Eating out in Delhi? Here’s how the city’s pandemic babies are innovating to attract diners
Despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, a wave of spirited restaurants has been launched, drawing inspiration from memories of the past and summer vacations to create alluring dining spaces.
The Tangra project
Chef Vikramjit Roy’s face shines like the Qutab Minar on a full moon night or, in his case, the Victoria Memorial. He has just launched The Tangra Project, his first âownâ restaurant, after two decades in the industry, with his business partners Vir Kotak and Anurodh Samal. The three had launched Context.Eat, the parent company, earlier last year.
Located on Delhi’s DLF Avenue, this barely two-month-old restaurant is an ode to Calcutta, the city where Vikramjit was born and spent his formative years. From the booksellers of College Street to the Hooghly River, everything finds representation in the restaurant, whether as a decor or as a dish. This includes marble pillars that resemble stacks of books, a giant mural of a vibrant fish that sits sprawled across three walls, and ceiling lights reminiscent of the “toony bulbs” that are hung during pujas and pujas. festivals.
Working on this project brought a whole range of memories to life for Vikramjit. As we bite into a deliciously creamy haleem on toast, he recalls how he used to attend the 1pm show with his friends at the old Chaplin Theater, then wait outside for a specific seller who sold haleem. This is what he recreated.
The kosha mangsho and kochuri are what his Sundays were made up of; he would go to the butcher with his father and get the best cuts to make it a house favorite. In this restaurant, Vikram obediently followed his mother’s recipe for the kosha mangsho. âShe came here and taught us how to prepare it, then followed it with a video,â he laughs.
The menu is a rolodex of Kolkata’s iconic dishes: Chinese, Anglo-Indian, mughlai and of course Bengali. Here you will find bhetki fish wrapped in the tangy flavors of kasundi, kanch kola kofta (meatballs made from raw plantain), cholar dal, Tangra style chili chicken and chicken cutlets so crispy that when you bite you hear a satisfying crunch (#ASMR). The breadcrumbs – in which the chops are coated – are from Kolkata, as are the other raw ingredients.
Then there are the recipes that took shape in Vikram’s head before ending up plastered on elegant tableware. These included parwal guacamole: pointed gourd cooked for 18 hours then made into a fine paste, composed of pieces of tomato and pomegranate, shining like luminous jewels on a bed of greenery. Or spinach, roasted poppy seeds in sesame sauce, a simple but delicious combination. If you’re in the mood to experiment, the menu also offers mustard and tender coconut mousse.
The menu, Vikram says, will continue to change based on each season. Not much of a challenge considering they had to increase the number of entries from 500 to 200.
The Tangra Project Unit n Â° 154-159 Communes, Avenue DLF, Saket. Call: 8929925253
There’s a slice of Pondicherry in the trendy Dhan Mill resort in Chattarpur.
With its sunny yellow facade – speckled with pink bougainvillea – its French doors and courtyard lined with white pillars, this chocolate factory and cafÃ© reflect the laid-back charm of the former French colony. Colocal is a passionate project by Sheetal Saxena and her husband Nishant Sinha. For Sheetal, a chocolate enthusiast, the idea of ââlaunching a bar bean brand came to her while watching videos of cocoa roasting. Curiosity led her to deepen her research on the subject and thus Colocal was born.
They currently make dark chocolate: 55, 66, 72 and 85%. âThe end goal is to reach 95%,â says Nishant, who also owns the Roastery Coffee House in Hyderabad and Kolkata. There are sweets and truffles, and the chocolates are also mixed with sea salt, nuts, caramel, among others.
Colocal’s cocoa beans come from Idukki in Kerala. âWe roast our cocoa in a suitable roaster and that gives our chocolate a different taste,â says Nishant. He says there are often many myths associated with chocolate. âPeople think of chocolate as sugar. Through these tours of our boutique chocolate factory, we are able to show them that it is in fact derived from a fruit. They can see the process from roasting, conching to blending, âhe adds.
The menu is simple, with a choice of breakfast platters, granola bowls, generously topped sandwiches, tacos, sourdough pizzas, and pastas. Hot chocolates – there are about seven varieties, including caramel and banana – are preferred; a sip of smoky campfire hot chocolate and you’ll see why. The fluffy white marshmallows, also homemade, are equally decadent. “The plan is to make quality couverture chocolate and break the international dominance that exists in the market,” Nishant said, adding, “We want to introduce Indian cocoa to the world.”
Colocal, Shade no. 21b, compound of Dhan Mill, 100 Feet Road, Chhatarpur. Call: 9310524620
They have a new branch in Khan Market.
As chic as it sounds, at Klap you can casually give up your crotch. Follow Chef Gurmehar Singh Sethi’s instructions: two fingers, one bite. Apparently, this is the best way to take advantage of the innovative little plates for which this fashionable “day bistro and gastro by night” are famous.
The bistro offers sushi, galouti kebab, golgappa with pomello, dimsums (in stunning red and purple hues, using the natural color of beetroot and purple cabbage) and more. The idea here is to try an array of cuisines rather than committing to a large main course for the whole evening.
There are also large plates. Massaman curry, for example, where meat is cooked for 24 hours in a vacuum machine. The food represents the chef’s culinary journey through London, Dubai, the Maldives and Phuket, among others. The menu also lists favorites from the nearest house, such as appams, Chicken Chettinad and cone dosa.
Owned by Gurmehar, Navdeep Singh Sethi and Alekh Vardhan, Klap was born in April, but had to temporarily close due to the second wave of the pandemic, before reopening in June. Spread over two floors, it has a terrace offering outdoor dining. âThe terrace also houses the Chef’s garden who cultivates basil, bird pepper, ajwain (star fruit), cilantro, ginger blossom, lemongrass and microgreens like amaranth, âGurmehar explains, adding that he believes in sustainability.
For this, the cucumber and tomato peels are dehydrated and served with a pinch of pink salt and paprika, as sea bass appetizers. Broccoli stalks and leftover onions are frozen in blocks of ice, which turn into plates on which sushi, sashimi and nigiri are served.
Klap is currently awaiting his liquor license and is working on carefully crafted drinks, such as a sous vide cocktail and some made with peanut butter.
Klap, 2 years old, Rabindra Nagar, Khan Market. Phone. : 9919918323