Hauz Khas Diaries

No trip to Delhi is complete without visiting the bustling and beautiful Hauz Khas village. The quaint little pocket sits midst a bustling metropolis. So close, yet so far from all the flyover and metro constructions; its an oasis of art,culture and of course food! So I went twice 🙂

First I went with my school friends for our mandatory catch up session. This time we decided to meet at the Ogaan Coast cafe. My first impression?I was just so glad that this cafe is accessible by a lift! For all those who have trudged up the narrow staircases of Hauz Khas restaurants, you know what i’m talking about 😉 Once there, this bright and cheerful cafe with a pretty view of the tree tops through bamboo arches instantly put us in a good mood.

6 We then sat down and looked at the menu which is a strange mix of things. The Malabari curries made sense since its “Coast Cafe” ,but why was I being offered Tempura Tacos and Chunky Penne Arabiatta? But that’s the hazard of being a cafe in India…no restaurant will be profitable without the mandatory pizza/pasta/burger! So we ordered the Home fries tossed in mustard sauce, Quinoa Salad and the pepper Mushrooms. Good things first-the salad was quite a revelation. The mix of textures and flavours was delightful. The salty feta,the sweet pomegranate, the meaty quinoa, the slightly bitter arugla was just perfect with the cherry tomatoes providing a burst of freshness.

2

But what can I say about the fries. Its one of those things that is very hard to get wrong, but they did. Imagine soggy fries and bland to boot! That’s what we got. The special mustard sauce was inconsequential, and I added generous amounts of salt to make the chips palatable and ate it all up(we are just gluttons for fries, what can I say!)

Even the Mushrooms lacked seasoning or much flavour. My conclusion was that the food was made relatively bland to suit the palate of the foreigners who frequent the Hauz Khas cafes, a problem we face often enough in Jaipur.

1

For main course we ordered the Vegetable tempura tacos and the veggie Kokum curry with malabar parathas. I loved the presentation of the tacos, of course I got so fascinated that I forgot to take a photo. but it was something like this –

taco holder 11By the time the curry rolled in, I remembered to whip out my phone to take a picture.

4

Thank god for Kokum, because the tangy and spicy curry saved the day and we polished off the entire bowl…no complaints! The parathas were probably the frozen ones you get at the super market. They tasted fine. Oh and the Tacos were strictly OK.

With a spot of shopping to work off the meal, we then headed to Elma’s cafe. A steep flight of stairs up, and in a new location, this place has defnitely lost some of its charm. We ordered a few things including the lavender cake and some mocha macaroons. I have personally always found Elma’s a bit overrated. Their food is nothing great and their cakes are either too swet or too dry. Which was exactly what happened. As I bit into the macaroon, it crumbled into tiny dry bits onto the table. The Cake too was a bit too creamy and sweet and ended up being all show and no go.

lavender cake

macaroons

There were a couple of cheesecakes also, but I didn’t taste them.

My second trip to the village was a couple of days later when I dragged my brother to sample the buckwheat crepes at Flipside cafe that I’d seen on David Rocco’s Dolce India. We hunted but couldn’t find the cafe, and it turns out the fame that David got to the cafe has helped them upgrade and they are now “Barsoom”. The interiors are swankier but they have retained most of their old menu including the Crepes. I finally got my crepe…a buckwheat crepe with a sunny side up egg, ham and cheese. It definitely was worth the wait and anyway you can’t go wrong with that classic combination.

crepe

My un-adventurous brother ordered the crispy chicken burger.It was a bit on the dry side but adding the mayo helped.

crispy chicken burger

We rounded off our lunch by stepping down to Gelato Roma. And the only word I can think of to describe their product is SUBLIME! I asked for their vanilla flavour, which was unavailable that day but I happily settled for the Baileys. It was everything I imagine eating gelato in Rome will be like. Creamy yet light, bursting with flavour yet subtle.

gelato

Ok Ok, I confess… I went back for the vanilla the next day. I could see the little black specs of vanilla and so it really was the real thing! Delicioso!

But for me the highlight of the multiple visits to Hauz Khas is its wonderfully old-wordly and arty-chic vibe, albeit carefully cultivated. I think the next time i’ll just pack a picnic at home and soak in the sights and sounds of an era past and a bohemian future 🙂

graffiti hauz khas hauz khas 2 hauz khas 1

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