Sharmi on the Trot

Travelling, Exploring, Eating…

Archive for the tag “Cafes in Delhi”

Review: Cafe Yell

My first impression of Cafe Yell at Defence Colony Market was adorable. As you walk inside the cafe, the theme reminds you of clothes and tailors. After all, the cafe is a venture of the clothing brand Yell.

With oversized buttons, sewing machine, measuring tapes and coloured spools as decorations, Cafe Yell gives off a cozy and comforting feeling from the moment you step inside. It’s been about two months since the opening, but Cafe Yell has already made a name in the locality.

The smile is warm and inviting as you are seated. The menu cards are crisp and to the point, each dish described without much fuss, just how it should be. We order for iced tea, lemon soda and Yell watermelon mojito. They were perfect thirst quenchers in the heat which has engulfed Delhi and will continue to do so for some months.

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The food at Cafe Yell is what people are talking about. Let me tell you now how impressed I was. Right from starters to the mains, each dish was well balanced and left our tastebuds wishing for more (of course we’d need gigantic stomachs for that!)

First up, the Mozzarella Jalapeno Bombs had the perfect amount of gooey cheese and with their special dip, the taste just accentuated to a higher level. Don’t we all love Nachos? Well, you must try them at Cafe Yell because it has the perfect amount of topping and melted cheese. Together with salsa and sour cream, they make for a delicious start to your meal. The chicken Quesadilla was tasty and well-seasoned but somehow, didn’t quite hit the mark as much as the other two starters had.

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Mozzarella Jalapeno Bombs were the bomb!

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Chicken Quesadilla!

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Nachos anyone?

For the mains we started with pizza with four different types of toppings – Polo Speziato (chicken), pepperoni (pork), fungi (mushroom) and Spring Fling (assortment of veggies). The thin crust hand tossed pizza was simply outstanding. I’m not fond of veggies on my pizza much, but at Cafe Yell I licked the plate clean (just figuratively!) Then came the lamb burger with fries and slaw. The patty was succulent and well seasoned which is so important while the bun on its own was soft. But the highlight personally was the Risotto with bacon. There are some plates of food which look good but a taste undoes all expectations. At Cafe Yell, the moment the Risotto came out hot, just looking at it made us salivate. And as we took a spoonful to taste, we were left craving for more. The salt from the bacon complimented the creamy rice and took the experience to a different level altogether.

The desserts, however, didn’t live up to our expectations. While both, the salted caramel cheesecake and butterscotch brownie cup were good, we preferred the starters and mains more.

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Yell Watermelon mojito

We found out that Cafe Yell has a breakfast menu. So, the next time we are in the mood for some brekkie, we sure know where to head!

I would definitely recommend heading to Cafe Yell because the food is great, service fantastic and the pocket pinch not too much. So what are you waiting for!

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Review: Taksim at Ansal Plaza

Cocktails at Taksim

Cocktails at Taksim

I stay very close to Ansal Plaza located in Khel Gaon, yet in the short years that I’ve stayed in the city, I’d never manage to go there. It looked so run down from afar. But now there’s a buzz. New restaurants have opened, many more are in the pipeline while a sporting goods store has many visiting Ansal Plaza on a daily basis. Taksim opened its doors in December 2016 but their alcohol license came only a month later. It’s only been some weeks, but Taksim has managed to garner a crowd of regulars, which I might add, is difficult in this city.

“Why Ansal Plaza?” I asked. Sahil, who manages Taksim, replied, “Why not? It’s in the heart of the city, has a huge parking space, a prime location and convenient.” And going by the crowd, it seemed Taksim had hit upon a jackpot — jam-packed on a weekday evening!

The cutlery wall

The cutlery wall

As we walked into Taksim, the music from the good old days filled the air. Lip syncing to Abba and Whigfield and remembering the last time I heard their music, I felt impressed with Taksim’s interiors at first glance. Spacious, a lot of wood, pretty walls and an open space – a really good combination. The menus were placed in front of us as we ordered for drinks – Cosmo for the sister and Taksim Square (vodka with pomegranate seeds and basil) for me. Sipping on the delicious cocktails (both hit the mark), we ordered for the food.

Fish fish, spicy spicy

Fish fish, spicy spicy

First arrived Kohliwada Fish Tikka. Played against white, it stood out against the brown table. As a food blogger, we do tend to let the food get cold just to capture that perfect shot. But not this time! The smell was just too enticing so pictures captured, we dug in. Spicy just the way I like with a mint dip, it set the mood for the rest of the evening.

Crispy spinach with curd, tamarind and mint

Crispy spinach with curd, tamarind and mint

Then came the Palak Patta Ki Milly Filly Chaat (Crispy spinach leaves with yoghurt, tamarind and mint chutney). Each bite had a great balance of sweet and sour. The Ishq Sufiana (cottage cheese or paneer with fennel) was the highlight for me. I’m a strict non vegetarian but the paneer had me the moment it touched my mouth. So soft and well seasoned that each bite had me craving for more.

Paneer love aka Ishq Sufiana

Paneer love aka Ishq Sufiana

The Thai Basil Chicken is a good appetizer option with drinks and cocktails while the Chicken Shawarma is an option when you visit in a group. Served with pita and hummus: tear, fill and gobble! The cottage cheese steak pao is a meal in itself. A slab of cottage cheese in between a bun served with a huge serving of fries and dips, is definitely an option for a main at Taksim.

Chicken Shawarma platter

Chicken Shawarma platter

Thai Basil Chicken

Thai Basil Chicken

Who can so no to dessert right? We ordered the Blueberry cheesecake and Banoffee Pie. By then the lights had dimmed, the 90s music had given way to live Sufi music as the crowd swayed to the rhythm. Taksim actually has music theme nights – from reliving the 90s to EDM and live acts. Realise the kind of music you’re in the mood for and head to Taksim to enjoy a fulfilled evening with good food and music.

Paneer pao

The paneer pao is very filling

Ambiance: 4/5
Food and beverage: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Where: Ansal Plaza at Khel Gaon Marg
Follow Taksim on Facebook

Review: Elation

Nachos

Nachos

As a friend and I enter the famed Greater Kailash (GK) M block market on a Sunday morning, the place wore a deserted look. Usually buzzing with chirpy teens, middle-aged ladies with designer bags and sellers asking you check out their wares; the market seemed sleepy, yet to wake up from slumber on a winter morning.

Finding our way to Elation seemed easy enough. It’s located near Starbucks and the entrance is from behind the market. Taking the elevator up to the second floor, Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t stop the feeling’ greeted us as we walked through the door. It’s a pretty cozy place with comfortable indoor seating and dim lighting. However, it being winter in Delhi, we chose to sit outside on the balcony. This is literally the only time one can! They also have seating on the terrace which makes it perfect in this weather.

Delicious cold coffee

Delicious cold coffee

With beer and cold coffees ordered, we buried our faces in the menu card. Elation is a synonym for happiness. Good food is always a catalyst for such emotions. The variety of food Elation offers its patrons are extensive and honestly, I enjoyed every dish we tasted.

A big bowl of Nachos topped with cheese, handmade salsa and sour cream made an entrance. The salsa delicious and sour cream perfect, the nachos would be top of the line with a bit more cheese. Cheese makes everything better!

The sweet chilly garlic fish bites were delicious. Crispy bites tossed in the sauce and served on a white plate, it made for good photographs and the taste matched up to expectations.

Chicken ham and cheese sandwich with fries

Chicken ham and cheese sandwich with fries

We ordered the chicken ham and cheese sandwich and the recommended baked chicken sandwich. While the former came accompanied by fries (always a winning combination), the latter is what I enjoyed more. The baked sandwich is filling, well seasoned and one piece is enough to gorge on for a meal.

Gorgeous baked sandwich, a must try

Gorgeous baked sandwich, a must try

The Elation Special Wrap is definitely what I’ll recommend among the starters or finger food. It’s slightly on the sweeter side but with crispy chicken and mayo generously slathered inside, I could eat it all day provided of course I consumed nothing else!

Elation wrap

The Elation wrap

With the mains taking a bit of time, the chef sent chicken lollipops to the table. They were tasty but our focus was the mains.

First up, chicken Aglio-e-olio. It’s always a crowdpleaser – spaghetti tossed in olive oil and garlic. I must say it was well seasoned and fresh off the pan and absolutely delicious. The roast chicken breasts in peri peri sauce with mash and sautéed veggies hit the right spot. Spicy and tangy, it paired well with the mash.

Spaghetti

Spaghetti aglio-e-olio with chicken

Fish and lemon butter sauce

Fish in lemon butter sauce with mash and veggies

The last dish on the table was the grilled fish with lemon butter sauce, again accompanied by mash and veggies. I simply loved it. The sauce was not too lemony and not too buttery but just well balanced. The fish was grilled to perfection while the mash was creamy and delicious. I ate all the crunchy vegetables because it was drenched with the sauce making it delectable!

PS: For all the hookah lovers out there, Elation serves a variety of flavours. So what are you waiting for? Go check out the place!
PPS: With Christmas and New Year round the corner, check out Elation’s special offers.

Elation is located in GK 1 M Block Market, near Starbucks. Cost for one Rs 750/-
To enjoy a 20 % off on your total bill from January 1-21, 2017, please reserve a table through this link on DinerPlus 

I wrote this post in collaboration with DinerPlus. If you enjoyed what I wrote and want to try Elation, please book through the above mentioned link as I will get a small commission. As usual, I only recommend what I loved.

Review: Scooter On The Wall in SDA Market

The interiors

The interiors, nice isn’t it?

Walking up the steps, colourful walls kept me company till I reached the first floor. A tire which worked as a door knob, a rather large door knob at that, opened up to a lovely yellow light lit room with gorgeous out-of-the-box furniture while David Guetta’s ‘Titanium’ on the music system had me humming along as I was seated.

Photo frames on the wall make a great style statement

Photo frames on the wall make a great style statement

I’ve been to cafes in India before which have an automobile theme, but none I’ve found to be as quaint as Scooter on the Wall. Located in Delhi’s SDA Market near the IIT, it takes a while to locate the first floor eatery but once you reach and eat, you go home satiated. Quirky interiors, funky music and delicious food – these words best sum up an afternoon lunch experience.

Glancing around I found all tables to be full of chatter and banter. From students to professionals, everyone seemed to be enjoying a long lazy lunch. The tables at the centre which has scooters as table stands simply added to the charm.

The Watermelon Kala Khatta and the Antioxidant. perfect to sip on

The Watermelon Kala Khatta (left) and the Antioxidant. perfect to sip on

As whiffs of freshly baked and cooked food filled the area, the ‘Watermelon Kala khatta’ mocktail hit the right spot on a humid day. Glancing across the menu, it was interesting to notice each food and beverage section had automobile-themed headings, from scooter shakes to the top gear, fuel tankers to headlights!

As the mocktail quenched my thirst, the taste made me go down memory lane… those school days when after the last bell to freedom rang out we would often rush to the chuski stand outside the gates. Kala khatta would be devoured with gusto as we exchanged gossip from different classrooms. Its strange how Proustian memory works isn’t it? After all, we all face the Madeleine Moment in our daily lives…

The peanut butter shake, don't let the colour fool you! But it goes well with the background doesn't it?

The peanut butter shake, don’t let the colour fool you! But it goes well with the background doesn’t it?

All the peanut butter lovers out there definitely order the peanut butter shake here. It’s an overload of peanut butter, which one can’t go wrong with, decorated with cream and sprinkles. It’s perfectly accompanied by spicy black pepper chicken.

Then came the ‘Shishtouk’ platter. Succulent kebabs, delicious hummus, pita and turshi all well balanced and complementing each other. I could indulge on this starter as a main by itself and all by myself. Well, I would have to run 10 km the next day, but hey, well worth it!

Delicious chicken

Delicious chicken

Shishtouk anyone?

Shishtouk anyone?

The steamed chicken suimai that followed came with soup and dipping sauces. Its presentation – on a tray – was nice, especially for pictures against the wooden table top. The butter chicken pasta or the ‘Desiride with Kukkad’ was interesting. With butter chicken extremely popular in this part of India, eateries often try and combine the flavours with Italian dishes. Lastly, the ‘Café Cheese Chicken Burger’ served with ketchup and fries is what I’ll definitely recommend.

Steaming dim sums, nice presentation isn't it?

Steaming dim sums, nice presentation isn’t it?

Butter chicken pasta!

Butter chicken pasta!

Really a good burger!

Really a good burger!

The portions ensure one doesn’t go hungry while the taste lives up to each dish sampled. The interiors make a patron comfortable while the music keeps a head nodding. For the ones hooked to hookah, don’t fear. One can enjoy it while snacking on the munchies!

Ambiance: 4/5
Food and beverage: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Where: 1st Floor, C-4, SDA Market, New Delhi

Review: Tea Trails Café in Connaught Place

White tea served with a tea timer and details

Green tea served with a tea timer and tea details

For some, tea is passion. For some, it forms the very core of their being. Unable to function sans the morning cup, unable to think straight without that specific cup of chai with the mixture of cardamom, clove and ginger, tea becomes a way of life.
For Kavita Mathur, the co-founder of Tea Trails, tea is sheer passion. “I took a sabbatical some years ago. During that time I read up about tea. I visited places and realized tea is huge is other countries. We wanted to take the tea experience to another level in India and with our past expertise in franchising, we (with husband Uday) set up Tea Trails in Mumbai in 2013,” smiles Kavita. The name has grown across India with the aim to have many more such outlets across the nation by 2020.

Burmese tea salad paired along with white tea

Burmese tea salad paired along with white tea

Attention to detail
I visited their newly-opened bistro in Connaught Place on a weekday evening. The location is absolutely fabulous in the heart of the city. What impressed me as I stepped inside was the set up. From the pale green and white combination of colours to soothe the eye to dark polished seating, Tea Trails has got it spot on.
As you sit down, the smiling server offers you a welcome drink. With over 80-100 combinations of teas, coolers and chais on the menu, one has a lot to choose from. I loved that each tea is accompanied by a little note which explains the origins, brewing time and how best to drink it. And, their sampling table is perfect because one can decide on what to take back if one wants after tasting the various flavours.

The sampling counter

The sampling counter

Kavita Mathur

Kavita Mathur

Re-invention, re-discovery
The aim of Tea Trails is to re-invent the popular beverage. To get more people to rediscover tea. Tea Trails believe in pairing tea with food, with the use of leaves in many preparations. “It’s almost as if one pairs wine with food, we pair teas with food,” Kavita adds.
As a delicate white tea was served alongside a delicious Burmese Tea Salad with olive and sesame oil dressing, it paired beautifully with each sip. The balance of the leaves and the flavor was perfect.
Making tea is not an easy task. It depends on the quantity of leaves used, the temperature of water, the brewing time, the quality of the leaves and from where it’s procured. Tea Trails have tied up with tea gardens in Darjeeling, Assam and the Nilgiris to give the customers an authentic experience, alongside procuring leaves from different parts of the world.

Kashmiri Kahwa

Kashmiri Kahwa sans sugar

Delicate white tea

Delicate white tea

Another view of green tea from Kashmir

Another view of green tea from Kashmir

Too many varieties
For the first time I tasted Kashmiri Kahwa without oodles of sugar dissolved in it. It was beautiful. And it pair gorgeously with the olive and green tea bruschetta. My favourite was the smoky Lapsang Souchong from the Fujian province of China. The buttered apple tea was interesting as was the Red Zen tisane. The word tisane always takes me back to Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirit who loved his sirops and tisanes!

Olive and green tea bruschetta

Olive and green tea bruschetta

A cup of smoky Lapsang Souchong

A cup of smoky Lapsang Souchong

Eggs Kejirwal, a deelish Mumbai favourite

Eggs Kejirwal, a deelish Mumbai favourite

Masala chai with lemongrass washed down with Bombay vada pav

Masala chai with lemongrass washed down with Bombay vada pav

Red Zen tisane!

Red Zen tisane!

My suggestion would be to go and check out this new café at your earliest. It’s pocket friendly and has something for all palates. Including filter coffee for the non-tea lovers!

Ambiance: 4/5
Food and beverage: 5/5
Service: 5/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Where: Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Bangalore, Visakhapatnam

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