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If you wander into the Nehru Place metro station, geared up for your work day, you will inhale an insane medley of aromas wafting out from assorted kitchens. That is because the metro station does double duty as Epicuria, a food mall and a great place to embark on a gastronomic journey. Spread over two levels, restaurants and cafes sit cheek by jowl, wooing the discerning diner with global cuisines and fine culinary craftsmanship. Amble along the corridors of the mall and you will come across live kitchens that have anything from caramel-toned roasted chicken to glistening pork bellies heaped in front of them. At other live counters, the yeasty scent of freshly baked bread seduces your senses while some cooking stations play around with crisp salad leaves and fresh fruits in all colours of the rainbow.
So, here is a ready roster of restaurants to drop by if you want to live it up in style with friends and family.
Fio Cookhouse and Bar pegged as an urban getaway in the heart of the city offers fine dining with sprawling interiors and alfresco dining facility to boot. Expect to be wowed by gleaming wooden showcases that come alive with potted plants, books and artefacts. The whole space seems to be an authentic recreation of a living room inhabited by the well-heeled city slicker. Expectedly, the food does not play second fiddle here. The zesty Burrata And Quinoa Salad is a delightful play of textures where the melt-in-your-mouth Burrata Cheese is presented in a messy tangle with roasted chickpeas and quinoa. Other delicacies that make a bold statement on the menu include a wafer-thin pizza that comes with generous lashings of basil pesto cream and is studded with vibrant bits of bell pepper, sundried tomato, olive and jalapenos. Belgian Glazed Pork Chop is another menu highlight that marries sweet and unctuous flavours with great precision.
Azure Hospitality Private Limited, which acquired the popular restaurant chain Dhaba by Claridges in 2013, has managed to create a ripple of excitement among South Delhi diners with its Epicuria outlet. The quintessential Dhaba mood is re-imagined inside the restaurant with a truck installation, cult Bollywood movie posters, tea glass chandeliers, truck art and more. In the same vein, the food evokes nostalgia associated with a highway eatery. The Mutton Galouti Kabab flags off the epicurean journey here with its velvety consistency while Palak Paneer Ki Sheekh conjures up the taste of a traditional palak paneer curry in a kabab. However, the showstopper of the main course section is the Balti Meat, a giant shank piece that comes smothered in fragrant gravy.
Modelled on the classic Irish gastro pub, The Chatter House lures you into a world of wood panelled ceilings and exposed brick walls, enlivened with antique timepieces and vintage chandeliers. Dark wood seats with leather detailing complement the old-school vibe of the restaurant. The food is a mix of Italian, Indian and Mexican and the menu changes every three months to keep things fresh and fun. Piggy & Ginnie is a hot favourite here, where the pork belly is braised for five hours and is served with prawn aglio olio, drizzled with sweet chilli sauce. IPL drinks are a big draw at the outfit right now, which primarily focus on something called the ‘Beertails’ or beer-based cocktails. In addition, there is an offer called Roulette that is up for grabs for patrons. They can avail this offer by just paying Rs. 99, and the number that comes up will help them score several attractive deals at the restaurant.
Flying Saucer made its name among the capital’s musical cognoscenti with live gigs including Sufi performances, acts by Ayushmann Khurrana, Sukhwinder Singh and more. But the regular haunt of music lovers is a gourmet destination as well, where the menu is a tapestry of global flavours. Against the backdrop of trendy interiors, you can eat your way through the world. While the Dilli Ki Chaat Café section of the menu offers you lip-smacking options like Mini Kachoris with spicy plum chutney and corn Sev Puri, The Chakhna Café serves you with Chana Zor Garam Chaat and loaded nachos to go with your favourite poison. For your main course, the dishes traverse multiple culinary hotspots, including China, Italy and India.
Nehru Place Social can be viewed as a metaphor for India’s emerging start-up and e-commerce scene, which is mostly energetic, innovative and fun. The restaurant is also pegged as a space for innovators to discover, disrupt and challenge the status quo with fresh and inspiring ideas. Not surprisingly, millennials are its target audience and the décor and food of the outfit have been customised to appeal to this demographic. Walk into Nehru Place Social and you will come across Ferris wheel booths and furniture suspended from the ceiling that adds a bohemian vibe to this space.
Keeping in mind the apocalyptic haste characterising Nehru Place metro station, Social is open all day and serve everything from signature breakfast trays to late night desserts. As light transforms into darkness, so does the character of the restaurant which is a workspace and business café in the day, after-work watering hole in the evening and high- energy bar on weekends. So, if you are craving new flavours to jazz up your summers, there is no place better than Epicuria right now.
Susmita Saha is a Delhi-based Features Writer. She has worked as an Assistant Editor at India Today and The Telegraph and writes on arts and culture, films, travel, food, architecture, design and various other lifestyle subjects. She has seriously itchy feet and plans to tick the world off her bucket list, one burger at a time.