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29.01.2018

Even if Last Call’s name is meant to be an explicit declaration of its place in the hierarchy of choice, we give it a chance at irony. Maybe not such a good idea; or maybe we’re being unfair by trotting over at lunchtime on a bright Sunday afternoon. We’re happy to forgive the seemingly hungover wait staff, but then they say Bloody Marys are not available, plunging us into a sea of sadness from which even the loveliest of winter rays cannot save us.

Khan Buy Me Love

Beautifully located next to Perch, Last Call is a no-brainer for the spillover from Public Affair or for those who want to ease in to Town Hall. A majestic blue door is a promising welcome, and the space within – two large floors – reeks of Khan Market Capital; seven optical stores could open up in its place. We’re glad they didn’t.

Last Call is serious about broadening our prospects for fun, and altering the way we see things otherwise. We do not question Intent: the space is decorated with jovial accents, such as a bright, hand-painted peacock wall, and comfy Electric Room style ruby-red velvet couches, an invitation to indoor smoking and drunken conversation. The staff are dressed in blue and yellow. However, the report card really starts to disintegrate with the drinking and dining experience – something that is scary to get wrong in all-eyes-on-you Khan Market.

Unless you want to feel like you’re in Las Vegas in the middle of the afternoon – or have an illicit deal to wrap up, fast – you’ll make your way to the top floor which manages to get ample good light. If you don’t pay too much attention to the defunct water fountain on the terrace, there is enough space to drink outside and soak in the afternoon. The service staff (even those who may have enjoyed Saturday night a little too well) is super pleasant, particularly the lady who attends to us; she has the lovely ability to anticipate our needs beyond toppings and napkins.

Even though our backs are turned towards her when we try the lethal, over-spiked, near-illegal ‘last call’ (a cocktail made of gin, elderflower and a ruby punch), she knows from the lightness of our sips that things have not gone down well. Later, she picks up on our strong distaste for a whiskey sour – much too strong to enjoy, and carelessly mixed.

Whoopsie Goldberg

But alas. The politeness that runs through service is unable to compensate all the hiccups, especially the missing items; it’s the kind of place where you end up asking for which of the listed items they actually do have, catching your own ugly sarcasm.

With expectations running up and down, it’s a bit hard to cope with the general Last Call experience, and the food does little to change the graph of satisfaction. We order what we believe are simple things: funghi pizza, Harissa fish, a small plate of stuffed red peppers. While nothing is bad enough to complain about, absolutely nothing is good enough to lift our mood. Things may be a little different to the wasted, but we’re pretty sure we’d be unable to forgive overuse of the same, stringy, processed cheese that blankets most of our orders. The harissa too, is well-cooked, but lacks deep-seeded flavor, and anything that indicates expertise in the kitchen.

The last bummer is that their card machine is defunct. But before we leave Last Call with a head full of complaints, we notice one deliciously bizarre, anomalous thing that finally creates a point of distinction. The bookcase on the second floor is filled with serious books on dentistry. We run our hands through the bound journals, the un-opened issues on new root technology, and wonder – if this is last call, there seems to be a whole after-party plan, and that’s where we’ll probably finally get the filling that will bring us satisfaction.

Getting there: Last Call, 2 & 3, Khan Market. A meal for two with a round of drinks costs Rs 3,200.

Accessibility: No wheelchair access.

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