-By Marryam 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.
The 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?
There 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.
Fish 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.
The 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.
Review posted more than 6 month ago
Urban Café has nice, simple, soothing and elegant interiors. The ambiance is really very soothing and calm. You can sit and relax there for hours. Service is courteous and polite. They serve food in the promised time and present everything attractively. Waiters are well-dressed and look presentable as well. they are well-aware with the dishes and serve accurately as per the taste. Food is very nice and tasteful. Hanoi style fish, lemon wedges lettuce samosa, prawns with sea salt and Tom Rang Me are amazing. They are finger-licking good food.
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