New Delhi’s Hauz Khas village is a bit scruffy, with its narrow, over-crowded alleys, but it is also the funkiest place in the capital for an eat-out or to enjoy the city vibes.
Activities in Hauz Khas hum around the deer park, the lake and the crumbling monuments. While the monuments provide it the old world charm and a hint of seclusion, the chic restaurants and cafes lined on both sides of the boulevard transport you to an entirely different inscape.
Over these years Hauz Khas has become the center-point of the alternative creativity. There is a sense of camaraderie here, a feel of liberty; a place where you can relax in a café, sit down for some great music, whet your creative instincts following the art-houses, designer showrooms or plain graffiti or hop over to soothe your taste buds.
Let’s save you from tromping around this place to discover the hideouts. Well, there is hardly anything that you can think of and not find here and predictability has literally no space in these vibrantly painted and lighted alleys. To save you from some tireless google search and pinging friends to know the places to go to, I have prepared a sweet list of the hippiest cafes in Huaz Khas –
Elma’s Bakery, Cakes & Tea Room
Ah! This would be in everyone’s list of favourites. With its fairytale English countryside befitting ambience, homely decor, delicious food and unparallel French pressed coffee; this has to be on your list too. The sweet aroma floats down the alleys and guides you to this quaint dollhouse, where a music enthusiast Gautam with his wife, who has done this place, wait for you, with tea, coffee and the irresistible bread selection from baguettes to pumpernickel to chocolate bread to bacon and sausage loaves, spiced with some dollhouse charm of the place.
Let some art grow in you, rather let it take you captive, for this captivity comes with some creatively inclined acquaintance, some mouth-watering cakes and crepes teamed with a latte, you probably have had never before. This cute café with painted and quirky designed walls and an eye soothing artefacts, run by two brothers Ravi and Ruby from Manali, has that aesthetic urban attractiveness, topped with brilliance of pizzas and salads and Austrian desserts, to hold you, captivate you and make you its own.
Hauz Khas is incomplete without the mention of this hideout. First it’s a travel café and thus basks in its own uniqueness. Imagine yourself sitting on a comfortable couch, sipping a brilliantly brewed coffee, some crispy choco cookies and a travel book on Ladakh or a solo trip through India’s North East and some nice predictable beats to rejuvenate you. If you were to name your imagination, it would be Kunzum. Named after Kunzum pass in Spiti, Kunzum is Delhi’s first and so far; only travel café and often doubles up for some exciting events like talks, music shows, travel chats, blogging workshops, book launches and many many more. So why not have a coffee while meeting fellow travelers or just simply planning your next trip. And when you exit, there is a wooden box, like a relic from a pirate movie, which says ‘Pay what you want’.
The Living Room
This place is a hip, a trendsetter, a place that exports you out of the ‘normal’. Wear your nightcap, a more brusque one though, a fake moustache or a macabre mask or get some garland tied on your forehead in a ‘dum maro dum’ look or pom-poms to cheer and whistle into nostalgia of some oldie indie pop or Bollywood classics, with dim lighting and a collection of Indian wines from Sula or Nine Hills or Old Monk or never tried before cocktails. This is TLR, bringing to you the unforgettable combination of great music, wine and food.
Open work space by day, buzzing drinking spot by night, Social, a much desired urban hangout, an idea of getting communities of entrepreneurs, freelancers and innovators together under a single roof. With an unfinished corporate look and an unparalleled village view, Social has two storeys doubling up as office space during day-time and post 6 turn into a top notch perfecting its molecular mixology in its blends and cocktails. Social is designed to take conversations offline, not limiting them to 140 characters and incubate ideas. And food, that never fails to keep pace with the feel of the place. Try the mutton Dansaks or the street Keema Pav or simple roti with mutton curry or the home style cooked Rajma Chawal or the lavish breakfast tray, food complements this unique concept of blending of office and café and ups the ambience of the place.
Out of the box café
This is Delhi’s most successful restaurateur Priyank Sukhija’s one of the most successful outlet and probably one of the most famous roof-top eatery in Hauz Khas. With comfy couches and a laidback and casual vibe, OTB is a great choice for a group of friends. Add to it the fact, that it is one of the best places in Delhi to enjoy a hookah.
Take my words; Hauz Khas will never fail to amaze you. It is the quintessential cultural pot, with ingredients from every corner mixed proportionately to weave an unforgettable magic.