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Critic's Review

Updated this week

  • Food
  • 70% Complete (success)
  • Service
  • 70% Complete (success)
  • Decor
  • 70% Complete (success)

Diva Kitsch moves to a new location and menu.

Atmospherics:

This is the old Chez Nini, so all the furniture is more or less the same. The first floor is open when the ground floor fills up. There is a washroom on each floor and service is as well informed, professional and efficient as any Diva outlet. Now that Diva Kitsch in Defence Colony has closed, the oriental sensibility has moved here, complete with the Bomra’s Tomato Salad. There is a duck burger on this menu too, and although there was one in Chez Nini, both versions are poles apart. It has to be said that the chairs with a back rest are on the first floor and those on the ground floor have been chosen for their smartness over comfort. So if your group consists of elderly or infirm people, do call in advance and the restaurant will arrange for chair/s to be brought from upstairs.

Table Talk:

The best part about this restaurant is that the food is Dalmia’s own take on oriental food, so nothing is authentic. However, flavours like wasabi, lemongrass and the sweet-sour-spicy combination make their presence felt in a number of preparations. So Tangy Prawn, Mango and Snow Pea Salad with a Chipotle Vinaigrette Dressing (Rs 490) has a glorious punch of flavours: fresh, tangy and spicy. The soft bits of mango combine with the crunchy snow peas to perfection. The Duck Burger with Pickled Cucumber and Green Apple Chutney (Rs 795) is served with a delicious wasabi mash and French fries. The patty itself is too finely ground for my taste, but the flavour is strong and duck is a much better option that the national bird of Delhi: chicken! Young Papaya Curry with Kokum and Lychees (Rs 560) has a sweet-sour appeal and adding the lychees was a great idea. Even the Cold Vietnamese Rolls with Namjim (Rs 440) are perfect as a starter or salad on a hot summer’s day, bursting as they are with fine juliennes of vegetables.

Plus and Minus:

It couldn’t be fun being Ritu Dalmia, for the expectations of each successive restaurant is enormous, and no matter how good it is at the start, can hardly please everyone. It is true that tweaking is required in some recipes, but with a first-class team, Diva Spiced can only get better.

Must Try:

Bomra’s Tomato Salad, Noodle and Rice Bar, Chilli Caramel Fillet of Sole

Updated this week

  • Food
  • 70% Complete (success)
  • Service
  • 70% Complete (success)
  • Decor
  • 70% Complete (success)

Restaurant, elegant bar and centrally located meeting place all rolled into one.

Atmospherics:

Just above the Jaguar showroom in this three-storeyed building opposite the Meridien Hotel is the newest restaurant in this well-located part of town. On the second floor of the building, there are lounge tables, regular restaurant seats, bar seats and high tables. You can hold a meeting over snacks, read a book (there’s a surprisingly good collection), have lunch for two or drinks with loud music in the evening. Incidentally, the music system manages to fulfil two opposing qualities with ease: you can hold a conversation at normal levels, yet in another part of the restaurant, you can dance to the same music.

Table talk:

Do have all the dishes that contain vegetables. The quality of the greens in the deconstructed Caesar salad (Rs 325) is seldom seen in this city. And the playful presentation highlights the quality of each element. Ditto for the poached pear salad (Rs 425) that contains baby carrots, onions and spinach leaves, given a kick with grain mustard. Prawn cocktail (Rs 425) is a tangy salad of lightly grilled prawns in a bed of piquant mayo. Souffle with arugula salad and cheese sauce is yet another vegetarian dish that took my fancy for the colourful presentation and delicate, mostly Mediterranean flavours. The chicken liver pate (Rs 475) needed the kind of mild tweaking that is usually the case in a brand new restaurant: the reduced balsamico that was mentioned on the menu did not make its appearance on the plate. However, the vegetable accompaniments made up for any shortcoming. Ditto for the ingenious beetroot risotto (Rs 525) that was less than perfectly made, but which featured beetroot cooked three different ways. However, the star of my meal was undoubtedly seafood with mussels, prawns and squid (Rs 1295). It is the most expensive dish on the menu but is packed with shellfish.

Plus and minus:

The location is the finest in Central Delhi. There is no parking problem, the cachet of the address goes through the roof and the interiors are restrained and have plainly been made with the intention of using Lutyens Cocktail House as a high-level meeting place between meals. On the minus side, not much effort has been made to incorporate English food to a restaurant named after an English architect.

Must try: Mac n Cheese; Butter Confit Chicken; Chocolate Box

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