No longer a staid residential area for government officials, Delhi's Lodhi Colony neighborhood has been undergoing a metamorphosis in recent years. Vibrant street murals, part of the open-air Lodhi Art District, have transformed the facades of buildings between Khanna Market and Meher Chand Market. Trendy restaurants, serving all kinds of international cuisine, have also opened in the area. Here's what you can eat in Lodhi Colony.
Rustic yet elegant, Lahori Gate serves up authentic home-style cuisine using old family recipes from Lahore in Pakistan, as well as Amritsar and Delhi. The restaurant is spread over two floors in Lodhi Colony's Mehar Chand Market, and its menu has many traditional dishes that aren't frequently found elsewhere. What's more, the memorabilia that adorns the walls will take you on a trip down memory lane to the time when Punjab was undivided before The Partition. Try the Lahori Daal (a specialty lentil dish) or Daal Ghosht (a mutton/goat and lentil curry) with stuffed tandoori parathas.
Following on from the success of Elma's Bakery in hip Hauz Khas Village, Elma's Brasserie opened in Mehar Chand Market in 2013. This cozy European-style cafe is renowned for its English, French, Italian and also Moroccan cuisine. Afternoon tea, served from 3.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. with a selection of gourmet sandwiches, is a highlight. However, Elma's is open for breakfast through to dinner. Or, simply drop by for fresh cake and coffee. The signature red velvet cake is quite famous!
Searching for hard-to-find organic and gluten-free food in Delhi? You'll love the seasonally-inspired menu at the Altitude Cafe and Deli in Mehar Chand Market. The Altitude Cafe is an off-shoot of the Altitude Store, which sells organic and natural products from across India, and is situated just a few doors down from it. The cafe's simple but healthy menu offers sumptuous breakfasts, macro bowls and salads, pizzas, burgers, quiches, juices, and smoothies. For dinner, there are non-vegetarian options including lamb stew and rosemary roast chicken. The cafe even makes its own vegan cheese from cashews. Enjoy a view of the street art while you dine.
Ping's Café Orient eclectically pairs potent cocktails with nutritious street food from all over South East Asia, and even has a beer garden where you can enjoy a Singha lager from Thailand. This unusual restaurant, with its quirky decor (including a neon "love you long time" sign), has attracted a lot of attention since it opened in a corner of Lodhi Colony Main Market in 2016. This isn't surprising though, as it's the newest venture of the brother-sister duo behind the speakeasy cocktail bar Pass Code Only (PCO) and private members club À Ta Maison. Their childhood in Thailand provided inspiration for the restaurant's cuisine, which is relatively unexplored on the Delhi food scene. Try the baos to share, or the restaurant's special roast duck pancakes or red snapper. There are low calorie options for the diet-conscious.
Guppy, named after a type of fish, has a whimsical anime theme but don't let that fool you. The restaurant, located in Lodhi Colony Main Market, is very serious about its Japanese cuisine. As is to be expected, there's plenty of sushi and sashimi to choose from. However, the menu extends way beyond that to provide a diverse foray into contemporary Japanese dining. The food is freshly prepared from locally-sourced ingredients and includes a number of vegan dishes. The slow braised pork belly is legendary. The signature miso black cod, tempura tiger prawns, and seafood salad are also recommended. Wash your meal down with some Japanese sake.
For classic vegetarian south Indian cuisine, look no further than Chidambaram's New Madras Hotel in Lodhi Colony's Khanna Market. This inexpensive and modest restaurant has a long history dating back to 1930, when it was established to feed officers from south India who were working for the British government in Delhi. The Mysore Masala Dosa with spicy chili-garlic chutney is popular. Or, for variety, order the South Indian Platter, which comes with vada, idli and uttapam. If you're really hungry, the Chidambaram's Special Thali will certainly fill you up!
Celeste Chocolates joined forces with award-winning Chef Saby (from Lavaash) to open Eywa by Saby cafe above its store in Mehar Chand Market in February 2017. The cafe is decorated in shabby chic style, and its vegetarian menu features substantial all-day breakfasts, high tea platters, pancakes, waffles and desserts. Everything is made in-house. On your way out, buy some delicious gourmet chocolates or crockery (also designed in-house) to take with you.