City Food – Nirula’s Hot Chocolate Fudge, Hawker Street, Ambience Mall
Lost taste, regained.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The Futuristic City of Gurgaon is in truth weighed down with a lot of past. Like this Nirula’s outlet in the tidy Hawker Street in Ambience Mall.
Millennials might be clueless about the outlet, but it does light up the eyes of an earlier bunch of folks hailing from our blessed National Capital Region. At one point in Delhi’s contemporary history, this restaurant chain used to virtually manufacture memories. Here, the youthful crowd would gang up through romances and breakups. And, lest anybody forgets, this was the place where many Delhiites tasted their life’s first banana split. The epic thing, however, was Nirula’s hot chocolate fudge. Be gentle though, and utter its name with care. Even a fleeting mention can break the hearts of at least two generations who used to lovingly call it HCF.
Till 2010, you found more than 80 Nirula’s blanketing the region. Every neighbourhood worth its salt just had to have one. Now, only about 30 remain, with five in Gurgaon.
And one of them is this tiny kiosk standing out like an ageing uncle on a lane full of fancy joints.
The menu still lists that cherished classic. The traditionalists expecting tall elegant glasses of yesteryears should be emotionally prepared for at least one sure shock— the sinful dish now comes dressed in a paper cup! Otherwise this hot-and-cold blend of vanilla ice-cream and fudge is fairly addictive, though only the oldies can confirm if it still tastes the same. Maybe that doesn’t matter. The point after all is to experience a Delhi that was. Come here with a friend who grew up during the 1990s so that—over a session of HCF—she can gossip about our elders who came of age while flitting in and out of all those Nirula’s that no longer exist.
In search of taste past