Café, chocolate bean-to-bar boutique and coffee roasterie, all in one
Cuisine: Italian trattorio
Atmospherics: Right at the very end of the favourite-du-jour Dhan Mill complex is this Spanish hacienda-style edifice painted white and yellow. There is no front wall, so both floors give a feel of the outdoors. Do reserve a table: this is one super popular eatery where bagging a table at 4.30 pm on a Monday entails a wait! Run by a young couple, Nishant has been a coffee roaster who sources beans from various estates, then blends, grinds and packages them for various coffee bars around the country. Sheetal heads the bean-to-bar chocolate factory upstairs and both look after the café themselves, rather than relegating it to staff. The supremely unpretentious café has morphed into an all-day lounge, crowded at any hour of the day. You can visit for a sensational coffee – something for serious aficionados of the brew; or you can buy a bar or three of India-grown cacao that has been roasted, tempered and conched all within the country.
Table talk: The menu is a typical trattorio one with salads, burgers, sandwiches, buns, bruschetta, healthy bowls, finger food type starters and pizzas and pasta. There is a page of main courses too, but I did not get that far because of the insanely good pizzas. They are all are made with sourdough bases and while most have tomato concasse, there are some with just cheese. My spinach and garlic prawn pizza (Rs 650) had mozzarella and was sensational. The toppings tend to stay within traditional limits. The amount of spinach leaves on the pizza was just right and each wedge had a prawn on it – firm and crunchy with freshness. There is someone in the kitchen who knows what s/he is doing, because my avocado bruschetta (Rs 395) made with sliced avocado and lightly drizzed with balsamico: in Colocal, bruschetta takes the place of regular white bread and all pizzas are made with a sourdough base. So, although there is a lot of bread-based eats on the menu, it is all elevated by the choice of bruschetta instead of regular white bread. The other dish I sampled was pesto gnocchi, pumpkin puree and cream of feta cheese (Rs 595) was typical of what you can expect here: large portions, stylish plating and great taste. Do not, whatever else you do, miss the outstanding hot chocolate, served in a cup with a marshmallow melting in the heat of the 55, 64, 72 or 85% chocolate (Rs 250).
Plus and minus: visit soon; prices will almost certainly be going north!
Must try: Raspberry and chilli hot chocolate, khichdi arancini, south-west chicken burger
Food: 4, Service: 4, Décor: 3.75
The Dhan Mill Compound, 100 foot Road, Chattarpur
Open from 11 am to 11 pm
Credit cards accepted; no alcohol
Meal for two: Rs 1800