States' Cuisines With Panache
By Ridhi Chhabra
The plan to lunch out with former school friends on a weekend got a bit chaotic when we reached our customary hang out – Triveni Kala Sangam terrace café in Bengali Market. But when we reached there, to our dismay, it was shut for renovation. After much brainstorming, we zeroed in on Café Lota because of the good reviews on the internet and many recommendations by other friends.
All photos by Ridhi Chhabra; Copyright: Right Impact Media Inc.
We reached the café easily – thankfully no traffic snarls and we were told there was 30 minutes waiting for the table. The restaurant is located inside the National Craft’s Museum at Pragati Maidan, so the waiting time can be spent well by looking at the traditional handicrafts and craftsmen selling their artwork at the stalls. There also happens to be ‘Shop Café Lota’ which is the museum shop exhibiting craft objects & textiles. Café Lota opens at 8 in the morning and shuts at 8:30 pm.
To our surprise, the non-air conditioned restaurant was very cool and breezy in the hot weather. Replete with thatched roof and bamboo trellis. The décor is simple and elegant and the seating is comfortable as well. The flute music playing in the background adds to the distinctive aura. The café menu is a mish-mash of pan India recipes, comprising a limited number yet unique dishes. The prices are modest considering the portions they serve.
We asked for the mini rawa idlis which had a perfectly crunchy texture and came with the flavoursome coconut chutney. The Kerala vegetable stew with appam, that I tried for the first time turned out to be completely to my liking. Its main ingredients are carrots and coconut based gravy. Café Lota chicken pasanda accompanied by pudina parantha were delicious. The must try here for the foodies is the dessert ‘aam ke golgappe’ which were semolina puffs filled with mango shake and mango cubes.
Other mouthwatering dishes on the menu include palak patta chaat, prawn fry, kathal biryani, deccan fish curry and mutton sukka. The scrumptious meal and one of its kind dining experience with school buddies at Café Lota will stay with me for a long time.