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Follow the Sun

india Updated: Jan 08, 2011 00:25 IST
Aasheesh Sharma
Aasheesh Sharma
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Nostalgic about the salad and cappuccino you devoured at Café Turtle last winter? Does the thought of eating amid the greenery of Lodhi, the Garden Restaurant or the terrace at the Triveni Kala Sangam brighten up your mood? Well, it is the right time of the year to head out for a leisurely lunch and soak in some sunshine over a glass of wine or a cuppa.

Beyond five star restaurants and old favourites Connaught Place and Khan Market, a few new eating joints are gradually gaining converts for their outdoors eating experience.

Thirty-something travel entrepreneur Anita Gurnani has made the sunny lunch at Thai High, in Mehrauli’s Ambawatta complex, a weekly ritual. Last fortnight, for instance, she hosted guests from Switzerland. “Where else can they get crispy vegetables tossed in tamarind sauce over an espresso, as they sit on a terrace overlooking Adam Khan’s tomb? Standing on the terrace, I feel elevated when I look at the Qutub and the other heritage monuments in the neighbourhood,” says Gurnani.

Gurnani is not alone. Mohit Sippy, 33, has taken a day off from his research job at the British High Commission for a family lunch at the Garden of Five Senses in Said-Ul-Ajab. “The location and ambience makes us feel we are far from Delhi’s madding crowds, traffic fumes and cacophony,” says Sippy.

December to February are when the Sippys like to experiment with cuisines other than Indian, adds his wife Sangeeta, as she digs into her Penne pasta at Fio Country Kitchen and Bar, which offers Italian and Indian fare. A few other restaurants at the other end of Said Ul Ajab (Gate 3), are acquiring a steady clientele, too. Two of these, Spice and Magique, have promotions running for their Sunday brunches. The fixed menu brunch at Spice, the Oriental restaurant that opened last year, costs R 899 (plus taxes) inclusive of spirits and salad. Binging on an unlimited amount of Jacob’s Creek does sound tempting. The winter lunch bestsellers at Magique are the New Zealand Lamb Chops (R 1100 plus taxes) served with potatoes and fresh Miso cheese.

An open-air café with the kind of weather that Delhi enjoys is the best spot to sit back and get a sense of place, says Robert Gasper, 55, a lawyer visiting the Capital from Los Angeles. “I want to nurse my coffee and watch the city go by from a terrace restaurant,” he says as he takes in the sun at Q’BA, in Connaught Place. “If it was LA, the entire parking area in Connaught Place’s inner circle would’ve been taken away by tables. Why doesn’t Delhi have more streetside cafes?” he asks.

A recent addition to sunny restaurants in the city is Forgetful Elephant, which opened in December at Greater Kailash One’s busy M Block Market. “We have a good range of barbecue dishes and authentic English cuisine,” says co-owner Jitin Pal Singh.

The options are numerous. Don’t let the winter chill dampen your mood. Begin the year on a bright note and on a full stomach, after a long, leisurely sunny lunch.


Bright spots


Fio Country Kitchen & Bar
Set up last year at Said-ul-Ajab, it can seat close to 200 people at a time
USP: Indian and Italian cuisine
We recommend: The thin-crust pizzas, priced between R575 and R675
Address: Garden of Five Senses
Call: 29536309, 9971004536

Spice, by Q’BA
Set up in April 2009, it specialises in Oriental cuisine
USP: Thai dishes that are supposed to enhance your health and well-being
We recommend: Som Tam, the raw papaya salad (R270), followed by Sea Bass with seafood sauce (R500)
Address: Gate 3, Garden of Five Senses
Call: 29533775, 9650537666

Magique
One of the first restaurants to launch at the Garden of Five Senses in Mehrauli
USP: Cosy ambience
We recommend: The brunch buffet (R1,200 plus taxes) with its sushi, salad Lebanese and live pizza counters.
Address: Said-ul-Ajab, Garden of
Five Senses, Mehrauli, Delhi
Call: 9312138427

Thai High
The food and the restaurant’s ambience more than make up for the narrow approach through Mehrauli
USP: Surrounded by world heritage sites, it offers healthy Thai cuisine and has an impressive beverage menu
We recommend: Deep-fried Red Snapper fish (R450-650) and the Bailey’s mousse cake (R295)
Address: Ambawatta Complex, Mehrauli
Call: 9899000086, 26644289

Punjab Grill
Founded by Jiggs Kalra, it is a hit with hardened carnivores
USP: Warm service
We recommend: The succulent Chhamp Taajdar (R450 plus taxes) and a phirni for those who have a sweet tooth. The lunch buffet is R525 per
person plus taxes (Monday to Friday). R625 on weekends
Address: Level 2, Select City Walk
mall, District Centre, Saket
Call: 41572977, 9311124849

Ai
The restaurant has live stations for sushi, teppanyaki and robata
USP: Located between two bars
that serve some fine cocktails
We recommend: Tender pork
belly starter, paper pot nabe
and the sushi platter
Address: MGF Mall, 2nd Floor,
District Centre, Saket
Call: 40654567

Smokehouse Deli
They serve nice saffron
pappardelle and burnt butter brioche
USP: The ambience: tasteful lamps, pen sketches and relaxing music
We recommend: The breakfast: From sandwiches to cereals and at least
nine varieties of omelette
Address: DLF Place Mall, 125, Ground Floor, Vasant Kunj
Call: 46075646

Religare Arts Café
An arts gallery with a café, located in Connaught Place, popular with those who like romancing on the terrace
USP: Great view and prompt service
We recommend: The pasta combo: Penne, fettuccine, or spaghetti tossed with arabiatta, pesto or mushroom sauce (R175)
Address: 7, Atmaram Mansion, Level 1, Scindia House, Kasturba Gandhi Marg
Call: 43727021

Latitude 28
Come here for a leisurely meal
USP: A good assortment of
pastas and salads
We recommend: Chicken breast
chestnut, grilled fish and prawn curry
Address: 2nd floor, Good Earth Store, 9, Khan Market
Call: 24621013

Forgetful Elephant
Launched in December, it has begun to attract shoppers from Greater Kailash One’s M-block market.
USP: Location and ambience.
We recommend: Swiss Raclette (R425 for veg and R475 non-veg). Order from seafood, lamb, chicken and cook them at the table-top raclette oven
Address: M-25, Greater Kailash, Part 1
Call: 40668888, 8527423887