Street food from around the world
Atmospherics: What used to be China Doll has now become Circus, but there could not be a greater difference in the décor. Circus is exactly as its name suggests, with the drama and excitement of a real circus tent. There is a rooftop table that gives a near panoramic view of that part of the city, an open terrace, a large seating area with dramatic lights overhead and a narrow gallery with standing room only which is unique in the restaurant world. South Extension is notable across South Delhi for not having an exciting restaurant scene; one hopes that Circus will buck that trend. Certainly, the valet parking, dedicated elevator, plethora of seating options and low prices are all certain to catapult it into the limelight. The best part is its easy informality: families with children and the hip crowd both find their own space under the big top.
Table talk: It was a master stroke to have done snacky meals with a slightly nostalgic appeal for most of the menu which is over 300 items long. I suppose that it is a trial and in six months, the slow movers will be lopped off. Hawrah jhalmuri (Rs 125) is a close enough approximation: like most other items on the menu, it is not trying to aim for spot on authenticity, but for easy eating at pocket-friendly prices. Like palak patta chaat (Rs 175) and Mumbai kanda bhajiyas (Rs 190), it is a pleasant re-creation of street snacks that we have all enjoyed in other cities. After that, and the brilliant masala gang – four flavours from the street that have been translated into small bottles of cold drinks: ram laddoo, kala khatta, anardana, imli, aampanna (Rs 150) that can be drunk as they are or mixed with domestic vodka (Rs 150), the rather formulaic soup and salad section comes across as rather tame. The pizza section saves the day with achari mutton (Rs 410) and chilli paneer (Rs 300) and the Bombay sandwich (Rs 195) warms the heart. It takes a Shiv Karan Singh to have a section called dhaba Chinese on a restaurant menu, most of which is brilliant.
Plus and minus: The only foreseeable glitch is the valet parking at lunch time.
Must try: Chicken pakoda, Andhra chicken curry, aate ka halwa
Food: 3.50, Service: 3.00, Décor: 3.50
D 14, Third floor, South Extension II
Open from 12 noon to 1 am
Alcohol served; credit cards accepted
Meal for two: Rs 1800
Tel: 8826171617, 41329214