After being considered for years as the stepchild of the other more popular market in Greater Kailash, Part-1, N-Block market is finally shining on its own. It offers a plethora of stores that are now attracting not just the usual creative-artistic type clientele, but also more of the young and the hip. They not only come here to shop, but also to spend a day of leisure at the cozy cafes and restaurants, hanging out with their friends. We spend an entire day in the market to uncover the secrets that make it a popular hangout for Delhi’s refined people.
Entering from the front entrance of the market (when you are driving from Moolchand flyover), the first building on the left lane is designer Ravi Bajaj’s store (Shop No. 1), where we found menswear ranging from ties (Rs 3500) to custom-made suits (Rs 120000). Next door is the fine dining restaurant Kasbah (Shop No. 2). It’s Kasa Gelato stall, across the street, is arguably the best street Gelato option in Delhi. Try the Belgian Chocolate flavour (Rs 80). It also comes in a sugar-substitute option. But we have no sugar problem.
On the same lane as Kasbah is a FabIndia store. The retail chain specialising in ethnic Indian wear has three stores here. Apart from kurtas, the chain is also famous for its lifestyle products. Our pick was the wild rose organic soap, priced at Rs 65 each. Other stores in this market that sell similar fashion items are Kilol (Shop No.6), Tarini (Shop No.8), Cottons (Shop No.11) and Anokhi (Shop No.16). Rather than being rivals, these stores offer choices to the shoppers. A typical GK-1 N block market customer might wear a FabIndia kurta to college, a Killol suit to a formal lunch, and a Cottons’ tunic for a relaxed Sunday brunch.
At the end of the lane from Tarini is the popular home decor store — Apartment 9 (Shop No. 9). It offers a one-stop shop for home furnishing, bedding, decorating and lighting. Some believe that every well-decorated house in south Delhi has at least one item with its origin from this store. We peruse their abundant selection, but only window shop so as to avoid a dent in our wallets.
On the far end of the market’s right lane is the leading leather goods store— Hidesign (Shop No. 10). We stopped to take a look at the accessories and luggage. A couple of stores down the lane is Jainsons Tycoon (Shop No. 15) where you can find adorable ethnic wear for all age groups — even new-born babies.
For lunch, pick the healthy vegetarian restaurant Café Turtle (Shop No. 16, 2nd Floor) that has shifted from across the market to this new location, but continues to offer the same menu and maintains its quaintness. We like its fresh fruit drink Sun Shine Glo’ (Rs 185) that promises instant revitalisation along with the hot Vegetable Pot Pie (Rs 225) that is served with a side order of sprouts salad. You can also grab a bite at the bakery Breads & Mor (Shop No. 17), which is the fastest food option (after Raju Dhabba of course) in this market.
Underneath Anokhi in the basement is the bookstore Full Circle (Shop No. 16). The bookshop organises reading sessions and has something for all age groups. We made a pit stop at the Forest Essentials (Shop No. 18) store next door to find the best in Ayurveda beauty products. The body products gift box (Rs 1500) here containing a bottle of body massage oil and a shower gel makes for a good gift item in the festive season. We bought one.
Back on the left lane, above Tarini, is chef Ritu Dalmia’s newly opened Cafe Diva. We ordered a cup of Hot Chocolate (Rs 145) and Tiramisu (Rs 250), which energised us for further window-shopping. Next, we crossed the road to Ramayana Cottage Emporium (Shop No. 12) that sells silver jewellery and semi-precious stones like lapis, turquoise, and topaz. Even with several big brands opening in its neighbourhood, Ramayana, established 25 years ago, remains popular. We’ve heard that Sonia Gandhi’s mother comes here.
It’s evening and we were tired. So we crashed at the wine bar SOAK (Shop No.1, 2nd floor). It is owned, and designed, by Ravi Bajaj. It’s really nice and is a watering hole for journalists from NDTV’s office, next-door. The bar has many rare Australian and Chilean wines on its menu that are sold by the glass or bottle. If wines are not your choice of liquor, opt for the superb Belgian beer — Hoegaarden (Rs 350) that is available on draft or by the pint. Head up to the top floor restaurant Le Café (Shop No. 1, IIIrd floor) and sample from a delightful menu of salads, soups, sandwiches, and entrées.
After a long break, it was time to be young again. So, obviously we headed to Shalom (Shop No. 18). Situated behind the Forest Essentials shop, it is dark and with its low seats, very loungey. Music groups like Medieval Punditz perform regularly here. We’d heard that this is the place to come if you want to rub elbows with some of Delhi’s young politicians, models and other A-listers. But alas, we did not spot anyone. We’ll go again.