1. Gyoza, Sushiya
It's not all about sushi at this popular sushi joint: next time, add on the Japanese pan fried dumplings, gyoza (for some reason they call it Gyoza Dumplings), to your order. Carefully hidden under Soups, Salads and Appetisers in the Japanese section of the menu, these dumplings are large, juicy, have a thin skin and one box is enough for a meal.
2. Chickonara, The Big Chill Café
Everyone eats pastas at Big Chill but their pizzas are quite good. The Chickonara is the best – it has three types of lightly flavoured chicken (salami, sausage, smoked) and an alfredo-like sauce instead of the overpowering tomato. The best part is the burst of fresh herby flavour in your mouth that comes from the undeclared ingredient, spring onion.
And I hope you have banoffee pie for dessert, not that blueberry cheesecake everyone orders.
3. Pachadi, The Toddy Shop
Forget the beef fry and Malabar parotas but do not ever forget to order Toddy Shop's amazing pachadi – it will make the hardcore meat eater in you sit up in surprise, as you realise things without dead animals in them can also taste good.
A spiced yogurt (you can call it a chutney) side dish with chillies, tomatoes, some vegetable bits and coconut paste, this one has a mustardy zing and is light and refreshing like (Coconut Grove's!) spiced buttermilk.
4. Piri Piri Chicken and Cheese Bruschetta, Amici
It's listed under the starters but it's heavier than most of their main courses. Four satisfyingly crisp slices of garlic bread, topped with piri-piri rubbed roasted chicken, and then a blanket – nay, a proper duvet – of melted cheese.
All of this is baked to a golden brown and oh my god it's so good, you'll eat it every time thereafter.
5. Beijing Chicken, Side Wok
Perfectly crispy juicy little pieces of chicken tossed in with roasted red chillies and peanuts with some chives thrown in. It can be quite spicy because there is a sea of roasted chillies in there, but avoid biting into the chillies and enjoy the flavour they lend to the chicken instead.
The special touch is the dash of white wine in the recipe – and the cold garlic sauce this hot dish is served with is super delicious too.
6. Broccoli & Cheddar Tart, Smoke House Deli
I don't know why it is not circled and labelled "hero!" on the menu, seriously. There is so much going on in the Smoke House menu that you miss most of the stuff and end up ordering the same thing again and again. We found this one by accident when my friend wanted something small and cheesy. This savoury tart is perfect for that: flaky buttery tart, melted cheddar all over and roasted broccoli so you can pretend you are eating something healthy.
7. Cold Coffee, Elma's Bakery
You'd never have thunk, would ya? A tea place that does one of the best cold coffees in town – that's because you don't have an annoying nephew who only drinks cold coffee everywhere, in every season. Thick, creamy, large and with a champion coffee flavour that suffocates the lactose taste nicely, Elma's cold coffee is basically like a dessert in a glass. Skip the red velvet next time and go for this one.
8. Tiramisu, Spago
While talking of dessert, by far the best thing that falls under the category in Delhi is Spago's tiramisu. This restaurant in GK has existed quietly for a decade now, without any festivals, shouty promotions or any visible advertising, and the cream cheese cake that goes in the name of tiramisu here is simply superb. There is just enough coffee and cakey texture to counter the cream cheese but it's best to order coffee alongside to offset the sweetness.
9. Shabalay, Yeti - The Himalayan Kitchen
Aha, you only eat momos here, don't you? They do have fab curries, quite a good roasted mutton dish, and a whole killer Bhutanese menu, but if you want to take slow steps toward trying something different at Yeti, try the shabalay.
Think of it as a wider, crispier, flatter momo - a toastie-sized flaky patty filled with meat, and deep fried to yummy crispiness. Perfect with beer.
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