Twenty years old and still going strong
Atmospherics: It was a sensation twenty years ago, when the coffee shop of The Ambassador Hotel came to life. Who had ever heard of a young, vibrant space that celebrated life? Other coffee shops (as all-day diners used to be called) were uniformly dull and sombre, and very conscious of their status in hotels. Not this one, though. The upshot was that the Ambassador with its informal air and especially the colourful Yellow Brick Road became the new haute spot in a city where the eating out scene was a fraction of what it is today. The vibe of this little coffee shop has remained constant, as has the menu: all the old favourites are still in place after all this time plus there is a patio outside that is new.
Table talk: The hotel has not tried to reinvent the wheel by adding to the menu, so it is old favourites all the way. The mulligatawny soup (Rs 450) is thick, satisfyingly original insofar as the proportion of British inventiveness and Tamilian pepper water goes. It is certainly a triumph of consistent quality over two decades. Railway vegetable/chicken cutlets (Rs 895/995) provides a filling, hearty meal of partially mashed vegetables held together with potatoes, crumbed and fried. Served with a house salad and French fries, it is a hearty meal. The chicken version is pure bird – no potato filler here! And the chicken crumbles easily, as it should, not having any filler to bulk it up. YBR chicken (Rs 995) is a complete meal for one and is designed to please your palate if it is flavourful food with marked textures you are looking for. The jacket potato that is the standard accompaniment is a real spud with a high total solid content that holds its shape and does not disintegrate into mush at the touch of a fork. Trust the Taj group to ensure this detail! Almost every customer visits for the western food except the few die-hards who remember Yellow Brick Road as the restaurant that launched Thai food for the very first time in Delhi.
Plus and minus: The menu is still in the amusing ‘newspaper’ format and the Bullseye is still going strong.
Must try: kulfi falooda; Ambassador club sandwich; chicken Chettinad
Food: 3.75; Service: 3.75; Décor: 3.75
Sujan Singh Park, Subramania Bharti Marg
Open 24 hours
Credit cards, alcohol
Meal for two: Rs 3,500