Socialize, Social-network, Social-media; the word ‘social’ seems to be taking over our lives. And now, Riyaaz Amlani, owner Impresario (of the Mocha and Smoke house Deli fame) brings to us how he envisions a physical form for the word, in the form of an all day cafe and bar called SOCIAL.
“You remove form from design and all you are left with is function.” Riyaaz explains about the interior decor or rather lack off in the space. “Coffee shops and cafes have been projected as your “Third Place”, a place away from home and your work/college. With Social, for the very first time in restaurant history we have introduced the Second Place concept, a place where you can both work and play,” he continues.
Spread over 8,500 square feet with a stunning view of both the Hauz Khas monument and lake, the decor of Social has been left to a bare minimum, with exposed brick walls and tiled flooring, made to resemble an old warehouse or New York loft, as was my first impression when I entered. Rugged yet chic, everything found in Social is recycled or up-cycled. The unfinished bare walls and naked bulbs dangling from the ceiling are juxtaposed against the plush leather sofas. Skeletal table clamp lights add strong lines to the large communal tables, while jute blinds cover the large windows. Everything here has been found and not bought, adding to the character of the space. Social has everything an office has; a boardroom, wall-space, conference facilities, wall-to-wall uber high-speed WiFi and built-in social interaction, along with an app for the same. The app lets you order and review food, check out the restaurant’s playlist and even check in on what the other guests in the space are up to, to allow room for collaboration and interaction between tables. Once the day ends, the work space at Social shifts gears to become a high energy bar.
Then of course, there is the food. The menu combines ingredients and cultures from across the world with a street food experience sitting in a cafe. So your fish of your Fish and chips is mini-bites, served in a mug while your Wow Bao’s, a Turkish street dish, plated to look like a burger. That element of quirkiness is not to be missed while there are not enough words to describe how tasty the food was, but that is not surprising, as experience has shown me Mr. Amlani loves his food and usually gets it right. The drinks menu is like something out of a science fiction laboratory. The Deconstructed Moscow Mule, for instance is served in a mule mug, with a beaker tied up in muslin cloth with smoked Vodka and a pipette with bitters. While the Long Island Iced Tea was actually long, served in somewhat of a long glass tube. The cocktails are definitely going to be a draw for Social.
All in all, I am definitely expecting Social to attract a young and creative crowd. Especially those who find sitting in a conventional office to cumbersome. But, will it be a long-lasting solution to keep this easily bored Generation Z excited and fill the gap left by regular coffee shops, that is yet to be seen!
Address: 9A &12, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi