Interesting restaurants and bars to visit in Delhi

Delhi's got a range of new restaurants
Image courtesy: Naile Pe Dehla Resto Bar

Delhi’s food scene has picked up in recent years with restaurants and bars going to a whole new level to sate the city’s palates with a range of interesting experiences. We bring you a sampling of some that should be on your list.

Food Theory

Many might not be venturing this side often, as this restaurant is tucked inside Delhi Cantonment, but it’s truly worth a visit. Overlooking a lovely green space, we really relaxed as we left the dust and noise of the city behind and nibbled on delectable Palak Patta Chaat, Anjeer Lotus Stem Kebab, Achari Chicken Tikka and Mutton Irani Seekh for starters.

It’s also a great place to go with the family as all the Indian favourites are on offer guaranteeing that everyone will find something up their street, including Meat Chawal for those who want a touch of the simple. For the main course, we feasted on Panchpuran Aalu, Malai Paneer Bhurji, Railway Mutton Curry and Chicken Tikka Masala. The prices are affordable and the food quite delicious. Make the detour to head here – it’s the perfect place for warm winter afternoons.
Address: Triveni Shopping Complex, 22, Mall Road, Block C5C, Delhi Cantonment

Naile Pe Dehla Resto Bar

Earlier known as Niche Lounge and Bistro, this is one of the best places for some innovative cocktails. Our recommendation would be ‘Daisy’ that comes in a chick bottle resembling Marc Jacob’s perfume – made of chamomile tequila, organic chamomile honey, citrus and grapefruit bitters. I also loved a drink called ‘Bird in Hand’, an interesting concoction of a fig-infused whiskey bourbon, handmade apple and cinnamon wood, Abbott’s bitters, Taylor’s fine ruby port and edible flowers. The food is progressive Indian, with some really interesting flavours and dishes – take for example the Pulled Kathal Tacos served with salsa and kasundhi cream. Who thought a vegetable like this could make it to a menu but its quite delicious. We would also recommend the French onion rings and the 62 Degrees Chicken, which is actually cooked at that temperature. The pizzas are wafer thin and absolutely delectable.
Address: M – 16, Outer Circle, Opp Fire Station, Block M, Connaught Place

Fatty Bao

 

We had heard a lot about the mind-boggling range of baos available at this restaurant in Bengaluru and Mumbai, so when it finally opened its doors in Delhi, the foodies in the capital were excited. Try the roasted duck and Char Siu Bao (pork belly) open baos – they are quite something. When it comes to dumplings, we give a thumbs up to the Wild Mushroom and Truffle Oil Dumplings. Other not-to-be missed items are the Prawn Tempura, Tuna Gunkan Sushi Rolls, Brie Tempura, Fatty Oysters broiled with mushrooms and the famous PB&J – pork belly and miso jelly.

While feasting on these, don’t forget the legendary cocktails – Wasabi Drop – with gin and ginger, Fatty Sour – an unusual combination of whiskey and raspberries. When it comes to dessert, don’t think twice about ordering the Zen Forest whose complexity reminds one of a challenge set for contestants of Australian MasterChef. Resembling a forest, its made of beetroot and pepper sorbet on top of green tea moss and chocolate soil with Valrhona chocolate twigs and sesame bark, Yuzu parfait and microgreens and Black sesame sponge rocks – all the flavours you can imagine in a dessert.
Address:
2nd Floor, Sangam Courtyard, Major Somnath Marg, Sector 9, R.K. Puram

The Classroom

Image courtesy: The Classroom

This place is a nostalgic throwback to school days – from blackboards, tables and chairs, school uniforms, a games room to even a canteen called ‘Ramu Kaka ki Canteen.’ The pages of the menu resemble a notebook and an assignment done by a student with wrong spellings corrected by teachers. Divided into sections such as Picnic Munchies, First Break and Lunch break, it’s a mix of Indian, Italian and Continental cuisines. We loved the Goan Chorizo Pao, Palak Patta Chaat, non veg platter which has a generous portion of kebabs and the mezze platter. They’ve got four different kinds of beer but it’s the cocktails, innovatively named after school vocabulary such as Assembly, Attention, Mandh Buddhi and The Detention that we loved even more.
Address: 19-20 Leisure Valley Road Sector 29, Sector 29, Gurugram

Kheer

Don't skip sampling three varieties of Kheer at the restaurant.
Image courtesy: Pallavi Pasricha

When you walk into Kheer your jaw will drop – the opulent interiors designed by Nariyoshi Muramatsu with Indian touches such as bronze temple bells hanging from the ceiling are truly eye-catching. Besides the décor, this fine dining restaurant takes Indian cuisine to a new level. Some memorable dishes of the meal were the grilled lobster, beetroot tikki, jalebi chaat, pizza naan and the tuna salad, but of course the highlight was the delicious ‘kheer’ that included three varieties – gil-e-firdaus or bottle gourd pudding, javvarisi payasam or tapioca pudding and ras kheer or jaggery pudding. Remember, the restaurant is named after this traditional Indian pudding. It’s a 250-cover restaurant with 4 sections including an interesting chaat bar. With its exquisite interiors and upbeat music, it should be on your list.
Address: Roseate House, Asset 10, Aerocity

Arriba

Closeup of a bowl of fresh guacamole. Selective focus; shallow depth of field.
A bowl of fresh guacamole with nachos.
Image courtesy: ©nicolebranan/Getty Images

Let me come out with the truth – while Delhi may pride itself on some great restaurants offering international cuisine, the Mexican options have been few and far between. So my expectations were low when I read about yet another one opening in the capital, but that changed as I walked out of the restaurant.

We were welcomed with our name on a plaque placed on our reserved table. The food had a punch, the guacamole was fresh and one of the best I’ve eaten, and the cocktails were brilliant. We started our dinner with the obvious – guacamole, served with crisp nachos followed by delicious Beer and Chipotle Lime Fish Taco Bites. The stuffed, spiced jalapenos with goat cheese mousse just melted in the mouth and the spicy and tangy cinnamon and tamarind margarita we sipped alongside was a perfect accompaniment. In between the courses, the Jalapeño infused tequila shots made sure we got our share of feeling high. We polished off the meal with churros served with dark chocolate and chilli dip. We couldn’t have asked for anything better on a nippy evening in Delhi, when the weather was perfect to enjoy an outdoor meal. The city finally has a good Mexican restaurant.

Address: The Village Restaurant Complex, Asiad Village, August Kranti Marg, Khel Gaon Marg

Twist

Chicken Suimai
Image courtesy: Twist

Want some good Asian food? Head straight to Twist in Cyber Hub. Their concept is very interesting as they serve Tapas portions – small plates – something new for a Chinese restaurant. But its back to basics, with no fusion or complicated names to confuse you, which of course is often what we crave for. Take your pick from Tiger Prawns Beijing Style, Pork Ribs, Crispy Calamari, Prawn Sui Mai, Kung Pao Chicken and wrap it up in burnt garlic rice or Singapore noodles. Doesn’t it sound heavenly?
Address: 7-18, DLF Cyber City, DLF Phase 2, Gurugram

Hungry Monkey

Try the cocktails at Hungry Monkey
Image courtesy: Shweta Andrews

Spread across three levels, this massive space overlooking the Deer Park is your answer to warm, winter afternoons and chilly evenings when you want to enjoy a nip in the air. The menu, a take on European fusion food, is quite good. Start with drinks like Pepperdine – pepper vodka with lime juice, apple juice, ginger ale and dry ice – a potent drink for vodka lovers. We also recommend the Bourbon Plum – a sweet combination of bourbon, dry vermouth, honey and plum wedges. For starters, sample the chilli cheese fries and barbecue chicken pops and don’t miss the spicy Goan sausage sliders and herb crusted chipotle chilli fish. When its time for dessert, there’s no better option than the decadent chocolate fondue, served with brownies, marshmallows and fruits.
Address: B 6/6, Second Floor, DDA Market, Opposite Deer Park, Safdarjung Enclave

HotMess

It takes courage to open India’s first aphrodisiac bar in the heart of the capital and I headed there with much anticipation. I was not disappointed with its version of fusion food where each dish has one hero ingredient that acts like an aphrodisiac, be it chocolate or chillis. The first cocktail I sipped was ‘Afrodesiac’ which was a mix of vanilla infused vodka with ginger, sauvignon blanc and apple. It tasted good, but was on the sweeter side. I would recommend the Bourbon Smoked Honey Chicken, Celery Garlic Prawns, Philadelphia Cheese Folls and Hot Bean Chicken Steamed Momos. Finish off with a chocolate and strawberry martini. If you have a taste for all things sour, don’t miss Imli Potla – a spicy and tangy cocktail with a hint of tamarind.
Address: M-11, middle circle, Connaught Place; www.hotmess.co.in

AUTHOR'S BIO: A traveller and foodie at heart, Pallavi Pasricha has explored many destinations across the world. But that never seems to be enough and she’s always ready to hit the road again. Her obsession for travel is combined with a love for photography. She is working as the Digital and Community Editor at Lonely Planet India.

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