Ever since Cafe Lota has opened in Craft Museum in Delhi, it has been the talk of the town. This restaurant has truly made the regional cuisine of India popular and fashionable (notice the people sitting around you).
In summers, it can be little discomforting to visit this restaurant. There is no air conditioning and only air coolers are there to bring the heat down. However, I am sure it will be great to visit this place in the winters.
I patiently waited for 40 minutes to get a table and another 20 minutes before I got my first order (its was Sunday and past 2.30 pm). We ordered a glass of Nimbu Pani and Masala Chaas to quench the thirst. The Nimbu Pani with its mint flavour and good. The chaas was creamy and with its masala flavour was delightful.
We ordered a Palak Patta Chaat as starter. The crispy besan coated spinach leaves served with the chutney, curd, sev and pomegranate seeds was indeed a great appetiser to start the meal with.
The other starter we ordered was the Andhra Prawn Fry. Succulent prawns marinated in minimal spices and cooked to perfection. And the prawns tasted fresh!
We ordered a portion of Mutton Sukka with Appam and a Kathal Biryani, which took another 10 minutes of service time. The Mutton Sukka was different from what I had eaten from Mangalore during my college days. This improvised version had boneless pieces of mutton cooked with a roasted coconut an spice paste garnished with fried coconut slivers and curry leaves. A great dish with to have with spongy appam!
I was not too impressed with the Kathal (Jack fruit) Biryani. The biryani lacked the flavour of spices, was excessively coloured and the jack fruit pieces were not chunky and tender. The biryani was garnished with a roasted pappad, which again was not crispy enough. But, the accompanying cucumber raita with a hint of turmeric was excellent.
The elaborate menu is truly pan-Indian and they have something for everybody. So you can find Khatta Meetha Paneer Dhokhla, Tandoori Rava Idli and Ragi Uttapam in the appetiser list. You also can find Pumpkin Khichdi, Quinoa Upma (I am surely going to try this one in my next visit), Assamese Black Chicken and Kachcha Aam Prawn Curry to satiate the hungry stomachs.
The portions served are just enough for a person and this makes this slightly expensive. But it is definitely worth few visits!