I’m stoked to finally share with you the places I’ve discovered in the capital! During my first visit a few months ago, I barely had 4 hours to explore some no-frills eateries. This time, however, I managed to stay on for a day after the Tata Tigor media drive. And what a delicious day it was!
From a tiny, hole-in-the-wall café to a Bihari restaurant, here are some of my finds in Delhi!
ESPRESS-O-VILLE, Satya Niketan
The road on which Espress-o-ville is located is terrible, to say the least. Barricades, potholes and such horrible traffic that the idea of running into oncoming traffic is more appealing. If you have the (im)patience to brave the traffic in true Delhi-style, with generous honking and expletives, you’ll find this darling little café called Espress-o-ville!
A welcoming green façade with a sign that says “We’re not expensive. Try us” is enough bait. Inside, you might feel like you’re sitting in an old English couple’s living room – with pastel green walls, white vintage furniture, floral cushions, photo frames and wooden finishes. The food ranges from Italian to sandwiches, burgers and wraps and your choice of flavoured eggs with a great range of cold beverages, teas, mocktails and hot chocolate.
Espress-o-ville serves excellent breakfast, so it’s the perfect place to cure a hangover. While I went there to satisfy a pancake craving, the heart-warmingly friendly staff suggested the Tiramisu flavoured cappuccino to go with it. Tiramisu is an indulgent Italian dessert but thankfully, the cappuccino wasn’t a pure sugar rush. In fact, it was heavenly! Deliciously aromatic, richly flavoured and that buttery mouthfeel that’s proof of full bodied coffee! Would go back for it, especially since it costed less than Rs. 120!
Cosy on down, select a book from the shelf (win!!) and spend the afternoon reading while you enjoy one of their many spectacular offerings!
BIG YELLOW DOOR, Satya Niketan
Looking for lip-smacking food on a budget? Here’s the door you should be knocking on. Located right next to Espress-o-ville, the yellow door is enough to grab your attention. If not, the long line outside surely will!
This dimly lit restaurant, called by its acronym, BYD, is anything but shady, however careless the interiors may look. It’s a popular college hangout and is always packed, thanks to their paisa-vasool offerings. They stock up on juicy burgers, pastas, milkshakes and winning fries amongst other things. Also, I’ve had the best Butter Chicken Pizza of my life here!
If you’re looking for something indulgent, their desserts are sinful. The Oreo Shake and Rocky Road are super popular but they also have intriguing offerings like the Red Velvet Coffee and Bomb Burger that are just as amazing. Proof of how popular BYD is among patrons is apparent when you look at an entire wall covered in messages written on hundreds of post-its. All in all, the service is friendly and you will leave stuffed, but without that hold in your pocket.
The portion sizes are generous, so it’s best you visit with a friend or two.
POT BELLY, Chanakyapuri
Pot Belly Café in Chanakyapuri is a wonderful respite from the bustle of Delhi. This one-of-a-kind restaurant offers the most authentic Bihari Cuisine. Yes, Bihari. Delhi is multi-cultural, after all!
You can choose to sit outside and gaze at the fresh, green lawn or indoors by the French windows which are just as charming. The interiors are extremely spacious, shabby-chic and homely. Wooden chairs, distressed tables and empty frames on the walls add to the simple aesthetics.
The food is as hearty as a home cooked meal. I tried the Pakora Basket, an assortment of batter fried vegetables that came in this interesting terracotta dish. Paired with masala tea in an equally quirky kettle, it was the ultimate combo!
Potbelly is famous for Litti Mutton, a dish comprising of wheat balls stuffed with roasted gram flour and other ingredients served with two vegetable side dishes. I didn’t love the litti, to be honest, although it was as authentic as it gets! That mutton, though! It was so delicious and spicy that it had us sweating through every bite.
Chinese, Italian and other global cuisines have become a little monotonous, haven’t they? If you’re open to embracing something Indian (that’s not Mughlai), I’m sure you’ll appreciate this gem!
MASALA TRAIL, Janpath
While driving past Janpath one night, we stopped for a bottle of Keventer’s Kit Kat Shake from a small take-out window at Janpath. It was then that we got a glimpse into the Masala Trail’s quirky interiors behind the window and returned the next day to try it out.
Masala Trail, like Elco in Mumbai, is the place to go for hygienic street food. The menu is vast with street food like Kachori with Aloo Subzi from Bihar, Dabeli from Gujarat, Thukpa from the North-East, Agra ke parathe, Tamaatar ki chaat from Varanasi and even Kerela styled Appam and Stew, to name a few.
This drink is called Bihari Namkeen or Meethi Sattu. Another first for me! I don’t know about you guys, but greens floating in my drink is so WEIRD!!
Colour makes me happy and this fun space has tons of it – bright metal chairs and sofas, intricate auto rickshaw paintings on the walls and even multi coloured crockery. For a place as multi-cultural as this one, there are sure to be authenticity issues. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting visit!
Delhi is undoubtedly known for its tandoori food. Maybe next time, I’ll feature some of those!
Let me know if you’ve eaten at any of these places or have discovered a restaurant you think I should feature.
Stay in touch!