Atmospherics: Above the frenetically popular Piano Man (a bar with live gigs six days a week) is this compact café, filled with sunlight. The floor above it is a terrace, partly open and partly shaded with a glass canopy. While there is a lift connecting to the second floor, you do have to walk up the stairs to the terrace. Because Dirty Apron is just a few days old, there are teething problems, like the well-meaning but slightly clumsy, easily flustered staff. On the plus side, if you do want to be undisturbed, just tell them that and they’ll be happy to stay out of sight. On the anvil are a bakery on the premises (no outsourcing here!) and a pizza oven, both of which should be operational in a week’s time. A word about the cuisine. Eurasian is what the management calls the food here. Actually, it is food without borders. Hence, you will get ravioli with gorgonzola and Thai curry competing for attention. The wonder of it all is that far from being bizarre, it is actually delicious.
Table talk: One restaurant where the vegetarian offerings beat the hell out of the meat and fish dishes. There’s another claim to fame here as well: there is not a single paneer item on the menu! Also, though they are not specifically marked on the menu, many dishes are vegan and gluten-free. The tastiest of the soups is pumpkin and peanut butter soup (Rs 275) where the creaminess of the vegetable is offset brilliantly by the nuttiness of the peanut butter. Steamed aubergine with sesame and spring onion (375) turned out to be another surprise of the vegetarian kind: though it looked like baigan ka bharta, the flavours that lurked in its depth were from South East Asia. Stuffed mushroom Nonya sauce (Rs 350) were halved mushrooms dipped in a tempura batter and bursting with umami flavours. Coconut rice with sambal and okra (Rs 425) is a tangy preparation that no other restaurant in Delhi would dare to serve, but the flavours of fried onions, lady fingers, sambal and lime juice are a marriage made in heaven. Finally, chicken laksa risotto (Rs 675) combined flavours from two different continents on one plate with great flair.
Must try: Sea bass with sweet chilli sambal and wasabi mash; bulgogi burgers; lemongrass and kaffir lime crème brulee.
Food: 4.00; Décor: 3.50; Service: 3.00
B 6-7/22 Safdarjung Enclave opp Deer Park, adjoining market
Open from 12 noon to 3.30 and 7.30-11.30
Alcohol served; credit cards accepted
Meal for two: Rs 2,500