Raaga The Coffee Lounge – A whiff of hope

Despite being the campus area, have always felt that North Delhi lacks good hangout joints – coffee shops, bars, Hookah joints where you can just relax and spend some quality time with your friends. Thankfully Mocha opened up and brought some welcome relief to the area, however it still seems to be the only place and anyone in that part of Delhi, lands up at Mocha Civil Lines. 
Raaga seems to bring in welcome relief, located at a quieter corner of bustling Bungalow road, it is a place that has lot of potential. Have visited them couple of times, and till now have not got much of a reason to complain. In-fact I am quite positive that I am gonna go back there for more often. 
Cafe Latte
What is the most important thing in a Coffee Shop? Coffee! And they seem to be doing well on that front. Had tried their Latte (Rs.85) couple of times, and though I am not a connoisseur, however I still liked the brew. My friends who understand coffee much better than me, liked their Cappuccino (Rs.79) and a cold coffee they make from their own roast Raaga Frappe. So yeah, that is a front they seemed to be sorted at.
For me, the second most important thing at a coffee shop is ambiance, and these guys have a very decent and lively setup. I personally am a fan on outdoor seating and as of now they seem to be have decent space to hangout outside. And if my conversation with the very young owner is any indication, they plan to setup their outside seating area in a much better way, hopefully we would be see something in next couple of weeks. 
Now coming to the third thing, the food. It is the most important factor in my life, however coffee shop is one of the places where I do not go to eat as I do not expect anything edible from these guys (read ‘Chains’). Most of the times the food you get is like take out of the freezer and microwaved, which is not the kind of food I really appreciate. That said I happened to try 2-3 things at Raaga and till now, they seem to be fairly impressive. Things that we sampled :
  • Vegetable Lasagna : For Rs.160 bucks, it is one of the better lasagnas available around. Fresh vegetables, lot of cheese and good portion size. No reason to complain here. 
  • Mediterranean Pizza : The cheese, the toppings  were perfect, however the base seemed slightly thick. Again at Rs.150-200 did not leave much reason for us to complain, we finished it, we enjoyed it.
  • Vegetable Burger : This was for Rs.59 bucks and at the price there is not much scope for complaining. However the patty was a bit oily for my taste and reminded me of Gupta Ji’s fried burgers that you get all around the town. Once again I finished it, and if I did that, I really liked it.
Mediterranean Pizza 
Veg. Burger
    Veg Lasagna

    The inside scoop in lasagna.. 😉
The guy serving us was well spoken, experienced and warm. However we were surprised that they did not have Tabasco and Mustard sauces available. Plus with the burger we were served Tomato Ketchup of Del Monte (sachet) but with the pizza it was continental sauce of a brand I did not recognize. I wonder if it was a deliberate combination or just a random oversight.

Its too soon to say anything, they have been out there for couple of months only. Not a place I would specially go to, still the coffee shop I would hangout when I am in that part of town. Plus the rents in that area are a major killer, not sure how they plan to pull in the business and for how long they would be able to sustain such high costs, however I hope they are able to pull it off, because if they do, they would be getting lot of blessings from denizens of North Delhi and their friends. 
PS : Its a pure vegetarian place.

Raaga The Coffee Lounge

38, Bungalow Rd, Kamla Nagar, New Delhi, Delhi, India 110007

011 4568 6688
Connect with me on Twitter : @tweet2shashank

Indian Coffee House – A Thriving Relic

When I used to read or hear about Indian Coffee House, it always came across as a place that was dead and some old timers (read retired men) used to hang out there as the coffee was cheap, location perfect and no one gave a damn. With that kind of impression, I never dared to enter inside, fearing that I might face another government relic and then you do not really go out get frustrated and have bad service and food. 
However off-late the name started to pop up again, quite often, in my conversations with some of the younger friends. And then I was told that they have an Indian Coffee House on second floor of Mohan Singh Place in CP area which has a huge terrace, an open air area . The idea of terrace was good enough to ring several bells in me however still took me some time and two failed attempts to finally set my first foot in this institution. 
Broken dirty looking tables and chairs which seemed as if they would crumble under my weight (or any heavy set human for that matter), an eclectic mix of human faces, two waiters (among others) with cool tattoos on their neck dressed in prim uniforms and several monkeys bouncing here and there were the first things that I noticed.  
Yours Truly enjoying the view from ICH
Coffee, conversations and sun-set. Deadly ??
Finding a table and settling down, you realize that you do not mind any of the things that you would consider sacrilege in some other cafe. The rates are dirt cheap and you anyhow do not go there for food. For me, it was all about the terrace and couple of balmy march evenings that I have spent there have been quite phenomenal. 
However over my couple of visits I could not help but try several of their ‘delicacies’ and being a food blog that FED is, lemme tell you about those as well.
Veg. Sandwich – Dry bread, no butter, no jam (we could not find any), couple of slices of cucumber and tomato. Are you ready for your sandwich ?? 😛
Omelete – You really have to work really hard to make a bad omelete  and I guess I will give the crown of worse ever I had to this place.
Paneer Pakode – Ok.. I have had worse. But then I was told that they can be better. Atleast sometimes. 
Masala Dosa with Butter – Was quite impressed with it, it was edible and not bad at all. Cannot say much about chutney and sambar though.

Mutton Dosa – Now this one you won’t get at many places, and though the mutton’s quantity was sporadic to say the least, it was still one of the things that can be eaten there.

Mutton Cutlet – Another item that comes recommended, you might find it juicy, but that juice is the oil it is fried in. May sound bad, but I did not mind eating it at all, atleast till a monkey came and scared us away from our table looking to conquer our food.

Paneer Pakode
Masala Dosa with Butter
Mutton Dosa
Mutton Cutlet
Oh well, the tomato ketchup they serve as a weird red color, but then… 😀
Compared to food, their drinks manage to perform better and here you can find Roohafza Sharbat, Lemon squash  Orange Squash etc, things which you will not get at normal cafes.  Coffee was average, Cold Coffee with or without the ice-cream was not bad at all. 
Cold Coffee with Ice-cream and Roohafza Sharbat
Its a place which was never known for its food. The service can be atrocious and food bordering on un-edible. However its the super old school charm of the place and super low prices that keeps in customers happy and there certainly are few items of the menu which can make you sit back after a bite and admit – Not so Bad .. 😛
PS – Reading on wikipedia about it,  I realize that it is run by a series of worker’s co-operative societies and has over 400 outlets spread across India. Located at most of the prime locations, makes it one of the biggest chains in country. 

All American Diner – A Photolog from FED’s Raid

Couple of weeks back, FEDs decided to get together and Raid All American Diner at India Habitat Center, especially because their Annual Hot Dog Festival was going on.

So on the designated day and time, 10 of us gathered at the diners and went nuts about food, as we usualy do. Unfortunately none of us was really impressed with what they had to offer, and we came to a conclusion that place was past its prime. It was good 2 years back, when Delhi did not have sufficient options, however these days, much better food is available elsewhere at similar or cheaper prices.

Here are some pictures from the Raid. Unfortunately, I do not recall names of all the hotdogs, so kindly pardon me for that.

Hot Dog Sampler
When asked the server what all hot dogs were there in the sampler pictured above, he was stood there clueless. We repeated the question from a gentleman dressed as chef and claiming to be the Head Chef, and as it tuned out be, even did not know what all hot dogs were being served their sampler. Disappointing.


a Sandwich

Baked Beans on Toast
Before we started to eat
FEDs in action
Veg Chili with house Fries
Vegetable Pot Pie
Another In-Action shot

Looks like Chicken Salad to me.
Chicken Fajita


Cheese Cake
Chocolate Truffle Cake
However I must admit that to wrap up the meal, we ordered three desserts, and we were quite happy with all of them. So finally there was some saving grace.