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Lounge Review | A coastal affair

LiveMint logoLiveMint 14-05-2014 Seema Chowdhry

One of the things that put Hauz Khas Village on the “happening places in Delhi” map five-six years ago was Gunpowder café, which served home-style Kerala cuisine. The eatery shut shop about a year ago, and no other restaurant in the Village attempted to replicate the Gunpowder ethos...till now. Of course, Coast Café looks nothing like Gunpowder, the menu does not include home-cooked style food and neither does it change daily and yes, Coast Café does offer burgers, tacos, salads and pastas—but the bulk of the menu is largely inspired by one part of the Indian coast—Kerala.

The good stuff

The place is charming—white, with large windows, muted olive upholstery, green potted plants in balconies and even on the tables, instead of the usual single stem of a rose or carnations. We tried the Watermelon Cooler (`120) with basil leaves and lemon juice, served in glasses rimmed with rock salt. There was no hint of sweetness in this cooler, yet it was a refreshing drink, perfect for a hot May evening in Delhi. The combination of brine-dipped Kalamata olives, pomegranate seeds, shredded arugula, quinoa and feta cheese in the Our Quinoa Salad (`320) made it a great, refreshing summer salad. The saltiness of the olives and the sweetness of the pomegranate seeds balanced well with the crunchiness of quinoa. The California Chicken Tacos (`260) with pieces of grilled chicken and shredded red cabbage were a hit, though we preferred to have the tacos doused in house-made ketchup instead of the yogurt dip and salsa, both of which were bland. Make sure you request a helping of this thick ketchup made from roasted tomatoes—you will love the tangy, non-pumpkin-y taste. Our Garam Curry Lamb (Kerala curry cooked with garam masala and coconut, `460) had five pieces of perfectly cooked lamb. The gravy, with pieces of caramelized onions, was not spicy and had a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon. We ordered both appam and Malabar paratha (`60 each) and between the two, the flaky paratha with a hint of sweetness won hands down. We liked Mimi’s Strawberry Gelato (`120) for its creamy texture, tart-sweet taste minus chips of ice. The gelato is not a regular feature on the menu yet. The house blend of Earl Grey tea with rose petals (`90) was a fabulous way to finish off a satisfying meal.

The not-so-good

The Eat-With-Your-Hands Kerala Chicken (grilled chicken marinated with Kerala masala, `380) needs more spice and lot more masala on the chicken please. We are not so sure serving this with potato wedges (though the menu says chips) and a salad of lettuce is such a great idea. Besides, the little bowl of gravy-masala served along with the dish tasted the same as Garam Curry.

Perhaps it would be better to serve a piece of paratha, appam or rice along with the main course items rather than guests having to order them separately. Also, the arugula leaves in the quinoa salad were shredded too finely for our liking.

Oh, and it would help if the attendants did not swat flies with the large red racket-like contraption while guests are trying to eat dinner.

Talking plastic

A meal for three without alcohol costs `3,067 (taxes included).

Coast Cafe, H-2, Hauz Khas Village. For reservations, call 07880141608.

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