(Ring Road/Vivekanand Marg (south of Chanakyapuri), Eicher p112, G4)
Used to be a pretty good selection on the whole, with plenty of salads and some decent cheeses. But they seem to have started cutting costs/corners. The Hyatt got in early on Delhi’s growing bandwagon of Middle Eastern food here – though they don’t do it all the time. Usual range of local food, plus some nice “you choose it, we’ll cook it while you wait” stuff. Service can be very slow especially at busy times.
The Sunday brunch with fizz is legendary – after all, where else can you get as much sparkling wine (Spanish, not champagne) as you can drink, a free run at the salad bar, and a teppanyaki grill all for Rs 900? Well, the salads are variable (probably a good thing – something for everyone). Some are very tasty indeed, some are bland but OK, some are a bit on the bizarre side. Likewise the teppanyaki – plenty of small dishes (which are cooked in front of you with varying degrees of showmanship), but the quality varies – and be warned, the steak on offer is buffalo. But good value all in all – and the salmon sashimi is very good if you want to add something just a bit special.
(Janpath (south of Connaught Place), Eicher p80, F4)
As you might guess from the name, the Spice Route specialises in SE Asian and South Indian/Sri Lankan dishes, and does them very well. Can be a bit on the pricey side – you can quite easily spend Rs 2,500 on dinner for two plus beers if you want a wide choice of dishes – but on the plus side the food is so good you won’t want to stop eating it. Some of our favourites? The chameen thoren (Kerala spicy prawns), the Sri Lankan vegetable curry with coral mushrooms and water chestnuts, the tom kha gai (Thai chicken soup with coconut milk) are all regular orders. But we’re working our way through the menu… You might want to consider phoning ahead (2334-1234) to book, though – it’s often very busy, especially in the evenings.
1911 Bar and Restaurant
Nice atmosphere, especially at lunchtime when you can sit on the glazed verandah or on the open-air terrace. A fairly wide-ranging menu of North Indian and “Continental” food. The salads are large! But service can be a bit slow at times, and the food is OK but not that special.
Hotel Maurya Sheraton
(Sardar Patel Marg (Chanakyapuri), Eicher p95, A4)
This one seems to have gone downhill a bit. When we first went we were quite intrigued by the concept – a choice of two out of three of soup, starter or salad, then a grill buffet with choice from a range of seafood, meats and vegetarian stuff, served with a few salad leaves and a baked potato. There’s also an Italian à la carte menu. But then we had several disappointments – portions of ravioli consisting of four pieces of stiff pasta with very little filling, seared scallops which had been baked to death and any remaining flavour drowned in soy sauce. And as for the view, there isn’t one at night.
Hotel Metropolis Nikko
(Bangla Sahib Road (west of Connaught Place), Eicher p79, D3)
Sakura Japanese Restaurant
Not a good experience, I’m afraid. We ordered two servings of salmon sashimi as appetisers while we contemplated the rest of the menu. When they finally arrived the fish was poor quality (large brown bits), inexpertly carved, and very measly in my case (Dave’s helping was considerably larger). We walked out…
…and bumped into colleagues who expressed similar disappointment about the standard of the buffet they’d just had.
Hotel Grand Inter-Continental
(Maharaja Ranjeet Singh Marg (east of Connaught Place), Eicher p80, H3)
Blue Elephant Thai Restaurant
Another one where we didn’t stay to eat. We were put off by: (a) the musty smell pervading the whole place; (b) the waiter who pounced on us as soon as we stepped out of the lift; (c) the fact that no-one else seemed to be eating there; (d) the price – Rs 400-plus for papaya salad (it’s only Rs 225 for the Spice Route’s excellent som tam). A bit of a let-down when you consider that it’s part of a fairly reputable international chain of Thai restaurants. Even more of a shame as the view of Old Delhi from the 28th floor is pretty spectacular.
(2, N-Block Market (near Fab India and The Next Shop), Greater Kailash-1, Eicher p131, A1)
There are actually four outlets here: a coffee shop on the ground floor, an Indian restaurant on the third floor, and a bar on the second. But we went to the Italian restaurant on the first floor. Prices are reasonable and the food is pretty good – we shared a pizza, a pasta and a salad and had a couple of nice cold beers. Nice garlic-&-herb bread too. Friendly and helpful service, and they don’t spend too much time hovering over you.
(Ansal Plaza, Khelgaon Marg (near South Extension), Eicher p114, G6)
Located on the ground floor of Ansal Plaza. Seems to have lost it a little bit – the last couple of times we were in there they were either unable to serve us local Foster’s (in spite of having it on the menu) or could only give it to us warm. We liked the Dynabites (cheese & jalapeño balls), though other places have offered something suspiciously similar. Not sure why they ask for your name when you go in either…
Update (9 March 2003): We went in again yesterday to give it another chance. Well, they didn’t ask for our names and the Foster’s was reasonably cold. But the table mats were dirty, the batter on the crispy fish was greasy and hid a lot of dark meat, the dynabites were cold, the potato wedges were undercooked. We sent back the Caesar salad because it contained all kinds of extraneous bits like olives, sundried tomatoes, soggy-looking paneer and sweetcorn. By the time they brought us back another one we’d already finished eating. (In fairness they didn’t charge us for it.) The experience wasn’t enhanced by the presence of someone who may have been the owner sitting directly opposite, beadily eyeing us whilst troughing through several plates.
Bäcchus (why the umlaut? Anyone know?)
(Munirka Marg, Basant Lok (Vasant Vihar), Eicher p127, C1)
Down a back alley next to Ferns ‘n’ Petals in Basant Lok (Priya Cinema). Fair range of beers (they do do local Foster’s, as well as Heineken and Guinness if your bank account can stretch that far) and some nice snack food too – we recently tried their falafel, which were spicy! Friendly staff who will leave you to pour your own beer without being told more than once.
(Block E, Connaught Place, Eicher p2, E2)
A bit of a struggle to reach as it’s two floors up. But they do very nice Eastern Mediterranean food, in a pleasant atmosphere – music is not too loud during the day, nor are the televisions. Staff are pleasant and the kitchen is spotless.
Leslie Weightman has written in to recommend “one of the best kabab places to eat in town”: MerCurries, located in New Friends Colony behind the Surya hotel (Eicher p116, H6). Dinner starts at 7:30pm. They have an all-you-can-eat meal of kababs, followed by biryani, dal and a special dish of the night – all for under Rs 300. Check it out!
Delhi Karnataka Sangha
As the name suggests, South Indian vegetarian food – this place was introduced to us by our Tamil driver. Just off Rao Tula Ram Marg, on the left immediately past the Ring Road (Eicher p111, E3) – behind a bank and next door to a petrol station. Shabby room with no windows, and the seating and tables are basic – but really good dosas and uttapams, and regular top-ups of sambar. A filling meal for four and soft drinks will set you back less than Rs 200. We’ve eaten there loads of times, always enjoyed it, and never had any problems. Open 1100-2300 seven days a week – but be warned, it can get pretty crowded at lunchtime and in the evening!
(Unfortunately the building was being rebuilt when we last tried to get a meal there – with no hint as to whether the restaurant would be resuming business.)