Quirky interiors and calamari rings to die for make Evoke worth the drive down OMR
We’ve arrived at the building that’s already home to Sigree The Global Grill and Mainland China on OMR. But we’re here to visit Evoke, the newest watering hole on this stretch. Kishore Kumar, the consultant who launched Diff 42 in Velachery and Bobby’s Bistro in T Nagar earlier this year, greets us as we walk through a giant barrel-turned-entrance. We take our time observing the interiors — wooden crates on the walls, more barrels hanging from the roof, and seating to suit every occasion (tables for two, Japanese-style lounges and a dedicated section for sports fans). This already feels like home.
Evoke is the brainchild of Ashok Gunakundru, a techie for 13 years who hopes to turn serial restaurateur soon. “This is a place where you can come and unwind, have a meal with the family or just have a drink. No restrictions on shorts and slippers,” says Kumar, listing a slew of beverage offers that cater to large groups, football fans and even lone diners. On the menu there’s a mashup of several things that complement alcohol. Like the calamari fritters that we begin with. Kumar might have wanted to save them for last, for after these crispy rings of Cajun-seasoned squid, all else is only second best. But the juicy chicken leg burger does give it stiff competition. Compliments to chef Antony Xavier who has carefully infused a smokey flavour into the de-boned chicken leg, and retained its skin, before sliding it between the buns.
As we sip on fruity white rum cocktails (coconut, orange and white rum, anyone?), we also try a very Indian, though annoyingly spicy, beef chaapli kebab and a masala-laden machi ajwaini tikka. Happy that it’s seer fish and not the usual basa (Xavier promises not to use the Vietnamese import here), we move on to a hearty carbonara pasta after reaching the bottoms of our glasses. Evoke will soon be borrowing desserts like the pannacotta, cheesecake and tiramisu from Bobby’s Bistro, we’re told. Add that to the fresh interiors, smart menu, large cocktails and sweet deals, and we think Evoke just might strike oil.
Cocktails from Rs 500 onwards (Rs 300 during happy hours). Meal for two at approximately Rs 1,200. Details: 9677198191
— Ryan Peppin