Bombay vs. Delhi is a subject best avoided – it’s bound to incite the fieriest of debates between the two camps, each staunchly defending their own city.
But this #BomBAE loyalist can concede that there’s much to be admired in the plethora of eats around India’s Capital, having made the most of my recent three-day visit…
Farzi cafe’s new outpost at Connaught Place was our first port of call, after finally arriving at our hotel following a heavily delayed flight and what felt like a lifetime stuck in Delhi traffic (I’m never complaining about the same in Bombay again).
We were quite famished by this point and so wolfishly attacked the indulgent options on Zorawar Kalra’s innovative menu, which combines elements of molecular gastronomy to present an offbeat, international take on Indian food.
Think kulchas stuffed with cheese and slathered in tangy margarita sauce (the lovechild of an Indian and Italian carb fest); pakoras (savoury fritters) filled with mac n cheese; pav bhaji “ratatouille” served with an Italian-style focaccia bread rather than the traditional pav; tender chunks of paneer tikka marinated in a Thai green curry…
And for dessert, a glorious cheesecake sandwiched in Parge G glucose biscuits (something I hadn’t had since school days), served in a thick pool of rabri, a scattering of Cadbury gems on top!
It was a fittingly creative start to our trip to Delhi, which centred on a visit to the preview of India Art Fair the next day, an afternoon well spent making our way around the colourful installations and artworks…
… Cooling our heels in between at the Elma’s Bakery pop-up over a cup of coffee, slice of carrot-cake (moist and nutty, it was as scrumptious as it looks) and the fluffiest finger sandwiches (their wonderfully fresh bread is baked in-house).
It turns out that I have a lot in common with Elma’s founder – Shelly Sahay, who also splits her time between India and London. Named after their family pug, Elma’s was borne from a desire to find a good cup of coffee in Delhi’s historic Haus Khaz Village… the rest they say is history, with the English-style cafe now found whipping up its famous scones (among other treats) across the city!
Speaking of Haus Khaz Village, our visit to Delhi wouldn’t have been complete without a wander down its length of colourful shops and quaint cafes. After perusing the stunning creations lining the rails at Ogaan, we headed up to the boutique’s in-house Coast cafe – an airy and cheerful space looking out onto a lush patchwork of greens.
As the name suggests, the speciality here is coastal fare which it is renowned for pulling off with aplomb, despite Delhi being a landlocked city.
We loved the versatile depth of flavours in our Malabari Cokum mixed veggie curry, a tangy yet subtly sweet combination of kokum and coconut with a heap of veggies (broccoli, beans and carrots), paring it with a crisp hopper on the side. We also tried the soft shell tacos – filled with a spicy mix of beer-battered veggies, these had a real bite to them.
The aptly titled “Monday Morning” washed it all down rather well – a fresh beetroot, apple and carrot juice with a kick of mint and ginger…
It was just the deliciously refreshing recharge needed before we headed out to explore the medieval surrounds of Haus Khaz Lake!
We also made sure to pop into Latitude 28 – chef Ritu Dalmia’s restaurant, housed above the Good Earth store in bustling Khan Market.
The quinoa and avocado salad packed in quite a punch, but it was the beetroot and avocado tartare that was our unanimous favourite, dressed sharply with a tangy tamarind with a sprinkling of caramelised walnuts and coconuts for an added crunch.
In comparison, we were a tad underwhelmed by our main course – an under-seasoned green summer risotto. But a splash of tabasco went a long way in adding another dimension and overall we left utterly enchanted by this whimsical eatery, from its ethereal decor to the fresh beautifully plated dishes!
Of course it was dinner at Indian Accent though, that was the pinnacle of the culinary extravaganza in the Capital – a stunning fusion of Indian and Western flavours, presented with much finesse.
While a journey along the Spice Route – from the sumptuous comfort of our hotel – was quite an experience too!
So what are your Delhi favourites? Do share in the comments below, as I’d keen to put them on my radar for the next chapter of my #DelhiDiaries!