Thursday, February 4, 2010

Club India Cafe and Restaurant, Pahar Ganj, New Delhi

There is a euphoria in me attached to Paharganj (PG), probably because it is the travelers' district of New Delhi.

One small area, one alley, one bazaar, two crossings and atleast a ten thousand people from probably a one hundred and fifty nationalities walking together, eating together, boozing together, burping together, sleeping together, oops.. and what not!!

It is fairly known to the world that PG is the hippie haven of New Delhi, but lets not discuss that here!!!!

I happen to visit PG often, maybe because there's this sense of attachment that I have with the place due to its offering an assortment of dining options that do not pinch your/anyone's pocket!

I was at Club India Cafe located at the junction called Tooti Chowk of Main bazaar, PG. The trip was absolutely out of the blue, as I had to meet some one for work and ended up having an hour and a half extra with me... So what better than chewing away to glory, cheap and exotic food with a thousand kind of travelers in your midst...

The ambiance at PG has a different aroma to it, an aroma that reflects the fragrance of a place that belongs to probably no one but a fragrance of the air that carries the breath of so many people, all of us, who belong to each other.. HOW? We're all descendants of the one couple that turned naughty and began life on earth, at least :)

I should shut the F$^@ up and talk about the food I had ;)

There are two seating options at the Club India Cafe (CIC) - the second floor covered area and the third floor open dining area.

I obviously prefer the latter, mainly because the air filled with our fragrance is available in plenty and at no cost!

They have a fairly large menu that includes food from various Asian backgrounds ranging from obviously North Indian to Israeli to Japanese and Tibetan, all attractively priced!

There's not a better drink there than the MASALA TEA... The masala tea or Chai is so decently priced at Rs. 20 that it's actually hard to believe your eyes! I obviously called for it, passing the other options of a variety of fruit juices, soft drinks, ice teas, coffees, blaah blaahhh etc.

The tea arrived and oh my god I took a sip... For a moment I thought that's about it! This probably is how it feels to be blissed!!! Awesome, not very strong tea but a very strong aroma of the masala that was added to it makes me safely say that the Masala Tea at CIC is the best tea I've ever had at any place outside home, ever!!

The roof top area was not more than 550 to 600 sq feet in size and was brimming with people of all backgrounds, races, languages, countries, and thought processes. There were families, couples, loners, random travelers who turn friends at cafes, kids with their mum dad, etc.

The cutest little girl was laughing with her mom while showing her mom the frills in her frock! I wonder what aura kids have that makes you forget for a moment about everything else that's happening in your life.... Her mom lifted the baby girl up and made her peep into the alley, the view of the street! Utter chaos but beautiful... Dusk time, neon lights at the restaurants beginning to start, some of them flickering, some focusing right at your eyes makes the place worth looking at...

Getting back to the food now, I looked through the food "items" on the menu scanning through the pastas, the steaks, the naans, the rotis , the tikkas, the japanese weirdly named choices, the noodles, the speghettis, etc. and finally decided to order the Chicken Steak Roast... The guy told me it comes with freebies such as sauteed beans, tomatoes, radish, etc. besides chips... BRING IT ON! was my reply...

A grilled breast of chicken, on a sizzling plate along with the promised freebies arrived after about 20 minutes of a comfortable wait... The chicken was tender, juicy and soft, tasted fresh and was smeared with what tasted like a mix of barbeque and tabasco peppers sauce.... all in all a very good choice of meal priced at another surprising amount of Rs. 120!!!

I took a good half an hour to savor my meal (mid-meal, honestly) and kept looking around my small round table that in the beginning had two chairs, one of which was taken during the course of my eating!

Around me there were two old men sitting and chatting about business in some European language, and there was a group of two families of Latin American origin, who could not pacify one of the infants that kept crying during the entire course of my meal! Probably, it was the weather, or the place, or the smell, or the number of people, or an amalgum of all this that made it itch so much!

I could see a guy sitting all alone, looking completely lost in the middle of nowhere and making his doze of some kind of thing that probably keeps him high all the time!! In no time, he took out a camera from his jhola bag and started clicking pictures of the surroundings, thanks to his corner table that enabled him to see the street down there....

I called for my check and to no surprise it came out to be a total of Rs. 140 (20 plus 120 remember.. my math is not all that bad). I paid a ten buck tip to the waiter who was all smiles from the beginning to the end and kept speaking in a broken English with me, only to realize ultimately that I was one of his fellow-citizens, as soon as I spoke to him in Hindi...

In all, I absolutely loved my meal at CIC, PG, it's worth a visit, for its location, the choice of food it offers and again the ambiance and chaos that you can witness sitting at the roof top of the travelers' haven in New Delhi...

Burrrrppppppp!!!!! oops.. excusez moi, s'il vous plait!


  1. ohh... didn't really click any :(
    next time will put... keep watching :)


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