The Brick House Diner – The new Big Boy of Burger scene in Delhi

UPDATE – 26th January 2012 – The Brick House Diner is no longer in business.

It has been a natural inclination of us FEDs to visit or raid outlets which have an established name including some valued treasures which have reached a legendary status in the food scene and their claims and reputation can never be questioned by any critic or enthusiast. But this time we found ourselves in the mood for some questioning. We thought, with so many new and exciting places springing up around town, why not try and see what they have brought to the party. After-all, it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it, right?

We decided to venture out of our comfort zone and carry out a raid on a brand new and un-heard of place without any expectations what-so-ever. So, our little experiment led us to “The Brick House Diner”. 

This is what you call a burger in all its glory, The Ghost

Since this is a new place, not many had heard of it, and there was just a little if any information available online about it, but their claim of making the “Best Burgers in Delhi” tempted us foodies to go ahead and find out whether their declaration holds any water and how their food appeals to the palate of the FEDs.

 This place is in Satya Niketan and just in the beginning of the little market opposite Venky, look to your left for their neon sign when you take a left turn from Ring Road after Moti Bagh Gurudwara.
The FEDs
Whenever the FED group gets together, the fun- friendly “college canteen-ish” atmosphere is instantly created and this time was no different. We worked our way through the menu which is vast and very expansive. I was a little put-off and confused to see items like Aloo Pranthas and Egg Bhurji on offer. I do love my pranthas but I wouldn’t head to a diner if I ever have a craving for them.

For starters we decided we’ll trust the owner Bhuvnesh, and he got us a sample of a few of his Tapas grilled items. The non-vegetarians had more options to sample but sadly the vegetarian choice was neither varied nor very exciting. We tried the Shrimp, Lamb, Chicken, Pork and Buff. Each of them had a different and distinct marination but the one that stood out for me was the Pork with the Buff being second. The shrimp was passable but the Lamb and the Chicken was avoidable.

The Shrimp Tapas
Pork Tapas
Buff on Skewer
Lamb Tapas
Chicken Tapas
Along-with the starters we sampled two drinks, The Cafe Frappe which is essentially the machine vended Nescafe Frappe with a few additions to make it stronger and less sweet and it was not bad actually. The other was a Litchi flavored Iced Tea which was again alright but the fun part was a nice little “litchi-jello” shot inside the drink which many of us confused for an ice cube. What I observed is that none of us ordered the drinks again with our food and instead preferred the regular soft-drinks, so nothing extra-ordinary in the drinks space. Perhaps some interesting milkshakes would do the trick. 

It was time now to get down to business and do what we were there for, Take on the burgers. 

Once again, there was not much choice available for the vegetarians, and I had started kind of feeling bad for them. But that was only until I was served with “The Ghost”, that’s what they call their biggest burger. It’s this monstrous thing loaded with three large lamb patties, cheese, sautéed mushrooms, a fried egg, fresh lettuce, caramelized onions and, as if that wouldn’t choke an artery, I asked for some extra bacon strips to be put on it as well. The things that we have to do….phew..

After getting over the sheer size of the thing, we figured out the best way to tackle it. Opening your mouth wide enough to get the whole thing in is impossible, but how much ever I did was absolutely wonderful. Their meat patties are fresh and so are the other ingredients. All four of us who opted for this burger were glad that we did. Their patties are not at all greasy and they definitely have got this one right. It got all the marks in my book.
The Ghost
Interestingly, the owner informed us that they are coming up with a Man vs. Food type “The Ghost Challenge” wherein if anyone can finish (get this..) 5 of these burgers within 45 minutes he gets to have his (or her) picture put up on their “Wall of Fame” and the meal is free of charge (not calories) but if, by any chance, you happen to be human and you cannot finish that much food, your picture is put up on the “Wall of Shame” and you have to cough up the money. Feel free to take them up on it.
Another lamb burger that deserves mention is the Baconator which had a single lamb patty and a few strips of bacon plus the other regular toppings. After-all, you can never go wrong with bacon right?

The other non-vegetarians amongst us who were averse to eating red meat naturally opted for the chicken burgers but I frankly didn’t see that much happiness on their faces as there was on the red meat eaters. One of them told me that the Classic Chicken burger was average at best.

Ghost against a regular Burger
Delightful French Fries
Not to be left behind, upon seeing the enormity of the ghost burger, the vegetarians requested a “Veg Ghost” which the owner very graciously attempted but sadly, as it was an impromptu request, it was not a very good one. In fact, they purposely took the Veg Ghost off the tab and insisted on not charging for it as it was not satisfactory. Shashank gave them some of his expert feedback and Bhuvnesh the owner took note and promised to re-work the thing from a scratch.

They do praise their pizzas, and they are different from what I’ve had anywhere as they make the dough with a unique mixture of regular pizza dough and the dough used in Kulcha’s. They are worth trying out and they have a wide variety of toppings on offer.

Veg Harvest Pizza
Pesto-licious Pizza
We tried their pastas and were not disappointed. The non-vegetarians all loved the Ala Carbonara Fettuccine as the plate was wiped off clean, they have got the cream reduction rather perfect on that one. The Spicy Chicken Sausage pasta made with penne and fusilli was also done right as was the Pasta Bolognaise with a marinara base and an interesting mix of seasoning.
Ala Carbonara Fettuccine
Spicy Sausage Pasta
I noticed a few other interesting items on their menu, like the 16oz Rib Eye Stake, which I would have tried but couldn’t because I was stuffed to capacity. 

Bhuvnesh the owner graciously gave us a complementary taste session of his passion fruit puddings in 4-5 different flavors. They were very light and refreshing and were like a healthy alternative to cheesecakes. All of us unanimously voted for the Litchi one as our favorite.

Passion Fruit Puddings
What they have got bang on target is their pricing. Their prices are modest and definitely fall in the Value for Money category. Their biggest burger The Ghost is priced at a modest Rs 300 with the others ranging from Rs 60 to 150. The pastas range is from Rs100 to 200 and the quality that you get is no less than what you get in some of the other snooty high priced restaurants. 
Happy faces with Chef and Owner Bhuvnesh
The fact that stands out most in our experience is the fun that we all had in sampling the different dishes. It is a nice place for a big group of friends to just gather together and have a good laugh. The thing most appreciable is the willingness of the owner to constantly get a feedback so he can go back and improve his food. Being new there are quite a few areas which need improvement and he sure seems up to the task.

The thing that will make me go back to the Brick House Diner is definitely the burger, but moreover it will be the laid-back non-commercial unpretentiousness of the place.

I would rate the Brick House Diner a 3 out of 5 with a strong potential to improve further.

UPDATE – 26th January 2012 – The Brick House Diner is no longer in business.

My First Food Raid – The Brick House Diner – A Vegetarian’s Perspective

UPDATE – 26th January 2012 – The Brick House Diner is no longer in business.
 
So today was the day when I went for my first “FED raid” as they call it. It was so frickin’ brilliant. Bunch of foodies gathering together, literally ordering everything possible from the menu. As I was going to visit this place, I was reminded of the episode from How I Met Your Mother, where Marshall waits 8 years to eat the best burger in New York.

And as today I was coming back from the “raid”, my sister’s first reaction after coming near me was that I smell of food. So mission accomplished.

A yummy non veggie burger, look at the cheese dripping out. Yumm !
So we all, as decided, went to a place called The Brick House Diner, located right in front of Venky (the college). The best part about the “Diner” is its location. As soon as you turn left towards Venky, you can spot the shiny neon sign.

The interiors are, as the name suggests, made of brick, although the space is short for large gatherings. It is a comforting, non formal setting and that is what works I guess when you open a diner opposite a college.

The Raiding Party, waiting patiently for their food to arrive
The Raid Party, from another angle

So I heard that the place was famous for its burgers. There are very few places in Delhi which serve good burgers and that too vegetarian ones (and no I am not including Mc Donald’s in the list, for the love of god people, come on). There has been Hard Rock, American Diner and News Cafe. The last one i haven’t been to, but have heard a lot. Burgers have always been a non veggie paradise and I still have yet to come in contact with the best burger in Delhi. The best vegetarian burger!!!

The litchi ice tea. The transparent thing is the litchi Jello-O, superb
So it started out quite differently than usual with 2 drinks coming our way. The first one being a frappe and the second one was a litchi ice tea. The frappe tasted like any other nescafe frappe and it wasn’t until my friend pointed out that it was sweeter and chocolaty than normal frappe. I am not much of a coffee person and frankly couldn’t make out much. But the litchi ice tea was quite a surprise. It was regular ice tea with a hint of litchi. Pretty good but the surprise was a litchi jelly masquerading as an ice cube. For the longest time, I was wondering that why wasn’t the ice cube melting. Very clever and innovative. This has potential to be a sure hit with the campus crowd.
Finally starters for the vegetarians, one in green color, the other in brown
Some non veggie starter, looks fantastic.
Again something for Non-vegetarians
Shrimp Tapsa, the non veggies couldn’t stop eating and we couldn’t stop looking and get jealous

For starters, there was a tapas platter containing two veggie skewers. One green in color and the other brown. The green one had peanuts and peas and I couldn’t make out about the other one. The former was definitely better than the brown one and overall made for quite a good start.

The Erstwhile Garden burger, ahem
The Non-Veg burger again (don’t know which one) in its full glory

After the drinks, came the main course. There were a million varieties for non veg burgers and only 2 for vegetarians. But the chief chef had cooked up a very special, experimental 3rd variety for the health conscious, calorie counting campus crowd, which is not on the menu. The chef was trying it out for the first time and was asking us for opinions about the same.

The experimental one was a garden burger, another one was a veggie’s delight and the third one was a beetroot and corn burger. We ordered one of each variety but sadly due to a mix up with the waiters, we got 4 garden burgers and one veggie delight.

Fresh and crispy French Fries – They did a great job with those

Now I am fundamentally and conceptually against healthy food. And I am generally not excited when anything is named after a salad. The garden burger was kinda dry and for the first time I was missing a tomato slice in it. (FYI I hate tomatoes). I have always wanted my burgers to be juicy and succulent and this sadly wasn’t. There was no cheese (gasp gasp). But still a decent effort and considering that it was made specially for the FED raid, it was very sweet of the chef. But here’s hoping that it never makes to the final menu .

The second burger, the veggie delight, was juicier and thankfully had cheese. However, I could not taste any of the garlic mayo as promised. The third burger never came but honestly would love to see what they do with beetroot in a burger.

Pestolicious Pizza, it really was pestolicious
Melt in your mouth Pizza filled with Cheese, Superb !

The pizza we ordered was a pesto based veggie pizza. Now too much of pesto can really screw up a pizza and make it bitter. But here the pesto was in moderation and unlike the usual tomato based pizzas which are oh-so-common. The best and I mean the best part is the base of the pizza. It is a secret recipe and is made by mixing two kinds of dough and what a dough that was. The base was soft and melt-in-your-mouth kinds. The veggies nicely cooked and the cheese strands literally filling your mouth coming together with the oh-so-soft pizza and perfectly cooked veggies. People were sniggering at my tendency to put mustard on it but hey I liked it better with the mustard.

The best part about the place is the pricing. It has its pricing spot on, aiming at the campus crowd. Burgers for Rs. 80 and pizzas for Rs. 150-170 something, this was a shock in these Rs. 500-700 ranged burgers available nowadays.

The big daddy of ’em all – The Ghost Burger, three layers of patty and you can see the half fried Egg in between
Chicken something Pasta – Looked heavenly
The pasta again, 2 seconds before it vanished from the plate
The non veggies on the other end of the table had huge grins on their faces as they gorged on the “Ghost” burger (3 layers of patties and a half fried egg (hmm??) in between) and chicken pasta and some such. The place clearly has more varieties for non veggies as most burger joints are. There was a vegetarian version of the Ghost burger too, which was prepared using the same ingredients as the Garden (erstwhile) burger. Loved the size of the burger (it was incredibly huge) but think will stay away from it as I wasn’t a big fan of the garden burger to begin with.
Laurel and Hardy

And the regret of my life, the greatest Pic of the GHOST Burger, the veg version

I am especially interested in their “Man v/s Food” contest where patrons have to eat 5 big ghost burgers in 1 hour. And it will have a wall of fame and a wall of shame too. And of course their jello shots which fellow FEDs got after I had left after eating my share and that too ON THE HOUSE (WHAT THE HELL!!!). They couldn’t stop talking about it too and then posted a pic to make me jealous.

The Jello shots, which fellow FEDs got on the FREAKIN’ HOUSE (daaammmnn !), they look divine and am sure tasted that way too

So vegetarians can go to this place for its comfortable, non intimidating surroundings and jelly filled ice teas and surprisingly soft pizzas. Not so much for the burgers though. For non veggies, well by the looks of my fellow feds, they’ll be back for sure for more burgers and pastas and what not.

Mouthful of the Ghost Burger
The FED responsible for it all, Harbeer, having time of his life.
Shubam and this pic needs no caption.. hehee
Me looking at the carnivores go at their burgers, SIGH !
A satisfied bunch, with Chef and Owner, Bhuvnesh

PS The awesome, mouth watering, makes-you-wanna-drool pics are provided by none other than the Chief FED – Shashank, we should probably name him something like “Captain” or “General” !

UPDATE – 26th January 2012 – The Brick House Diner is no longer in business.