Haute Spot: Sunday Happy Hour at Nirvana Beverly Hills

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Restaurant owner Deep Sethi is not new to the Los Angeles restaurant scene. He’s managed to launch two successful Indian restaurants that just happen to directly face each other, one on each side of Wilshire Blvd.: the extravagantly lavish Bombay Palace and the more secluded yet posh Nirvana Beverly Hills. Since 2004, Nirvana Beverly Hills has been one of the most sought out destinations, serving exquisite Indian dishes to throngs of high-end clientele and A-list celebrities on a regular basis. And it’s been quite some time now that it’s offered the Bliss Hour–its unique interpretation of happy hour, Monday – Friday, 5-7 p.m.

But what is new is that this exceptional Bliss Hour has recently arrived on Sunday evenings. And interestingly, the scene is drastically different from Friday or Saturday nights when diners pack the front dining area and outdoor patio, and languidly recline on the white sofa beds. At least for now, Sundays are tranquilly quiet and intimate, giving the impression that you’ve stepped into your own private, relaxing Indian oasis. The serene calmness of this restaurant-lounge allows you to truly take in all of the innate details, like the waterfall that quietly drops into the stream that’s embedded into the floor, or the subtle references to the ancient practice of Karma Sutra found in the statues, sculptures and paintings scattered throughout the space.

Bliss Hour currently features eight $6 martinis and eight $6 appetizers. The three most popular cocktails (pictured below, from left to right) are the Nirvana, a smooth, citrus blend of vodka, mint and shaven lime pieces; the Mango mojito, a refreshing concoction of mango rum, mint leaves and sugar, topped off with a spritz of soda; and the Karma Sutra, a robustly strong mix of vodka, pomegranate liqueur and fresh fruit. A personal favorite of mine is the Perfect Bliss, where the pomegranate liqueur playfully and deceptively hides the tequila flavor, resulting in what tastes like an extremely potent Jolly Rancher. We also sampled Destiny’s Release and Absolute Happiness, which led us to the conclusion that whichever martini you choose, you won’t be disappointed because each has a vibrant, distinct flavor.

The appetizers themselves are fresh, revitalizing and innovative Indian fare, perfect to share with two to three people. The Vegetable Samosas appetizer features two gigantic, towering lightly friend samosas filled with warm potatoes and assorted vegetables. The Chicken Tikka features delicious marinated chicken accompanied by a tangy green mint sauce. A highly recommended option is the Gilafi Kebab (pictured below). I have never had lamb this flavorful. A memorable dish indeed!

Sure, there are many great happy hour places during the weekdays, but there aren’t many happy hour – and especially Indian cuisine – options on Sundays. Nirvana Beverly Hills successfully fills that void, so keep it on your radar whenever you’re in the mood for tantalizing cocktails and exceptional Indian food at irresistible prices.

Nirvana Beverly Hills is located at 8689 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, 310-657-5040; www.nirvanabeverlyhills.com.

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