Cuisine: modern Indian
Packed through the day, Modern Indian can be said to have come of age
Atmospherics: At long last, Indian restaurant design is taking a few baby steps into the New Age. Zorawar Kalra’s newest restaurant, the second avatar of Farzi Café, opened in Connaught Place and has been doing roaring business since the day it opened its doors. Look around, and you’ll see the kind of people who are visiting: aunties out for a kitty party, hip young things, families with small babies at 11 pm and the expatriate crowd – it doesn’t get more eclectic than that, and it shows the giant strides that the cuisine has made in the years that it has been around, because many of the people at Farzi Connaught Place would probably visit a more mainstream North Indian restaurant the following day. The interiors are dimly lit through lunch and dinner, and in the afternoons, the attractive sage green front room, reminiscent of the British Raj, has sunlight streaming in from the huge windows, while molecular cocktails do the rounds.
Table talk: The theme of this branch of Farzi Café seems to be the breaking down of borders, between North and South India and between India and the outside world. Asparagus and water chestnut with appam (Rs 285) is such a textural delight that you are unlikely to miss meat, though there is a version with bheja (brain) (Rs 395) that I found rather gamey for my taste. Mutton salli boti with thepla wrap (Rs 415) conjoins the traditional flavours of a Parsi dish, complete with crunchy potato sticks, with a Gujarati roti. The best part about it was how close the botis are to the Parsi original. Nowhere is the concept of the restaurant clearer than pinenuts and scallion paddu yaki (Rs 295): pinenuts and scallion are hardly the most desi of ingredients, and paddu or paniyaram – the little steamed balls of dosa batter cooked in special moulds closely correspond to the Japanese takoyaki. It was the brilliance of the one who made the menu and noticed the similarities between a Chettinad breakfast preparation and a street food from Osaka, and then, combined the two.
Plus and minus: Cool interiors in the heart of Connaught Place, service that re-defines professionalism, even when it is house-full are all plus points. And even though conversation at a normal volume is impossible at dinner, the unbelievably realistic pricing makes up.
Must try: Chicken tikka khurchan, tandoori wild mushrooms, Delhi’s favourite Gupta burger
Food: 3.50, Service: 4.00, Décor: 3.50
38, 39, E Block, Connaught Place
Tel: 43551028-29; 9599889700-1
Open: 12 noon to 3.30 pm and 7 to 11.30 pm
Meal for two: Rs 2,000
Credit cards, alcohol served.