A surprisingly sophisticated eatery in Baba Kharak Singh Marg
Atmospherics: Just above the most sophisticated car parking system in the country, Espresso Grill is a simply done up, smart casual space that serves world cuisine. It has an open kitchen, a few shelves on which ingredients are displayed (though it does not bill itself as a delicatessen. Yet) and a bakery counter. Though the mood of the restaurant is relaxed, the style of service is rather more formal than it needs be, though that is probably a function of the newness of it all.
Table Talk: The roasted cauliflower soup with mushroom crostini (Rs 450) is a masterpiece. Ignore the meat dishes and go for this one: the subtle flavours and great mushrooms alone will make it worth your while. Oriental son in law eggs (Rs 220) is a Thai starter. Here it has been given a clever international spin, so that the friend onions become the main flavouring and the tamarind-chilli sauce is virtually non-existent. It’s the same with the rice paper rolls of shredded duck confit with cucumber and spring onions served with plum sauce (Rs 450). Of course it is a take on the Beijing classic, but somehow in this setting, it comes across as a western dish with an oriental spin, rather than an ethnic dish.
Could that be because the oriental choices are sprinkled in between western classics? For example there’s the assiette of chicken liver pate with espresso and fig gelee served with melba toast (Rs 400) that would work wonderfully well after a minor tweaking. As things stand, the pate does not have enough butteriness for the fig gelee to stand out as a felicitous combination and as for the espresso, the coffee is the weak link in the entire operation. In this dish, it doesn’t even begin to make its presence felt.
Sadly, all the main courses were several shades below the starters. However, Espresso Grill is less than a fortnight old, so there’s hope yet. The pizza (we ordered classic Margherita Rs 370) had the homeliness of a Nirula’s pizza. The Turkish lamb donar kebab (Rs 395) was far too dry. The lamb was dry and there was not enough tahina to make the filling smooth and creamy.
Plus and minus: This is one place with huge potential. I just hope they get their cappuccino right soon.
Must try: Anglo Indian Coronation Chicken Sandwich, Barbecue Pork Spare Ribs with kimchi and terrine of mozzarella and tomato in a tomato-basil veloute
Address: Shop No.14, Ground Floor, DLF Capitol Point, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Near Connaught Place Police Station, New Delhi – 110001