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15.05.2018

It’s a rough landing in Gurgaon for our spaceship: we brave a dust storm and a flooded parking lot to make it to Gravity Spacebar in Sector 29. This new land might support life, we deduce, for there are liquids - and lights! - everywhere; neon signs of bars and resto-bars as far as the eye can see. We make first contact with alien life when we spot a middle-aged male specimen gyrating out of a sunroof; he hoots as he passes us.

Comet Me Bro

Outside Gravity Spacebar (no spaces), we see more aliens in their element: Gurgaon bros taking selfies with an astronaut cut-out. One’s face is plastered with cake, the others are simply plastered. However, all sign of life vanishes as we enter the bar.

The bar, though dark and empty, is elegant. Think Tron: cleans lines of inlaid blue and white lights. However, the G-force here proves weak; we float up another level to something that doesn’t even pretend to be a space garden. (You thought we were going to make a joke about Matt Damon and potatoes here, but please, let us spare everyone’s appetite.)

Outside Gravity Spacebar (no spaces), we see more aliens in their element: Gurgaon bros taking selfies with an astronaut cut-out. 

The upper floor abandons the space theme completely in favour of cobblestone floors, wooden accents, hanging plants and botanical watercolours. Have we perchance discovered a wormhole? That feeling persists when we open the menu. Space and time collapse to produce dishes like pao bhaji moyette (?), vada pao kibbeh, Thai Curry fish pakoda and khandvi lasagna; and we thought that the sun had set on molecular gastronomy and (con)fusion food. Not on this planet.

A vangi bhaat croquette shuts up the snarky sceptic in us. Fried balls of spiced rice are served with a dollop of baingan bharta. It’s an unexpected take on a regional favourite, and we love the punch of gunpowder at the end. As for nihari kulcha tacos, it takes us one bite to say Ground Control to Major Tom(ato). Too tangy, too salty, the nihari filling is rescued by thick charred kulcha that absorbs some of its excesses. Even the smoked duck seekh kabab is a little too spicy; it’s not quite #UranusOnFire, but the spices completely mask the natural sweetness and gaminess of duck. Still, this is a solid seekh kabab on its own.

Buzz(kill) Aldrin

The drinks at this bar, sadly, are not stellar. We couldn’t manage more than a few sips of Cosmic Flower, a gin cocktail with overwhelming bubblegum flavours. A rum-and-coke variation on Apollo 11 and an apple and basil mocktail called Desi Romance crash and burn too, both with unpleasant sugary synthetic undertones. Only the Old-fashioned passes muster.

Gravity promises to launch a microbrewery soon - the equipment is already in place - so we will let our hopes rise a little. We want to like this place: the rustic courtyard look has grown on us and the food, even with all the ridiculous names, is satisfying. We don’t realise this immediately but late in the evening, when there’s a cool breeze, the music is softer, and the neon outside is a blur, we find ourselves thinking, ET don’t want to go home, not yet.

Getting there: Gravity Spacebar, Plot 6 & 7, Sector 29, Gurgaon. A meal for three with 2 rounds of drinks will cost around Rs 4500.

Accessibility: The restaurant is on the fourth and fifth floors with elevator access to both floors.

Amrita Mahale is a former rocket scientist. Her first novel will be out at the end of 2018.

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