Learn some Afrikaans and Japanese here
Table talk: On the ground floor is this remarkable restaurant with a never-seen-before concept. In the daytime, Nege is a European restaurant that serves food with a modern, slightly unusual touch. Off-white upholstery, white table-cloths, sunlight streams in from the glass doors, while at the back is a charming courtyard (where shisha smoking is allowed!) At night, black curtains blanket Ju, black table-cloths make their magical appearance and lo and behold, the cafe turns into a slinky nightclub. The head chef has a western food background, so while he looks after the day-time menu, the dinner menu is taken care of by a far more junior chef who has trained in Japanese cuisine. The owners do know how to make a successful restaurant (like Townhall), because Nege & Ju has a tremendous sense of occasion and is always crammed to capacity.
Table talk: Cocoa butter-poached squash (Rs 495) is a nouvelle, unique, umami meatless dish. Squash is presented two ways barely steamed ribbons in a salad with kale leaves and poached in cocoa butter for an unctuous experience. Aspa avo (Rs 695) is a no holds barred dish for vegetarians: green and white asparagus stems arranged on a bed of avo mash and drizzled over with beurre noisette (hazelnut brown butter). It is a stupendous, monumental extravagance, never been done before for vegetarians who traditionally have had to make do with second best. Tuna and avocado tartare (Rs 695) was topped with a quail’s egg yolk which would have been perfect (and less eggy!) had the egg been maintained at a colder temperature. In the Japanese section, seared scallop XO (Rs 995) was a kind of meal in a bowl (without starch) and had interesting contrasting textures. Avocado and cured papaya (Rs 545) was an interesting idea with disappointing execution. The Japanese section is unimaginative and does not begin to scratch the surface of a noble cuisine.
Plus and minus: The most exhaustive range of coffees, should you decide to make a meal of a pizza and a coffee; even the tonic water selection is impressive. However, the service staff have almost no training and can spend hours together staring at guests! The crispy chicken skin soup could be elevated several notches by simply roasting the chicken before making a stock.
Food: 3.75; Service: 3.25; Décor: 3.50
Smoked chilli aubergine; grilled seabass; chocolate and earl grey
9-10 Lodi Colony Main Market (near Lodi Sports)
Open from 12 noon to 12 midnight
Alcohol served; credit cards accepted
Meal for two: Rs 2,500