I’m not a party animal, but Block 22 hit all the right notes from the moment I stepped in. The nightclub is actually several months old, but had temporarily suspended operations due to delay in procuring liquor license. With that piece of red tape finally out of the way, the club is now gearing up to become the next party destination in the city. I was invited to experience the food and drinks on offer on a Thursday evening.
When I walked in, the dance floor was empty, which was not entirely surprising since the property is new and still mostly unknown. The dance floor is large, and the seating area is also spacious and comfortable. The decor is apropos a night club. The dark room is punctuated by shades of neon, red, and yellow with a shimmering 10-ft chandelier acting as the focal point. The music is loud and the speakers pack a mean punch.
Block 22 claims that it has the longest bar counter in all of South India. While that’s one for the record keepers to ascertain, the bar definitely churns out some interesting drinks. We were welcomed with Soffit – a sparkling wine cocktail with Cointreau and Raspberry caviars. The spherified pellets offered tiny bursts of acidity and bitterness that gelled well with the sparkling wine. The next drink – Cladding, continued with the molecular gastronomy theme. This is a White Rum and Pineapple juice cocktail topped with Vanilla air. If you want your drinks to be sweet and delicious, this one will probably have you going gaga. I’m usually not a big fan of Cosmopolitan, but Block 22 pulled off an enjoyable twist on this classic. The base was prepared with the usual mix of Cointreau and Citron Vodka with Cranberry and Lime juice. Lime and Cranberry were spheriphied in an agar bath and served up on the side as spheres. The recommended way to enjoy this drink is to take a sizeable sip of the base and then pick up a sphere that would offer a flavour explosion and balance the sweetness of the cocktail. The Kaffir Lime Passion Sour owes its origins to the Whisky Sour, but almost every ingredient except the egg white has been altered. Voda is mixed with passion fruit and cranberry juice and served with kaffir lime leaves. The aroma of the Kaffir Lime elevates an otherwise fairly standard (but good) drink.
My pick of the night was the Maple Old Fashioned. The Old Fashioned is probably one of the oldest cocktails in existence. The classic recipe calls for just some bitters and sugar along with American Whisky. Block 22 mostly stuck to the brief by mixing Jack Daniel’s with orange bitter and maple syrup, but added a twist by smoking it before serving. A Smoked Old Fashioned is quite in vogue these days, and is absolutely amazing if done well. And Block 22 definitely nailed this drink. The drinks that didn’t quite work for me were the Mosco Mule and Cucumber Stinger. While I enjoyed the fresh and bitter taste of the cucumber that was augmented by the the Angostura, this cocktail definitely needed more of the Gin. The Mosco Mule also had a similar problem. The drink was served to us fairly diluted, and once the ice began melting it was reduced to just being a ginger ale. We wrapped up the night with a modern take on B-52. Kaluha and Bailey’s were spherified and served floating inside a shot glass with Cointreau. Gulping down everything in one go can prove a bit tricky, but if you succeed it’d definitely be worth the effort.
Block 22 also has an extensive food menu covering multiple cuisines. We were served a few appetizers from the menu. Among the vegetarian dishes, the Broccoli Jojo Kebab with cashew, cream, and cheese impressed. It’s amazing how a vegetable that I normally resent becomes delicious once you add some fat and cholesterol to it. Among the non-vegeterian starters, the crispy, semolina crusted murrel stole the show. Cilantro grilled prawns on a skewer served with aoili and Chicken wings in a BBQ sauce were also good. We were offered two main courses – Tawa Chicken Biryani and Creamy Saffron Risotto. The Risotto was a little too creamy for my liking, and the rice wasn’t al-dente. The Chicken Biryani was decent.
The drinks at Block 22 are priced at par with most bars in the city. The signature cocktails will set you back by Rs. 650, while the premium cocktails are priced around Rs. 600. The bar also stocks a range of single malt, scotch, and wines. While I’d love to go back and explore more dishes from the food menu, I was impressed with the drinks. Block 22 has all the ingredients to become a top party destination – glitzy decor, booming speakers, spacious dance floor, large bar, lovely drinks, and some addictive finger food.