Ambience Mall in Vasant Kunj is one of those places that have a fairly good record (as far as I am concerned, and as far as malls in Delhi go) of restaurants that are worth a visit. While it has been home to some disasters like Terminal 1 and Chilis, it’s also home to Yauatcha, to Jamie’s Italian, and to Indigo Deli, all very satisfying places for a meal. And now that goodness is beginning to spread outward—to the space just outside the mall, in the paved stretch between Ambience and its neighbouring mall, DLF Promenade. Situated here is a small outdoor alfresco dining area attached to Big Fat Sandwich.
There is nothing fancy about this: the tables and chairs are comfortable but not upholstered; there is no canopy overhead (not even beach umbrellas), and no fans or other means of cooling, so I should think it would be impossible to sit here when it’s summer—unless they shift inside. For the winter and the spring, though, this is a nice little place to sit, because there are lots of potted plants and the like. You are right in the thick of things, too, what with the outdoor bazaar (with stalls selling mostly very glittery clothing and accessories) around and the constant—if in the background—movement of people walking between the two malls.
But we were here for the sandwiches, of which we’d read rave reviews on a foodie group we frequent on Facebook. Big Fat Sandwich is aptly named: the sandwiches are the focus of their menu. There are two salads (just a nod, really, to the ‘healthy’-minded); a few variations on fries, including one which comes loaded with bacon and cheese; bottled (but cold-pressed) juice mocktails; a couple of burgers, and a couple of desserts. The rest of the menu (which isn’t huge, anyway) consists of sandwiches of different types. There are eight vegetarian options to choose from, and eight non-vegetarian ones.
My husband and I both picked pork-based sandwiches (though there are several lamb and chicken options in the non-vegetarian section too). He chose the Texas Massacre, described as ‘barbecue style pulled pork served with cream cheese’; I ordered The Morning After, ‘coffee glazed bacon mixed with a spread of date goat cheese topped with rocket leaves’. For drinks, there were cold coffees, Coke, water and the juices (a brand named Juice Up) to choose from, so my husband chose a cold-pressed orange juice, while I settled for something called Melony, which consisted of watermelon juice, mint, lime and ginger. We also ordered (though I later realized it was a bit too much for both of us to consume) an order of large fries.
This is a self-service place, so they called out to us a few minutes later to pick up our bottles of juice. Chilled and lovely, and very refreshing. I would have liked the ginger to be a wee bit less prominent in my drink (I am a fan of watermelon juice, which was primarily why I’d ordered this particular juice), but despite that, I liked it a lot.
The sandwiches, which are made right there (in what looks rather like a stationary food truck, minus the wheels) took longer: about 10-15 minutes. At our request, the chef cut each sandwich into two halves, our idea being to conveniently split them between us.
The fries were the sort that proclaimed ‘cut inhouse’ all the way: thick cut, with the occasional little flaw or not-exactly-uniform bit. Crisp and delicious and so good that even I, who don’t usually have fries, ended up having my fair share.
But what really bowled me over were the sandwiches.
First, the Texas Massacre, which was basically a generous helping of pulled pork in barbecue sauce, between two burger buns slathered with cream cheese. That had sounded okay to me, but not enticing enough to order—but it turned out superb. The main plus (and what a plus!) here was the meat: perfectly cooked, very juicy and tender, and (unlike a lot of other pulled pork dishes I’ve come across in Delhi), with a good balance between lean meat and fatty. Much of what I’ve had elsewhere is far too lean; this one had lots of beautifully melty fat strips, which was perfect.
Second, The Morning After. This one came with the filling sandwiched between two slices of toasted crusty bread. Some wilted rocket leaves, a sweet-salty goat cheese spread, and lots of bacon. I am a fan of bacon, rocket, goat’s cheese, and the art of combining salt, sweet and umami well, and this sandwich was close to sublime as far as I was concerned. The fact that the bread’s crust was separating from the crumb, and that the bacon was a tad too chewy in places, detracted from a near-perfect experience, but still: if asked to choose between two fantastic sandwiches, this would be the one I’d pick.
I’m wishing I’d visited Big Fat Sandwich earlier, perhaps when the weather was more conducive to sitting out in the open. But one hopes that they won’t shut down and will instead shift indoors, or do something (put up an air-conditioned tent? I don’t know). Fortunately, I’ve discovered that Big Fat Sandwich also have an outlet at the food court in Select CityWalk Mall, so in the absence of this one, I can always go there…
We paid Rs 1,100, all taxes included (they don’t levy a service charge) for our meal. For something that was filling and absolutely delicious, I thought that was good value for money. A definite thumbs up from me.
Big Fat Sandwich
Nelson Mandela Marg