them being taken to tables!
You can tell a chef knows what he is doing when there are close to no misfires when it comes to food. Most dishes are moreish and have been cooked quite intelligently. Take the “tamarind glazed dry fruit, nitro treated Orange segment, citrus bath salad” for example. It is the only slurpy salad you will find in the city! You’ve gotta eat it to understand what I’m talking about.
The battered crispy “tiger prawn” is served on a ruler, the size boasts of it’s excellent quality. A “black dal” is extremely subtle and is cooked overnight to increase depth or layers of flavour.
But the real achievement of the afternoon is the “Rampuri gosht”, which tastes like it has been given a lot of thought and time. The recipe is beautiful and the kesar sheermal that I ate it with gave it a whole new dimension.
Pranked Rose Kheer
The “pranked rose kheer” comes with a lot of drama. Actual roses ar dipped in liquid nitrogen and smashed into the kheer. This dish reminds me of the Rose Petal Kheer at Dum Pukht. Gulkand is an aromatic addition that surprisingly completes this dessert beautifully.
The winner, however, is the “pineapple pastry”. You see I grew up in Connaught Place and I ate a lot of pastries at the famous Wenger’s. I have eaten pineapple pastries all over the country but I haven’t found anything as perfect as Wenger’s, well until now…. I’m happy to announce that Prankster’s beaten the 90-year-old pastry shop. Prankster’s pineapple pastry with custard and whipped cream made out of actual diary is as close to perfection as a pastry can get. I’m in love. #GenieTakeMeToPranksterNow
A big shout out must go to the entire team at Prankster and especially the guys who conceptualised the food and space, so well done Inderjeet, Pawan Soni and Chef Angad, you guys have created an absolute gem.
The fictional Don Draper (from one of my favourite shows Mad Men) had said that “nostalgia is more powerful than memory alone” and “it is a time machine that takes us to a place we ache to go …again and again”. Prankster is that restaurant where the food and the mood is steeped in nostalgia – and you want to come back here all the time.
P:S – At the end of the afternoon, I left Prankster with a smile on my face and a strong decision. My bday cake is going to be from Prankster!