Passing through the newly-shorn Def Col this week, we notice a little shop more than a bit reminiscent of New York City’s gourmet fast-food chain, Shake Shack, outside which we’ve spent many an anticipatory hour in the queue for Angus patties and Rocky Road shakes. Curious, we roll up to Aku’s, “The Brrgrr Co,” wondering: would this Delhi upstart pass mustard?
Behind its cheery yellow door, a serious team meeting is taking place, with chef and co-founder Akriti Malhotra taking stock of their first weekend in operation. Crazy, apparently. “Come back tomorrow, please,” she says.
The next evening, we find ourselves in 4S— or rather, half of 4S, whose top floor is sealed. Ordering food seems like an imposition on the squeezed staff, so after several rounds of guava-garnished Old Monk, we hop across to Aku's.
Clearly everyone else in the market has the same idea, because by 10 pm, Aku’s has run out of most items, including their lamb burgers and milkshakes. We console ourselves with addictive truffle fries, a couple of chicken burgers, and a Master Wu, a "wild mushroom" burger, gooey with caramelised onions. Carne Blanca (grilled chicken, sriracha mayonnaise and beet-carrot slaw) and Chalapeño (chicken, jalapeños and peppers) are both satisfying, if messy, the sesame buns falling apart in our admittedly clumsy paws. Blame the Old Monks. The multigrain bun holds up a bit better; Celiacs please note, there's a gluten-free option as well.
Still a little peckish, we decide to return another day for the lamb burger, and sate our gluttony with Kent's heartily spiced lamb burger (deathly, but great going down) at the end of the lane.
Sesame But Different
Return we do, having smoked a pipe of peace in the market park the next evening: and we are glad we did. The lamb burgers (get a Meister which has bacon, onions, and a fried egg) are perfect, each with a tender patty and fresh lettuce. These aren't huge, so big eaters might want to double the patty. The real surprise is Clydesdale, which contains some of the best crispy fried chicken we've ever tasted, the peppery seasoning of the batter melding with the tang of sliced pickles.
So much do we enjoy it that we step out to withdraw cash - Aku’s card machine isn't working yet - and return to order two more burgers. The Chalapeño is even better the second time around, meat beautifully blackened around the edges. No regrets, either, about the two luscious Belgian chocolate milkshakes we downed (the ice cream is homemade).
The lettuce is fresh, the place is small but earnest - the décor features pages of Malhotra's handbook from the Culinary Institute of America - and everything has a hint of that particular shade of artificial yellow that evokes golden arches, processed cheese, and Bart Simpson, while transcending the trashiness typically associated with American fast food. Thank you, Aku, we'll come again.
Getting there: Aku’s - The Brrgrr Co., 47 Main Market, Defence Colony, call +918826669279; take-away available, home delivery coming soon. A meal for two costs around Rs 1300.
Accessibility: A short flight of stairs leads to the restaurant
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