Adios Satyaniketan! Delhi's College Crowd Just Found a New Place To Chill @ Cafe Hawkers!
It’s a bar! It’s a restaurant! It’s a bakery! Believe it or not, Café Hawkers is a delicious mélange of all of the above and then some. We were wandering around (hot and hungry) in the vicinity of Odeon cinema, when Hawkers’ colourful logo caught our eye. Sensing some good vibes and with hearts full of hope, we decided to give it a shot and can we just say - best decision of our day!
The first thing that greets you upon entering is something that people usually find buried on the last page of the menu - a dessert counter bursting with fresh pastries and tarts! We liked their unique approach; why save the best for last, right? The ambience immediately put us at ease but the eye-popping décor got us excited! There are two floors, which is good because the place is cozy (read small) and mostly full of college kids owing to the (somewhat) reasonable pricing. It does not feel congested even for a moment though, and you certainly won’t have to elbow your way to their well-stocked bar.
We were seated on the ground floor beneath a funky monochrome roof with a mock grass wall adorned with adorable watering cans, butterflies and flowers on one side and mock windows with vibrant cartoons on the other. The music was not too loud (a soothing mix of Indian and Western tracks), the lighting was ideal and the atmosphere was lively and fun with a conspicuous young, college-y vibe running throughout the joint. The staff was courteous but slow; the menus were the only thing served on time.
The food was worth the wait though, and the size of the portions was amazing! From their array of Chinese, Continental, North Indian and Street food, here’s all that we dug into:
Food Truck Spring Rolls
We were famished and these were crunchy, tasty and not wallowing in oil. Need we say more? Served with a side of spicy roasted peanuts and sweet and sour chilli sauces, the rolls were filled with noodles and topped with crispy strands of rice papad (also called vadagam). The only complaint that we had was that the stuffing was a bit bland, but the sauces provided that much-needed kick to the dish.
Lamb in Black Pepper With Rice (Bowl)
A stellar offering with mind-boggling quantity, there were ample chunks of succulent lamb amidst bell peppers, celery, beans and black pepper in a mild Szechuan-esque sauce which had just the right consistency, served on a bed of perfectly cooked rice. The vegetables weren’t overcooked either, and retained their crunch and freshness in the dish while the protein had a smokey flavor which we totally loved.
You can build your own pasta dish here, but we played safe and went with our favourite penne pasta in Arrabiata sauce, which turned out to be a winner. The pasta was cooked through instead of being served al dente, and the sauce had a good amount of spice to it, although we felt it was a wee bit sparse; we wanted more of that thick tomato and garlic goodness to soak up our toasted garlic bread. Garnished with olives, chopped basil stems and strips of cheese, it was absolutely lip-smacking!
The perfect accompaniment to our meal, their Kiwi Delight mocktail was super refreshing and soothed our throats from the very first sip. It certainly looked interesting with green and purple portions clearly segregated and floating one on top of the other but the sweetness was a tad too overwhelming for us.
Now this tall glassful was pretty authentic; we could taste fresh, real pineapple chunks and juice, which is always great. Customers can order a mix of Pineapple, Orange and Lemon juice blended as a mocktail but we stuck to one, which worked out just fine. Pretty good stuff!
Our bill arrived in a school bus. Go figure!
Café Hawkers also has on offer herbal hookah at pocket-friendly rates in various flavours, which are an absolute hit with the college crowd. Although we couldn’t try it this time, we’ll definitely be back for it and for the desserts!
Meal For Two | Rs. 1,900
Location | L-22, Radial Road, Near Odeon Cinema, CP
This article is written by Misha Dwivedi. Misha is a part time writer and a full time Grammar Nazi. Currently hurtling through life at the speed of light, she makes time for dancing (not just at weddings and Ladies Nights), literature (current read: Joseph Anton), photography (hates selfies!) and hogging her face off on the pretext of upcoming-food-blog-research. Simple pleasures.