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Going South

india Updated: Jul 23, 2010 00:58 IST
Jimmy Chew
Jimmy Chew
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

So there we were on a Saturday morning, racing around South Delhi, trying to find a breakfast place. Four abortive attempts later, the conclusion was — Delhi just does not do breakfast.



Certainly not anytime before 11am unless you go to a hotel. Which is a pity, as breakfast is possibly the best meal of the day.



I should have tried the newish International Diner at GK1’s buzzy, young M-Block market which does serve breakfast at 9am. I double-checked this with the waiter. At such an unGodly hour? Yes, he said, we do. Everything from bacon and eggs to

parathas

to a seafood omelette. And the full English breakfast is served all day. I was very tempted to have just this when we headed there for dinner this week but opted instead for the beef burger on the recommendation of a friend.



It’s a nice place. The trippy neon blue strip lighting at the entrance is a bit disconcerting and a strange plastic sheet in front of the open kitchen is a bit off but the place is spacious and cool, in a most uncheesy way. In a bid to stay true to diners everywhere there was a bit of Elvis and Cliff Richard belting through the speakers but as the evening wore on, the music got (thankfully) a little less corny and yesteryear.



The burger (Rs225) was most unburger-like and I wish the waiter had warned me. The patty had been replaced with diced tenderloin and placed on a bed of mayonnaisy coleslaw. Now coleslaw may be experiencing a moment in the sun internationally now but this version was not. The burger was tasty enough but, my expectations having been built up by the said friend, I was disappointed. My companion’s New Zealand lamb chops (Rs875) was better appreciated. Nicely cooked, if needing a little more firmness and charring, it was served on good comforting mashed potatoes. The starters were disappointing. A Lebanese salad of fatttoush was nothing more than a huge bowl of iceberg lettuce dressed up with all manner of spices and the patlican

kebab

(Rs240) dish of minced lamb was blah. Service kind of made up for everything.



It was attentive and good and the staff seemed pretty kicked about working there and keen for us to know everything on offer. With M Block Market experiencing a dining out revival of sorts, International Diner should do well with the young crowd. It has a great bar and a smoking terrace and the menu is pretty good with respect to representing many cuisines and diner staples. And, of course, they serve breakfast at 9am.



We also tried out the new India Grill, which you can access both from the hotel lobby and from the DLF Place Mall in Saket. It felt a bit food court-ish. In fact it felt more airport restaurant (the one you go to with a voucher when your flight is delayed and the airline is forced to make you comfortable so you don’t bitch too much). Like many new restaurants that have opened, India Grill too has visible cooking stations and it has a pretty impressive wine collection which flanks one side of the bar.



The menu is hotel lobbyish — Indian and Italian mostly with some sandwiches and a mini nod to street food. We started with a paper thin Milano pizza (Rs495) which was very good, topped with lovely pepperoni and featuring a gentle tomato sauce and just enough cheese to keep it light. We also ordered mocktails but these showed no sign of appearing and the waiter told us, a little mournfully, that he had simply forgot. This amnesia continued through the meal as he also forgot the chicken parmesan we ordered AND a green banana kofta. The chicken did come after we pointed this out — long after the other main course dish and the

kofta

never made an appearance. Service was comical. Rice from the lamb biryani was dished more liberally onto the table than our plates. The biryani (Rs 495) was inoffensive and much enhanced by a good

dal tadka

(Rs225). The parmesan crusted chicken (Rs545) when it did finally arrive (sadly when we were too full) was very, very good. The small-boned chicken was crisply tasty, nicely flavoured with the parmesan and just lovely with the red wine jus and the strangely gritty mash.



We hope to try the interesting sounding green banana

kofta

, if the waitstaff can get it together to remember.