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Desi Roots

Desi Roots

By Anubhav Sapra

There are very few restaurants in Delhi which have a “pull” factor. Desi Roots seems to be one of them. It is delightful how the dishes are experimented with and yet have their “desipan” intact. Its ambience which has already been talked about a lot is worth mentioning here for its creativity and how it instills a re-learning of the childhood days. It does make you observe how things have changed since then.

Here, you will be greeted with the relaxing sound of a bell. The ambience reminds you of your past especially if you were born in the late ’70s or the ’80s. The wall is painted beautifully with children’s games – which today seem to have been lost somewhere – like lattu, kancha, stapu and many others. I can associate with this very well; I remember how I used to play lattu the whole day under the scorching sun outside my house. Another corner of this place has a trunk that consists of comics like Champak and Chacha Choudhary. Reminding me of my early days again, it gives me immense pleasure to share it here that I had a large number of comics which I used to lend to my friends. I acted like a little librarian, keeping records in a notebook. On the other side of the café, are big milk cans, a sewing table, a coal iron, a headlight of “Humara Bajaj” scooter- all bound to make one nostalgic.

IMG_20150506_131519Coming to food, Desi Roots has an interesting desi menu with a modern twist. The guests are treated to a complimentary medu-vada, which is a dal pakoda served with coconut and mint chutney. It is important to mention here that the staff was very welcoming. Personally, what matters to me more than the food is the warmth with which it is served. On the recommendation of the chef, I started with lamb galauti paate with ulte tawe ka parantha. The galauti kebabs are grounded in to a spreadable paste. Galauti which means ‘melt-in-mouth’ comes with a twist where you relish a ‘bite-sized ulte tawe ka parantha’ with its pate and mint chutney, topping it with some spiced onions for an extra edge.

IMG_20150506_143435After this I had chipotle chicken tikka with avocado raita. The dish was served over a smoldering bed of iron. This was simply delicious; succulent pieces of chicken were perfectly marinated. This was served with thick avocado raita. I was amazed to see ‘kulle ki chaat’ on their menu. This chaat is an Old Delhi specialty and you get it only at a couple of places in Chawri Bazaar, the most famous ones being Hira Lal Chaat Corner and Jugal Kishore Ram ji Chaat Corner. I had the kulles of cucumber and watermelon which were no less than the ones you get in Old Delhi. The kullas were filled with masaledaar chickpeas; the tinge of lemon juice to it was just perfect. I also had deconstructed samosa with aam papad chutney, served with a golgappa. It had four layers of papdi filled with cooked potatoes, dry mango sauce, sev, yoghurt and pomegranate seeds. However, I did not like this dish much.

IMG_20150506_141841In the main course, came a mini toy truck loaded with Ambala Cantt. mutton curry accompanied with tikona parantha, mukka pyaaz with lemon and kumquat achar. I was disappointed with the quality of the mutton since it was a bit chewy for me. However, the curry was flavorful and the paranthas were amazing with their apparent soft and triangular layers. In the vegetarian section, the chef served four different varieties of khichdi – classic, juvar, quinoa, and bajra, in small clay pots and mini pressure cookers. All of them were mild in flavor and tasted more like ghar ka khaana. It was delicious!

IMG_20150506_150915In the desserts, I was served “Jamaulddin ki kheer” famously known as “Bade Miya ki kheer”. Every morning, kheer is sourced from Jamulddin’s shop in Lal Kuan to Saket and served cold. Another dessert which had a nice twist to it was badam halwa– baklava with shrikhand. Shrikhand was sweet and sour in taste and went well with the badam halwa.

Overall, it is a great place to be at where eating is such a visual treat. Treat yourselves with Ambala Cantt. mutton curry, chicken tikka, and the varieties of dishes along with the ambience which is ought to take you down the memory lane.

Address: G-16, Ras Villas Mall, Saket.

Meal for two: ₹ 1200.

Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.
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Woodbox Cafe

A BOHEMIAN ADVENTURE

By Prakriti Bhat

One is spoilt for choice at Hudson lane in GTB Nagar. It caters to every mood with an array of eating joints. From Korean to Italian, you get it all here. Since it is very close to the north campus of Delhi University, this area frequently hosts students who come here to slake their taste buds. The only way for an eatery to survive here is to be different from the others in every possible way. And Woodbox Café has managed to endure this wild race successfully. With its avant garde interiors and economical prices, Woodbox Café is a hit with the college crowd.

Manika Pahwa, an interior designer along with her brother, a budding architect, came up with the idea of establishing a restaurant where they could combine their individual skills to provide a culinary cum artistic experience to their customers. And this is how Woodbox Café was born in August 2013 in GTB Nagar. After an overwhelming response, another branch was opened up in Satyaniketan in March 2014, near Venkateshwara College. “We are consciously targeting the college crowd. They need not go far from their colleges to have a wholesome meal. Quality food and ambience are our forte. We aim to bring an offbeat food experience closer to the masses. In fact not only students but also families have visited and appreciated our outlets.”

cycleAt a walking distance from the GTB Nagar Metro station, Woodbox Café has something which many other restaurants lack-space. It has a rooftop and underground seating arrangement as well. The walls are designed in a very non conformist manner using pieces of cloth, forks, spoons, nuts and bolts, pins, etc. They add vibrancy to the whole décor. The hanging lanterns are made from strings, straws, playing cards and artificial foliage. The rooftop area is equally well decorated with broken glass bottles embedded in the wall. The wash basin is fixed upon a bicycle and over it is an old fashioned, rustic yet interesting “Victoria station” wall clock. In the evening, fairy lights adorn the canopy-like seating arrangement. With such striking interiors, it scores high on concept and designing. Another advantage that Woodbox Café has is its location. It is situated a little away from the main road and thus has a peaceful environment.

caesarEvery dish on their menu is presented well with appropriate condiments like breads, etc. Kitkat shake and Ferrero Rocher shake are lip smacking beverages which are widely popular amongst the regulars here. Their black currant soda is something to look out for. Neither very sweet nor very salty or fizzy, it is the perfect drink to quench your thirst. All drinks are served in Heineken or Grey Goose vodka bottles neatly cut to make glasses; an exceptionally innovative idea widely welcomed by the visitors. The Chicken Caesar Salad has a generous amount of chicken shreds along with a delicious dressing. It is much better than the nearby rival, Ricos’ Caesar Salad. For vegetarians, the Grilled Mushroom Sandwich is a blessing from the heavens. Each bite has a sumptuous filling of juicy mushrooms and cheese. For non vegetarians, Cheesy Grilled Chicken Sandwich wins my vote. The chicken is grilled to perfection with the requisite spices mixed with garlic, thyme and cheese. Sandwiches are served with crispy salted wafers and a dip.

The crispy honey potatoes fall flat with their not-so-appetizing flavor. The Picante Pizza is a specialty of this place. Topped with jalapenos and bell peppers it tingles your taste buds with its piquant flavour. The Indiano Chicken Tikka Pizza is a delight for the eyes and mouth. Biting into these thin crust pizzas will transport you to Italy and its rich legacy of pizzas. Penne Arabiatta is the usual white sauce pasta; tasty but nothing exquisite. Their Spaghetti Aglio Olio is a personal favourite. Laced with seasonings and chilli flakes, it is the best spaghetti I have had so far. It’s better than their other entrée, Roman Spaghetti. The pastas too are served with buttered garlic bread. Also, their Chicken Lasagna tops my list of best lasagnas. It is baked exceedingly well with a liberal topping of cheese and spicy minced chicken filling. I guarantee that this dish will leave you asking for more!

sandwichWoodbox Café is a one of its kind food chain as it works towards not just providing classy dining experience but also promotes a healthy environment. They have erected a big junk collector outside their restaurants and provide attractive discounts to people who bring in junk like papers, magazines and similar dry waste. They also have thematic menus served according to different festivals. “We are constantly re-innovating our menus and interiors and for that purpose constructive criticism is always welcome. We plan on taking the brand to other towns like Chandigarh and Dehradun”, says Manika. They recently opened ‘The Vintage Avenue’ in GTB Nagar which is fast becoming a rage with the students owing to its floral and old world interiors.

Woodbox Café is definitely the place to go if you want to have a holistic foodie experience replete with good music and prompt service.

Location- 1, DDA Market, Hudson line, Delhi University-GTB Nagar, New Delhi

Cost for 2-600 (approx)

Contact no.- 011-43090454, 9350507004

Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.
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“All time is just the right time, only at it’s 9”

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 “All time is just the right time,only at it’s9”

By Ayushi Teotia

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Situated in the heart of Chanakyapuri, surrounded by exquisite embassies and an enchanting green environment, besets a café with a unique concept justified by its exceptional name being “It’s9 Bakery Café”. As the name suggests, it’s quite an amazing quaint bakery sharing boundaries with the famous Bikanerwala, in Yashwant Place Complex. The seating being up stairs conjoined with a glass door entry, flight of stairs, finally opening up to sublime ambience mingled with well decorated art pieces adorning the white wall. Upholding to its name, the Café opens at 9 am, giving anyone the leisure to pop into the place for a wonderful breakfast, a chit chat over coffee, or a sumptuous dine in with the family later in the day.

The place is well lit, well laid out coupled with a moderate seating area, large glass windows and is well anointed with arts and paintings of contemporary style. The blueprint of the place suits perfectly for a college hangout, catering specially to the needs of a good café and bakery in the vicinity of the south campus colleges. Launched fairly recently, the place meets the growing demand for fresh and delicious baked goodies at pocket friendly rates.  The menu card is a chic hard board appointing a perfect blend of perfect selections from continental and western food cuisine. The English breakfast section is particularly attracting in the menu, which offers a wide variety of food options for all occasions. The baked goodies are the signature dishes of It’s9, ranging from freshly baked Croissants, Danish, Quiche, Loafs, Baguettes, to Sweet Treats like muffins, tarts, donuts, cakes, pies.

Burger

Sizzlers

Among the favorites, the chef’s specialty “It’s9 Special Chicken Burger”, was distinctively interesting, both in its presentation and taste. Served in the shape of “9”, comprising of a tantalizing bun filled with the proper amount of chicken cooked just right, coupled with delectably perfect potato wedges and salad, is a dish you must not give a miss. The salads are equally mesmerizing, my recommendation to try being the slimmer’s special salad and the chicken Rambo salad.The signature dish being ‘It’s9 Special sizzler’, is a glorious medley of mutton cutlet, chicken steak, chicken sausage and roast potato with a fried egg, which doesn’t fail to disappoint in any regard. The coffee section offering limited but exotic options also must be given a shot.

IMG_8205In the beverage menu, the Mocha Shake is particularly amazing, appealing especially to the taste buds of people who like it more on the sweet side. The rates are affordable and the quantity is satisfying, which is fairly good.

 

 

 

Price ( for two ) : Rs 500-800.

Overall Rating : 8/10

Closest Metro Station : INA

Location : Yashwant Place, SatyaMarg, (Next to Bikanervala), ChanakyaPuri, New Delhi.

Whether it’s 9 or not, this place is a definite winner to be visited anytime during the day as a great casual hangout arena providing a refreshing experience topped with a friendly and courteous staff.

Photographs by Foodie Photographer :Vidur Mayor

Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.