So What About Khan Market?
By Ridhi Chhabra
Who doesn’t know about the versatile Khan Market, located in central Delhi? It is a few steps off two famous luxury hotels by the Taj hospitality chain/group - Taj Man Singh Hotel and Vivanta Hotel and is home to myriad designer showrooms, top-line automobile parts market in its backyard, the famous lights market inside Lok Nayak Bhavan and the most classy bistros at its core.
It is presumably Asia’s most expensive market and is always buzzing with expats, tourists and locals. The well manned free car parking space, walking distance from the metro station (opposite the famous junior Modern School) it is home to fine lifestyle brands like Fabindia, Good Earth and many local vendors as well. Old and famous bookstores such as Bahrisons and Faqir Chand Bookstore are flocked by the young and wise minds alike. It also has a lot of well known places to eat and relax.
One such eatery I recently visited was the ‘Chatterhouse’, located in a middle lane in the market and it turned out as a great place for a lively get-together with friends and to feast the senses. It is an easy to locate two-storey restaurant with beautifully conceptualized interiors that are spacious and well lit. The brick walls are covered with monochrome posters that give away the vibe of colonial pubs that still exist in England and Ireland.
There is a detailed beverages menu to choose from and a decent repertoire comprising fine continental and Indian delicacies. The service is slow and one has to wait a bit longer to start binging. Thankfully, the drinks arrived quickly. The refreshing apple and basil cooler is a must try mocktail and the cosmopolitan cocktail with cranberry and vodka is tasteful. Food at The Chatterhouse is mouth-watering, be it macaroni-bacon rolls or vegetable dahi (curd) kebabs. The macaroni-bacon roll is a superbly done innovative dish. The highlight was handspun thin crust butter chicken pizza loaded with creamy goodness. The restaurant like all others in its vicinity is pricey, but worth a visit.
Serving since 2000, The Big Chill Café and Cafe Turtle are synonymous with Khan Market. A visit after a long time refreshed the faded memories of looking at the posters of classic Hollywood movies, including the best ones by Alfred Hitchcock. The restaurant’s interiors are pleasant and transport you to the America of 1950s and 60s. The Big Chill draws heavy crowd on all days, at all times of the day and pre-bookings are taken only outside the venue. The desserts are much better at the café and not at their bakery-franchise Big Chill Cakery located in the same market in the opposite block. Big Chill Cakery does have much more to choose from but nothing can beat the taste and menu at the original outlet.
The impressive range of delectables in the menu makes it hard to decide what to order unless one is a regular or has preferences sorted. The mushroom risotto and chicken bruschetta are quite sizable and good for three to four persons. Good old shakes at this place like the banana shake and Belgian chocolate shake are not for the faint-hearted. Lip-smacking desserts such as blueberry cheesecake, Mississippi mud-pie, devil’s cake and tiramisu should never be missed as they tasted just like what I had when I was in Paris. It may be heavy on the pocket but it is undoubtedly the best place for Italian/continental food in Delhi.
For those with a weakness for bakery products, a must try is L’Opera – mostly visited by the ex-pats and taste-conscious aficionado. The authentic pastry and bakery house specializes in French products.
Serving Indian and Mughlai since 1972, Khan Chacha is famous among non-vegetarian eaters to dine out or take away. The place is best for a quick bite and they have a reasonably compact menu. Over the years, the quality of rolls and varied tikkas at this place has diminished, and the prices gone higher. There are many joints in Delhi that have replaced Khan Chacha in the hearts of Delhi-ites.
Mamagoto has come up as one of the finest Chinese restaurants in Delhi. This outlet has quirky interiors and serves fine mouth-watering oriental cuisine. The must try dishes include chicken and prawn dimsums, teriyaki meal bowl and Tom Yum soup. Enthusiastic families with little kids are the likely visitors at Mamagoto. China Fare in the front side of Khan Market is an old oriental restaurant and serves excellent Chinese food priced reasonably and served with courteously.
Khan Market provides a wide range of dining options in true sense. There is no way one can go there to take a stroll with friends or family and not get tempted and succumb to the grand line of restaurants abuzz with busy shoppers and party-goers. Everything about Khan Market is designer stuff, so make sure whether you go shopping or dinning, the wallet has enough of the pink notes in it!