Meal for two: Rs 1800 (including taxes)
Address: 3rd Floor, DLF Mall of India, Sector 18, Noida. 8860030323
Much like the city it is inspired by, the menu at Cafe Delhi Heights has no cultural or geographical segregation. A Sindhi Kadhi sits cheek by jowl with an Indonesian Lamb Rendang and a Nice-inspired Ratatouille while elsewhere an Amritsari Macchi dallies with a Mango Mayo chutney. The exhaustive document is a warren of melting pots and inspired dishes.
The décor is similarly cohesively chaotic with seating ranging from converted four-pillared beds to more contemporaneous options. Newly opened in the Mall of India, the restaurant also has a special section of dishes, curated specifically for the Noida clientele.
Lost among a plethora of options, we decide to begin in familiar terrain and get a platter of Galouti Kebab, followed by a Sticky Pork Belly Tawa Fry which comes served with a Raw Papaya Salad. So somewhat familiar terrain, anyway. The Galouti Kebab comes first, and served with pita bread, sets the tone for the rest of a irreverent but delicious meal. The kebabs are piquant little discs, firm at first touch but melting delicately when we prod further. Spread over the crisp pita and accoutred with the accompanying spiced onion lachcha, this is a version beyond Wajid Ali Shah’s wildest imaginings and still a fitting tribute. The only reason we don’t mourn its passing is the pork belly. Enrobed in masalas, the toothsome fatty bits of pork belly get along with the Som Tam-inspired salad like a house on fire – the chilled slivers of papaya enmeshed in a tangy marinade providing the perfect foil to the heady pork, with peanuts adding a crunch to the textured — all making for a gorgeous mouthful. Several, in fact, as the portions are generous, and then some.
For our mains, we pick Mom’s Buttered Chicken Tikka Masala from the aforementioned special Noida section and since we can’t pick between Italian or Thai, we go for the vegetarian Thai Red Curry Risotto. The Risotto comes swimming in a vast veramic bowl, the fiery red arborio rice studded with chunks of carrots, broccoli, galangal and water chestnuts, with a light dusting of cheese. The Italian rice enthusiastically absorbs all the flavour of the Thai curry for a comfort combo win. The Masala Tikka comes with an iceberg of butter floating on it, which soon melts into its hot depths. While the curry itself is the textbook flavour of Chicken Tikka Masaaler (as its known in its country of origin), its accompaniments of a jalapeno biryani and a capers raita alone with the more traditional kulcha, like a character out of the Twilight Zone, gives the dish a new dimension. Resembling a DTC bus by this point, stuffed beyond capacity, we soldier on to dessert: a chocolate mud cake with vanilla ice cream. A huge wedge of the cake comes with a ramekin filled with soft ice cream. After polishing off the last crumbs, we leave Delhi — the food, for Delhi — the place, vowing to return.