If there was a beauty pageant for the best looking restaurant in Khan Market, the prize would probably go to Urban Café. The lower floor has a stylish-meets-decadence look with a few overstuffed armchairs and black and white flooring, while the upper floor has a totally different appearance and caters to a different segment altogether. The second floor doubles up as a hookah bar and is more or less crowded throughout the day. But the restaurant has two other firsts to its credit. One is that it is the only restaurant in the tony neighbourhood to serve Indian food and the other is that it is the only one in Khan Market to have foie gras on its menu.
Urban Café, a branch of Urban Pind in Greater Kailash N Block Market, manages to cater to a wide section of customers. It has an exhaustive menu of smoothies and shakes, pizzas, Indian, Chinese and western food! The menu goes on for pages and pages and must rank as Khan Market’s most extensive menu.
But does it work? It does, but unfortunately, only in patches. Urban Café certainly does manage to capture two sets of audience simultaneously and that is its best feature. The western menu is the safest option; I was recommended a cranberry with lime drink (Rs 95) that was marvelously refreshing on a sweltering summer’s day, except for a slightly chemical aftertaste: obviously the cranberry was artificial. The western menu is where the skill of the restaurant lies, and one wonders whether the Indian section which is rather too ordinary should not be taken off and replaced with sushi or grills or just about anything that would match the drop-dead gorgeous interiors better.
It was a stroke of genius to have foie gras on the menu: Pan-seared Foie Gras on Prune (Rs 395). It is impossible to spoil this particular ingredient; still, Urban Café’s version is even better than average. It is paired with Turkish apricots and reduced aceto balsamico for a sweet-sour tang that cuts out the richness of the liver. It is the tastiest dish on this menu. John Dory Grilled with Grilled Vegetables and Roasted Potatoes (Rs 550) comes close: the flaky, savoury appeal of the fish is enhanced with minimal fuss on the plate. Even the River Sole with Wasabi Mustard (Rs 425) bears the same characteristic of the western menu: minimum fuss, maximum subtle flavour.
Which is why I fail to understand the presence of the Indian section. My companion tried Non Vegetarian Kebab Platter (Rs 455) and though the portions were generous, it suffered from way too much spicing of the chaalu kind. Not only that, the entire platter appeared to have the same set of spices, whether minced lamb, fish or chicken! Would I try another dish from the Indian section in Urban Café? No, not me!
On the other hand, the page-long list of pizzas are the stuff that took me back to the era of Nirula’s pizzas. Thick and as crisp as a biscuit, the Pizza Quattro Formaggi (Rs 325) is a huge disc that three or four people can share as a snack at tea-time.
Whatever else you try at Urban Café, do not miss the Warm Chocolate Pudding (Rs 240). Made with consummate skill, the centre is warm and oozing while the surface holds firm.
70, 1st floor, middle lane, Khan Market
Open from 11 am to 11 pm
Alcohol served; credit cards accepted
Meal for two: Rs 1,500