-By Marryam H Reshii
WTF were exactly my words while I climbed up the steps to Cafe WTF one rainy evening. The waterproofing of the ceiling is less than perfect, so the staircase has rain pouring incessantly. Defence Colony Market wins the prize for 'shortest shelf life of a restaurant'. Cafe WTF is in the fun mould for youngsters (if you're 25 years of age, you're too old) with extremely loud music, a serious menu for sheeshas, innovative cocktails and a food menu that should have pushed the envelope far more than it does.
If you are in Cafe WTF, it's a fair bet that you're there for the atmosphere; the food is largely an also-ran. Just two items on the menu are worth braving the leaking staircase for. One is the gol gappa Version 2.0 (Rs 280). The other is the grilled Greek garlic chicken (Rs 325). The gol gappas (six to a plate) are served in a sort of do-it-yourself kit. You add the chana-potato dice mixture, then some rich mutton curry, and lastly as much tamarind water with mint and coriander. Why has nobody thought of it before? And why, in a city perennially gripped by chaat fever, has no restaurant ever thought of doing a spoof on chaat? Kudos to the most unlikely outpost of clever cooking for getting it right.
The grilled Greek garlic chicken is a bona fide Greek marination of a large cut of boneless chicken with the skin on. Rubbed with fried onion paste, fried garlic, cumin and a pinch of tastemaker powder, the chicken is grilled so that its appeal transcends a mere country. The presence of the skin gives it succulence.
The same could not be said for the spicy chicken wings (Rs 275) which had a too-soft breading, a too-spicy marinade and a tad too much MSG, making it fall uncomfortably between three stools: Indian, oriental and western.
At a pinch, the Margarita pizza (Rs 225) was passable. Thin crust, square in shape, with tomato wedges and fragrant basil adorning the cheese, it was good value for the price, without blazing new trails. It was the Maggi dishes that were the most curious. Nobody, apart from Mocha is doing novelty dishes with Maggi, so my expectations were suitably high. Maggi with white cheese salsa (Rs 125) was cooked to the point of disintegration and had scarcely any discernible trace of a flavour, cheese or otherwise. The waiters (they are the real glory of the cafe: articulate and efficient) offered us Maggi with Indian curry (Rs 135) instead, which suffered from exactly the same flaw as its predecessor: too well-cooked with no trace of flavour!
It was the same thing with the Toblerone shake (Rs 175). Reading the soft drinks menu, I could have sworn that I was in Mocha - there was not a whit of difference between the Lindt chocolate shake, the Oreo cookie shake and the Toblerone shake! We ordered the Toblerone shake (Rs 175) and found it way too sweet. The staff graciously took it back, but brought back something that was just as sweet without the flavour of Toblerone, just like the first one.
Just make sure that you don't use the unisex washroom on the second floor. That's all I'm going to say on the subject.
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