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The notion of a real life warehouse in the middle of CP is odd enough, so when we heard about one that had been turned into a gigantic gastro pub, we took out our hard hats and empty bellies and went for an early shift to Lutyens' Delhi. The fancy factory warehouse spread over 11,000 sq ft has distinct spaces for all moods and the theme runs through everything, including the menus that are called inventory books. The food menu has 365 dishes arranged as a calendar and if you order something from the date you visit, you'll get a nifty 50% discount.
We went digging for drinks and found ourselves with a pitcher of Faithful Bitch – a tangy, vodka lemonade that left us, well, hammered and a Bell Pepper Margarita that was equal parts tart and sweet. There are mixology versions for the adventurous and we say go for them, while groups can turn any evening into a party with their buckets. To sober up, nosh on Tomato Basil Crostini or Chicken Aniseed, but beware that the service can be slow at times. The music consists of pulsating beats and edgy electronica that you can tap your feet to. On weekends, the buzzing bar turns into a dance floor by around 10.30pm and runs to packed houses, so book a table.
Food: 3/5 | Service: 3/5 | Décor: 3/5
- By Marryam H Reshii
A fun place in the Inner Circle of Connaught Place that is a bar and a restaurant.
The multi cuisine format of yore gets a new makeover, but it still appeals to the cross-section of humanity that visit Connaught Place
The (excellent) waiter who served our table informed us that the area really was a warehouse that has been given a makeover. Enough of the industrial look has been retained to add interest to the design. The restaurant is on two floors and has loungy, comfortable sofas on the first floor. There's a lift to take you to the first floor at the entrance itself. Upstairs, the second floor has outdoor seating that affords a magnificent view of the sweep of Connaught Place. It also has a private lounge area for small groups. The music is the main feature of Warehouse Cafe: it is less distracting in the day time and more assertive at night. Also, the type of people that throng here encompasses a wide sweep of humanity: old, young, trendy, dowdy, young parents with babies, teenyboppers.
The menu comprises an astonishing 365 items, arranged according to a calendar. Thus, if you want prawniest cocktail (Rs 335), you'd have to turn to Saturday, 2nd of February. It's a fun way of arranging a menu, while making sure that all tastes are catered to. It does predicate a certain amount of waste and there are probably a few dishes that don't move very often like the kibbeh.
Prawniest cocktail is the most fabulous deal you could get anywhere in this city. Fresh prawns, left whole and napped with lashings of thousand island dressing makes for an excellent starter. March 14th has a good crispy ginger chicken (Rs 415) that is succulent chicken with a crisp coating that has an oriental provenance. In general, the Indian section is the best. It is exactly what you would get at a restaurant serving only Indian food. My lal maas (Rs 415) didn't look red enough, but under the amber lighting of the restaurant, that is a common problem. On the other hand, the tandoori items in the April section of the calendar have quite a few tandoori options, all highly recommended.
Plus and Minus
You'll just have to factor in the lighting and the noise: both are part of the ambience. The desserts need urgent upgrading. The staff is some of the best and most attentive in Connaught Place!
Tandoori fish tikka, grilled fish lemon caper, spaghetti with tomato vodka.
Updated about 17hrs ago
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A confused decor bordering on tacky and service that is uninterested on busy days makes the newer of the three branches in Saket nothing more than a packed spot for college kids and hookah smokers. The menu is also at its wits end with everything from Indian, Lebanese, Japanese and Western dishes in a huge magazine-like layout. Even with that much effort, nothing really stands out. On a packed Thursday night, the music was mind-numbingly loud making conversation impossible and placing orders a Herculean task. From Shooters, the Slippery Nipples looked and tasted interesting, but the happy vibes ended there. The Blushing Geisha was an undrinkable mix of coconut rum and sake and the Cranberry Mule reminded us of cough syrup. The Green Apple sheesha was the redeeming factor and everyone seemed to agree since all the tables around us were enjoying one even as the commercial music seemed to grow louder as we exited.
HAPPY HOURS: 11am to 9pm.
Food: 3.5/5 | Décor: 3.5/5 | Service: 3/5
-By rnMarryam H Reshii
I'm still trying to puzzle out the mystery that is Urban Cafe, Saket. The young owner has been going from strength to strength since his first venture, Urban Pind, Greater Kailash. Since then, the first Urban Cafe in Khan Market and the second one in Saket bear no resemblance to each other, forget looking like a clone of the other. The most recent one probably has the best food of the lot: the same menu of the Khan Market one with a brand new Vietnamese section tacked on. All I tried was the Vietnamese section, and I must say it is really good.nnThe puzzle is why anyone would want to inveigle chefs from the competition, make a great menu (also inveigled from the competition) and then spoil it all by allowing smoking inside a restaurant that has only one level? You are either a party place for teenyboppers or a serious restaurant for thirty-somethings. You can, if you play your cards right, be both. But not on the same floor. The Khan Market branch of Urban Cafe has managed the enviable feat of having two different moods on two separate floors. The Saket branch is just as large, but is on a single floor. And anyway, isn't it illegal to allow cigarettes and hookahs in a public dining space?nnThere wasn't a single teenybopper in sight: they'd probably feel slightly out of place in this allwood space, unless the vibe changes during the day, when pretty young things stretch out a black forest shake (Rs 160) for three hours. In the evenings, the focus is very much on the food. As I have already tried the pizzas, standard to great starters, regular Indian and unmemorable Chinese of the Khan Market branch, I stuck to the Vietnamese menu. If you've visited Blue Ginger at the Taj Palace, you'll have a sense of deja vu. The extraordinary thing is that the prices are way lower than at Blue Ginger, yet the quality is just as good; not surprising: the chefs are the same.nnFish Hanoi style (Rs 350) is lightly spiced basa pan, grilled and served with lettuce leaves, basil leaves, lemon wedges and sea-salt and cracked pepper. Get ready to use your fingers to eat: making a samosa of the lettuce, basil and fish is not easy with western-style cutlery. Even better was the peppered prawns with sea salt (Rs 450) from the grill. The delicate prawns lost none of their texture on the grill. There was no marinade to distract you, and just enough scorch marks to give the prawns the smoky appeal of grilled food. Here too were lettuce and basil leaves.nnThe one disappointment of the meal was my attempt to order a rib eye of angus (Rs 1,100). It was not cooked rare as I had requested, there were caramelised onions though the menu said shallots and the mushroom sauce was a regular brown sauce. Rather tough and stringy, it was an expensive mistake. However, the Tom Rang Me (Rs 450) stir-fried prawns in tamarind sauce was a delight. There was minimal sauce, but it was obviously made with Vietnamese tamarind, both sweet and sour at the same time. Stick to the Vietnamese menu: it's great food of a relatively new cuisine at unbelievable prices.