Farzi Cafe (Connaught Place, Delhi)

“I’m going out to dinner, with a gorgeous singer,

To a little place I’ve found down by the quay;

Her name is Patricia, she calls herself Delicia,

And the reason isn’t very hard to see…”

The analogy to Chris De Burgh’s “Patricia The Stripper” might not seem an obvious one at first but like the famous Patricia, Farzi Cafe at first seemed so tantalising, but was let down by a few rather unglamorous vulgarities, just like Patricia who undresses to her “drawers”.

The monochrome colour scheme and the soft, alluring glow of mid height lighting make for the most intimate of environments. At first glance, this is every bit the place you would want to take someone special. A couple sit beside us, enthralled by one another’s presence, I can almost here the words of Marvel “Had we but world enough time” being whispered into the lover’s ears.

The honeymoon begins with one of the most outstanding vegetarian dishes I have ever tasted. Chunks of tender, rolled soya meat stuffed with a creamy cheese filling and basted with a rich tandoori paste. I can never tire of food like this. The Paneer Burjee “tartlets” are a nice addition for starters also. The little tuille of Parmesan impressively complements the creamy scrambled paneer filling.

A short trip to the washroom is where the honeymoon ended. The washrooms are nearly as filthy as a train station brickhouse. I was left a little queazy handling the garlic paratha and parathas after such a vile interlude. The herb crusted Paneer Makhani was simply too sweet to be enjoyed. The second dish of mixed vegetables was better but I saw little merit in the table-side sauce pouring dramatics.

The Karela Calmari was a deliciously inventive idea and to make Karela taste even half-appetising is quite a challenge. The overly tart mango chutney sauce, however, became offensive halfway into the dish. The sweet amuse bouches throughout the meal were gladly received, although the Aam Panna Kulfi, like the Karela, was a little over the top to be fully appreciated.

It isn’t hard to see why Farzi Cafe is pulling in the crowds – clever menu, fancy tricks, reasonably priced and great food in patches – but like our dear old friend, Patricia, don’t be surprised if the experience turns out to be somewhat anti-climatic!

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