A ‘COOL’ Indian hang-out that will rivet you! Do you think it’s going to be another run-of-the-mill eatery that will be so Indianized that you’d be forced to accept as true – you are Indian? Well, give your thoughts wings and desires a lift as you are soon to unlock a destination that is actually an emotional journey down the Indian Gourmet Highway. It’s called the Desi Roots. As Amandeep Singh, conceptualizer and promoter, says “It’s an emotional journey and recreating nostalgia in every element of the Café & Bar is the drive”, you would exactly intuit his reverie upon crossing the threshold. Though, one might fail to notice the spot and the modest branding, it’s right by the driveway, close to the Royal Enfield Showroom. As soon as we entered the place, the wish wall with locks dangling confined my disposition. I was already happy at the thought of fastening my wish on my way out. The place boasts of colors – the décor is amiably surprising – an abode of cheerful vibe. The seating is casual but quirky with eccentric upholstery prints – something that will instantly wrap you in a carefree, relaxed tone. There is nostalgia woven into every corner of the lounge – old scooter headlight has been metamorphosed into a side lamp. A trunk full of old world comics has been kept for leisure reading. An old sewing machine as the base has been modernized to create a small cozy table for two. Little trinkets add to the décor and the evocative semblance. From the use of yesteryear crates to the Royal Enfield lights in the shape of suspended lamps; from the iconic retro canvas and offbeat fabric/canvas prints on its walls depicting the good old chitrakaari of your mohalla’s ‘Ramesh Painter’ to merging the traditional with contemporary finesse; Desi Roots will invite you in a world that you could call yours. There is fine dining that moves through a thin passage into a capacious expanse – the walls are red and raw, the tables are humble, the lights just enough to keep the spirits high but conversations hush, all discreetly so, to keep the scope for renewal and trialing integral. An Open bar will catch your attention with innovation and grace. Retro women become the backdrop for the Bar both literally and metaphorically, wedding traditions with novelty.
We were greeted to Desi Champagne – a concoction of vodka, orange juice, apple juice, mint and sprite. Refreshingly alluring for a hot summer afternoon! I was blown away by the way traditional chicken tikkas were served on a coal iron – the ones used by our very own ironwaalas. Sizzling and tender, the Chipotle Chicken Tikka is a treat to the eyes and to the taste buds. Served with Avacado raita, it’s not to be missed here. I loved the Zimmikand Galawati Pate – authentic taste and innovatively served as pate and not the traditional looking kebabs. It was delicate and delectably melted in my mouth. Served with ulte tawe ka parantha and sheermal bread, this dish is a big thumbs up. One more thing, the place focuses on quality and not quantity. Small portions, good enough for one – sharing is no longer the ‘cool’ thing. Each one, enjoy one is a concept Desi Roots is mastering to achieve.
Next thing that took my breath away was the Warm Samosa Deconstruct – with aam paapad chutney – a deconstructed samosa chaat or salad that will appeal the young Indian like never before. Here’s a samosa you could enjoy with your girlfriend and still feel ‘cool’. Well achieved! At Desi Roots, the authentic flavours and traditional techniques have merged beautifully with the modern presentation and contemporary styling to suit the young and diversified Indian sensibilities. In the main course, Sweety “Saag Chicken” came riding on the truck, literally. The quirky use of props to serve food is definitely one of the highlights of this place. Another important concept being promoted by this place is the concept of covered food. Amandeep tells us, “In India, our mothers always served us food on the table, covered with lids. At Desi Roots, we want to retain the aroma and the flavor of our food and therefore, most of our food comes covered or put in containers”. The chicken cooks in the saag for hours to achieve its caliber. What finesse! Tender chicken and fragrant saag from the Punjab will bowl you over. I Love this one!
P:S : You can’t leave this place without trying the Jaw dropping Khichdi ke Chaar Yaar – well, I am not stupid to be talking about a meager khichdi. Taste it to judge it. Classic, Quinoa, Bajra and Juvar varieties make four portions of khichdi served again in the quintessential Desi Roots way – in small toy pressure cookers – good enough for one person. Dig into this delicacy to return for more of it again and again. Traditionally cooked without being over the top – they have not digressed from the bona fide recipe – just given you a taste of tradition.
To cap the sojourn came the Jamaluddin ki Kheer from Badal Beg Masjid, Old Delhi. Cooked for hours to reduce it, this kheer is just so addictive. Thick, creamy and rich with flavours – my heart yearns for it right now!
I savored almost every Indian destination on the food- highway, parallely on my plate – Enjoyed an ambiance that enthralled me with its artwork and vibe and transported me to my past without being apologetic.
Casa: G-16, 17, 30 & 31, Ground Floor, Ras Villas Mall, Saket, New Delhi