Chef Atul Kochhar, a two-time Michelin star winner, who's known for changing the perceptions of the cuisines of India on a global scale has come together with Vishal Anand, a food and beverage entrepreneur, to open Saga in Gurgaon. The aim of Saga is to help recreate and resurrect lost cuisines and flavours of India -- making the name apt because there's a story about the cuisines and the dishes that are being served.
But before we dive into the cuisine, we'll take a moment to talk about the swanky space Saga boasts of. A majestic indoor space marries beautiful outdoor seating (you can use the outdoor space for a private dining space as well). The 40-foot tall bar display is eye-catching and our favourite spot. Oh, and did we mention the servers' dresses? Eye-catching designs by Raghavendra Rathore. Chef Atul Kochhar has introduced India back to its very own herbs and spices grown around their locale yet not known as much like Timur pepper (version of Sichuan pepper), Manathakkali (a spicey dried berry used in south Indian curries) and Gundruk (a fermented leafy green vegetable from Nepal). Some dishes that you need to try at Saga are Ayam Tikka, a twist on chicken tikka representing the Indian civilisation and culture from the time when immigrant Buddhist monks brought a lot of influence to the food and flavours in India, the Nepali Choila Boti a Himalayan-style chicken dish with Timur pepper, and for vegetarians, a delight called Kandmool, a dish with all the varieties of potatoes available in India cooked with tapioca, saffron cream and tomato chutney.
The cocktails deserve a mention of their own with head mixologist Akhilesh Sheoran's 15 signature cocktails. The Saga signature cocktail menu is divided into 3 major segments -- mild & refreshing, rich & aromatic, and bold & intense. We tried one cocktail from each segment naturally (some of them being the best sellers) starting with Mysore Mahal, a cocktail that represents the golden hues of the Mysore Palace, a perfect brunch/sundowner drink with fresh turmeric juice, honey and gin. Next to taste was the Maharaja Sour, Saga’s take on the whiskey sour with bourbon, berry liqueur, chamomile, and citrus notes and lastly, the Bhadra, a cocktail named after the eponymous wildlife sanctuary famous for its coffee, fig and pepper cultivation. All the ingredients are blended perfectly to create their version of an old-fashioned cocktail.Our personal favourite is the Amalaka, which is a twist on the classic Penicillin cocktail, a well-balanced fusion of Bourbon, amla murabba and pepper.