Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Urban Cafe, Delhi

Urban Cafe
70, Khan Market
Middle Lane

Ph: 4359 7128

Khan market is turning out to be our favourite destination for eating out on a whim.We wanted to try something new and had heard good things about Urban Cafe, so we decided to give it a try.

After climbing up a flight of stairs, and passed through a glass door, we entered a small room with about 8 tables with assorted seating options and black and white lamps. The decor had a kitschy Mad Hatters tea party meets Rocky Horror Picture Show kind of vibe to it. We later learned that they had more space upstairs, but we were quite comfortably ensconced by then.

We started out with a Classic Mojito (430Rs) and a Long Island Stretch Ice Tea (500Rs). I quite enjoyed my mojito which with its lemon and mint is extremely refreshing in this heat. The husband found the Ice Tea to be quite strong and wished he had ordered the non alcoholic one.

The waiter recommended the Thikha Murg tikkas (280Rs) that were quite delicious. Tasty, soft, well marinated bites of goodness, not the generic stuff that passes for chicken tikka just because it has a red colour. We also asked for the black pepper crusted tenderloin (245Rs) that came in bite sized pieces arranged around a house salad as an appetiser.

From this very combination, you can surmise that Urban Cafe offers at least 2 different styles of cuisines. Having tried the Continenetal and the Indian, I would vote for the Indian items, even thought the Continetal was also quite good. Having decided this, we chose Indian items for our dinner.

Bharwa Amritsari Kulcha (40Rs) which was stuffed with a potato base, was a good size, cut into 4 pieces, it can be quite filling. And the ghosht biryani (300Rs). While the biryani was a bit oily, the taste was really good and the crispy onion garnish was just right.

The most outstanding items on the menu were definitely the desserts. We had the Bailey's creme brulee (200Rs) and the Warm Chocolate Pudding with ice cream (240Rs) I wish I had taken a picture of the warm chocolate sauce oozing out of the pudding, but I was too engrossed in scooping up the gooey mess to douse in ice cream for a wonderful balance of hot and cold. The cremem brulee was good, but unfortunately we have had superlative creme brulee's recently at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Dubai and Ai at the MGF mall, so this one kind of paled in comparison.

They currently have a citibank promotion which gives 15% off on the bill if you pay with certain citibank credit cards. Then they add the 12.5% and 20% VAT on food and alcohol and a service charge of 20%.

It is a place I could go back to. But there is so much competition in Khan market, where my number one choice is still the Big Chill Cafe.

Ambience : 3 (Maybe the 4 noisy kids at the next table, just spoilt the setting for us)
Food : 3.5
Service : 3 (They forgot to replace my knife when serving me the mutton biryani which was NOT boneless and other lack of attention to finer details)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Casa Portuguesa - O Palaccio, Delhi

Casa Portuguesa - O Palaccio
E 12/70 Hauz Rani
(Opp DLF Mall)
011 2667 1270

Due to some construction (purportedly an MCD parking lot), the approach to O Pallaccio is a rather adventurous trek. But the moment you enter, its like you are transported out of Delhi and into a different quiet world which welcomes you in and helps you shrug off the dust, grime and noise of the outside.

Painted entirely in white to resemble a hacienda, the space houses rooms that can be used as an art gallery, showrooms for a couple of fashion designers and the restaurant itself.

The open air section looks like it would be wonderful in the cooler weather, but with the daytime temperatures crossing the 45C mark, we went upstairs into the airconditioned section.

The decor is stark black and white with hints of red thrown in for a splash of colour. There were 2 lovely ladies on duty that day, who did not say much but provided very efficient service.

We were given some complimentary bread with dips, while we perused the menu. As the only 2 diners at the restaurant, it was quite cosy and romantic.

The menu had a lot more Goan items on the list, than any Portuguese food. But since Goan food is heavily influenced by Portuguese food, most people would not realise the difference. Don't get me wrong, I love Goan food, but if a restaurant is called Casa Portuguesa, I would like some Portuguese options too.

We ordered the Goan sausages (350Rs) for a starter and fortunately we ordered the Fried Calamari (590Rs) from the main course as a starter too. The Goan sausages tasted excellent, but the portion was really tiny. Given the strong, sharp, sour and spicy flavors of Goan sausages, this wasn't such a bad thing, but the main course as starter was a good idea. The calamari was pan fried in Reichado masala. Both dishes came with their own side of house salad in a light vinaigerette dressing.

For the main course, we ordered a prawn curry with rice (670Rs) which was a mild red coconut with okra (ladies finger in it) I have had prawn curries with a lot of different combinations, but okra was a first. It wasn't bad though, I think they pre fried the okra so it wasn't slimy at all. The curry was mild and tasty and had quite a few decent sized prawns in it.
Yes, the curry had splashed around by the time it arrived, but given that they had to carry it up a flight of stairs, so we could enjoy our airconditioned atmosphere, we weren't too fussy about it.

I ordered the stuffed pomfret (680Rs) for my main. It came with a large bowl of house salad on the side. The pomfret was lightly basted with reichado masala and some of it had been stuffed inside the fish.
The taste of everything was very good, but I found the seafood to be either slightly overcooked (the calalmari & the prawns) or undercooked (the fish). Cooking seafood needs practice. If you overcook it, it will turn chewy and if you undercook it, well its not a pleasant experience to the diner. When frying a stuffed fish, care has to be taken to make sure it cooks all over. Pomfret especially tends to bulge in the middle and unless you press down the sides onto the pan gently, the sides will only get some dispersed steam from the pan and not really cook properly.

Portion sizes are small. 1 starter and 1 main course may not be enough for an average appetitite.

They were out of Bibinca and only had fresh mangoes and ice cream as a dessert option, so we drove across to the DLF mall to eat dessert at the Big Chill Cafe :)

Water - 1 litre Aqua Fina - was 70Rs.

There was chicken cafreal, some lobster dishes and quite a few vegitarian dishes too on the menu. So it could be suitable for all.

Its a nice place, they just need to get their consistency right in the cooking, or maybe I should stop trying to find excellent seafood in Delhi. sob. Its a place I'd go back to if I was craving Goan and didn't feel like driving all the way to Bernardo's in Gurgaon.

Ambience : 4 (We had the place to ourselves)
Food : 3.5 (Needs to improve touch on seafood)
Service : 4 (Quiet and unobtrusive)


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