- 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:
The fabulous girls! Prats, Nids and Jes
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:
Chocolate mousse pie:
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.
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.
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.