The chilli-scented oil that coats your Barcelona Shrimp may be EVOO, but the taste is from a well-run machine. The servers who take your order (and know the intricacies of the harissa you ask about) have seen you before, just with a different group of friends. Even the interiors at Sly Granny – the newest diamond in Khan Market – seem like they’re saying hello to you for the second time.
It’s hard to be familiar and fresh at the same time, but maybe that’s what puts the slyness in to this all-knowing sexy matriach. You think she’s old, but she’s new; you think she’s all sugar, but she’s quite naughty too: her recipe collection, as she hints in the menu, maybe glossed as standard nostalgia, but more likely stems from the continued currency that extramarital affairs hold. For this, she gives you not only a collection of contemporary European classics – think lots of globally hip stuff like quinoa, mezze platters, and deconstructed cheese toasts - but also a stiff cocktail menu. We highly recommend the posh gin and tonics.
On a Sunday evening, the place is bustling – well -eeled Delhi circles nod lightly to jazz at a life-is-good volume. The embrace between crowd and place is easy, so easy that you almost question whether your tastes, your circles, and your life have become all too predictable. For an establishment to know you this well is the tiniest bit unnerving. It’s almost like they can sense you’ll pull out your phone and take a photo of the too cute bathroom wallpaper, quickly hand-ironing your jeans like you always do.
A small army of well-versed gentlemen help us whenever we need them: to change our plates, to bring us a bit more homemade chilli sauce, and to smile when we ask them not to take away the last morsel of a homely chicken enchilada, even though its clearly done. Like pirates on a tightly run ship, they guide you in to their happy, sly world: helping you balance your order between the tapas, small and large plate sections, ensuring you’ll save a little room for dessert.
No matter how much you take their advice, you’re likely to end up with a huge deal of comfort food, simmering under a euphoric amount of cheese. Think eggplant parmesans, special burgers, hand cut-fries, a classic steak, a very tempting sounding pepper salmon, tortellini; it’s the stuff grandma would probably serve to her lover over her husband. More, her omnipresent wink gains power when you realize that while the ostensible heroes are the big guys – lamb chops and juicy burgers - grand joy lies in the most unassuming of things. If you’ve caught on, you’ll get two of their flawless parsley salads.
And at the end, the satisfaction that SG brings is on the one hand, good food and good prices. That can be reason enough to come back with every single one of your friends in the order that they discover it. But for this to become a biological bond - the PCO of our adulthoods – we need a graph that goes a tad more up-and down, and we don’t mean in service and quality. We mean in things that should happen here: dear Sly Granny, let the promised naughtiness in a little more, and take a little less care of us in just the right ways. If the good pirates manage that, we’re blood.
Getting there: No. 4, Khan Market, Rabindra Nagar, Rs. 2,500 for two.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.
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