Sunday, July 25, 2010

Delhi! The Khan Market rendezvous!!

"Few cities in the world are older than Delhi. For millenia adventurers, seekers, marauders, wayfarers, kings, scholars, sufis and medicants have arrived at its gates in melodramatic fashion pursuing different things."
- Tarun Tejpal- Alchemy of Desire

OMG! I had a two week break and decided to travel up north to Delhi. Why Delhi? And why not? It is the capital of the country after all. Also, I had never spent any significant time in Delhi. Had heard about the Cultural revolution that had hit Delhi. The city had been going through major renovations due to the coming Commonwealth games in October this year. There was a Metro that is all shiny and new. And because I love big cities.
But really, mostly it was a chance to catch up with many old friends who live there. School friends, college friends, old love, new love that kinda thing. And food love of course. Turned out that two of my very close friends from college were going to be in Delhi around the same time and two others who already live there, bravely hosted our presence in the country's capital. I seized this opportunity to plan reunions, shopping sessions, dinners, drinks. Mind you I am not much of a planner.. more of a go with the flow kinda person. But I guess my excitement was contagious.. cos it caught on and before I knew it, I had my friend Prats flying in from Chennai and our hosts Jes and Nids all ready for a road trip to go to Ambala and get the 5th musketeer Shagun (who had just flown in from NYC) back to Delhi for a week filled with laughter, food, coffee, chai, shopping, Khan Market and most definitely daru (alcohol)!!!

Well before I get into the food part of this. My first surprise was just how far along Delhi had come in terms of the Delhi Metro and the roads which seemed wider and the city seemed really green. Delhi is huge but with the Metro connecting it seems to be more scalable now. I rode the Metro from Connought Place to Noida and it was surprisingly easy and not bad. Of course it was crowded..but still clean.

Its looking good right. And its two years old now.

My next surprise in Delhi was hanging out at these lovely cafes. Delhi has something called Barsati's- its the topmost room with a little terrace. It seems like many commercial places have converted these Barsatis into quaint cafes with outdoor terrace seating (some covered and some uncovered). The interiors are lovey and the food is very new age. I'll be honest for many circumstantial reasons we ended up in Khan Market quite a bit. Shopping in the little stores such as Vishnu, Fab India and Anokhi was really fun. By the end of a long day shopping we would saunter into these Barsatis converted into cozy cafes such as Latitude, Cafe Oz, The Big Chill, Cafe Turtle and hang out- with non stop chatting, catching up,  some serious design discussions and coffee consumptions.

Of course I also had the opportunity to eat some really kick ass Delhi street food- Al Kauser at Malcha Marg that deserves a post of its own. But I did stick to the cafes mostly because it was very hot and it was easy to unwind at these cafes with friends. I am also adding some pictures of Dilli Haat -- a large arts and crafts open market showcasing the various hand made objects from different parts of the country. I hear they also have lovely food from various parts of the country and though that was tempting, it was very hot to eat there, so we once again escaped to the air conditioned interiors of Khan Market.

Below is a set of photos from hanging out at the various places in Khan Market over a span of 5 days. Notice the lovely interiors, lighting, food presentations, cutlery etc.

Walking into one of the inner streets of Khan Market:
Amazing signages at Khan Market:
Coffee at Cafe Oz and Lunch at Big Chill. The first of the few re-unions that took place on this trip
The fabulous girls! Prats, Nids and Jes
Delicious vegetarian salad with lovely slices of salty Parmegan contrasted with sweet juicy cherry tomatoes and bitter greens.
Warm comforting chicken and egg salad with a creamy, cheesy dressing. I did not realize hot salad could be this good.

This mud pie was to die for. Desert has always held this group of girls together.

My absolute favourite cafe was Latitude. Located on top of  the eclectic home interiors store Good Earth, Latitude had a covered outdoor seating with beautiful old chandeliers. The interiors had ornate wallpaper with large comfy chairs, fancy chandeliers and beautifully framed mirrors. Despite the old world charm to the cafe it looked really modern. We got there when it was beginning to rain and as it picked up we had to move from the outdoor space to the indoor as the roof was leaking. But once inside, we enjoyed coffee and deserts. The New York cheesecake was one of the best I had ever eaten.
The covered outdoor space:

Moving in.. the dark wallpaper offset with the lime green trim.
Beautiful mirrors, crystal chandeliers, rattan chairs all completed the old world charm of this place.
One of the best NY cheesecakes ever!
Chocolate mousse pie:
Fabulous moment... rain on the roof top and conversations over coffee.

The last of cafes I want to feature is Cafe Turtle. On the top of this lovely bookstore, Cafe Turtle was bright, well lit with little plants in green glass bottles lined up in the windows. The food was particularly organic and healthy and very tasty.
South Indian Coffee and fresh Falsa juice and Amla juice.
Almost eaten pasta with mushrooms....
About to be bit into crispy mediterranean sandwich with fresh veggies and hummus....
The last piece of the mushroom bruschetta toast......
It is so hard to photograph food that is so yummy. I religiously forget I write a food blog and usually remember it towards the end of the meal when the food is almost over and the pretty plate setting all ruined. But notice how pretty their plates are bright yellow, greens, oranges. Very Nice!

Moving on to Dilli- Haat. These are few of the lovely objects that caught my eye, wooden puppets, cloth animals, paper mobiles and lovely jewellery.

Lastly I want to finish this post off with a fabulous portrait with the girls who made this trip possible. I think the following pictures summarize the trip. Meeting after 8 years, all grown up with husbands (not all of us though), kids (not all of us), and fancy jobs (definitely accomplished group of women). So many hardships we have faced, so many battles to overcome. Each one of us felt rejuvenated in this meeting realizing a support system once again renewed.
From the left- Prats, Jes, Shags, and me.
From the left- Nids and me.

I did love Delhi! I did not see much of anything touristy such as Qutub Minar, Red Fort, the Samadhis etc. But I did revitalize my spirit in the company of wonderful friends.


  1. Neat! Jo - love the last 2 portraits.

  2. Hey Thanks Swats. I do too. I wish you were there as well or I wish I could have joined you to Ladakh!

  3. We SO need to do this again!

  4. Hey Zazu,
    Can you send me the 3rd last picture with the colorful animals? I want to put that in my van gogh frame. i think it would look stunning!

  5. Loved your narrative, very easy and flows at an unhurried pace.

    We Dilliwallas have turned cribbing into an art - we whine about the traffic, CWG ravaged roads, the power outages. Trust a non-Dilliwali to present Delhi with an entirely different perspective.

    Delhi haat food is meant to be savoured in winters and an absolute must is Chandni Chowk. Next time take the metro to this treasure trove.

  6. Hey Purba
    Thanks so much for commenting on the blog. I am a big fan of your writing .. so thanks alot- really appreciate it. I'm sure if I had to live there I would be whining too.. Mumbai does that to me here. I look forward for Chandni Chowk on the next visit.

  7. Glad to meet another Mumbai food blogger. And what better way to meet you than a trip to my other favorite city. Lovely review!

  8. Tantalising pics once again. I love the papdi chaat at Khan market and the kebabs at Khan Chacha's. There was a restaurant called Rampur or something. Very good stuff. Shut down though. I had packed food from there and from Khan Chacha's and got them home on various trips. I used to stay at the Ambassador Hotel next door when I used to travel on work to Delhi

  9. The Knife- Thanks for following the blog! I really hope to make it back to Delhi soon and visit Khan Market again. I will definitely try Khan Chachas. Tell me other places that you recommend

  10. Amazing Post on the stuff you did in Delhi... :)
    mud pie... mud pie... mud pie..... now am craving for it... ure to blame... will have to go there in the evening :)

    I wish you had the time to go to Chandni Chowk... am sure u'd have like it :)

    The Variable, Crazy Over Desserts - Nachiketa
    Catch me on facebook @ Crazy Over Desserts

  11. Oooh, that mud pie looks AMAZING!

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  13. We Dilliwallas have turned cribbing into an craft - we whine concerning the traffic, CWG ravaged roads, the energy outages.

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