Wondering what to eat in Delhi's Shahpur Jat neighborhood? This cool urban village and designer hub attracts a lot of health-conscious hipsters. Hence, wholesome vegetarian food is popular, along with gourmet teas and coffee. In addition, look out for some groundbreaking restaurants serving cuisines that you might not be familiar with!
Bihari Cuisine: The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe
It's not often that you get the opportunity to try authentic regional cuisine from Bihar in India, let alone in such a funky environment as the Potbelly Rooftop Cafe. No wonder this cafe is a hot-spot for foodies in Delhi! Its owner was a fashion designer before deciding to diversify into the restaurant business. She opened the cafe in 2011 using her mother's recipes, which have been handed down over generations—so you know the dishes will be homely and delicious.
Order the Baggia Basket (pockets of rice flour stuffed with spiced channa daal and served with chutney), Litti Chokha (a trademark Bihari dish of whole wheat balls stuffed with spiced flour), Fish Chokha (spicy fish salad served on crispy poori bread with chutneys), mustard fish curry or prawn curry.
Do note, there's no elevator and you'll have to climb four flights of stairs to reach the roof. The cafe serves lunch and dinner daily, from noon to 11.30 p.m.
This cozy cottage-feel restaurant has an eclectic menu packed with sumptuous English breakfasts, pancakes, burgers, Italian mains, and bit of modern Australian fare thrown in. The restaurant's owner is also the chef, and she spent a decade in Australia working closely with celebrity chef Matt Preston. The restaurant gets its name from an Australian children's book series, and books are part of the theme there. One of the walls is lined with a huge bookshelf that's been turned into an honesty library. Take a book and return it, or swap it with one of your own. Choose from indoor or outdoor seating, tables or sofas, and get comfortable. Opening hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Working as a celebrity fitness trainer inspired the cafe's owner to set up a kitchen for the home delivery of healthy food in 2015. Such was the demand that he opened the Garden House Cafe in 2018. It's a cute little cafe that offers salads, super food bowls, fitness meal boxes, sandwiches, smoothies, health tonic teas and coffees, and cold-pressed juices. Not everything on the menu is strictly healthy though. There's pasta, pizza, and Oreo shakes for those who want to indulge. The cafe often hosts live events including stand-up comedy and solo music performances. Opening hours are 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Darjeeling Steamers brings "delicacies of the hills" to Delhi. Momos (stuffed dumplings) are the specialty and you can even have them for desert, with chocolate fruit and nut or apple cinnamon fillings. Health-conscious customers can select outer coverings made from buckwheat, red wheat (beetroot), and green wheat (spinach) four. However, if you're really hungry, order a tempting Nepalese Thakali meal that comes with a variety of dishes. There are Nepalese snacks, noodles and soups to try too. The restaurant is open daily from noon to 10 p.m.
One of the newest additions to Shahpur Jat's dining scene, The Layer Cafe & Bistro opened in early 2020 and serves tasty Korean food for breakfast through dinner. The menu includes Korean fried dumplings, sushi, noodle bowls, and sausage teok (fried sausage with sweet and sour sauces). Finish off with the restaurant's signature "puffy and airy" souffle pancakes. Intrepid gastronomes should make an advance reservation to sample little-known local Korean dishes. Kick back and relax with a Korean magazine to complete the experience. Continental comfort food and fabulous coffee will satisfy less-adventurous eaters. The young owners of this friendly restaurant are very focused on customer satisfaction, and it shows. Opening hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Take break from shopping for quirky home decor at The Wishing Chair and recharge at their whimsical Mad Teapot cafe, situated in-store. Both the store and the cafe have been inspired by Enid Blyton's children's books, and this has extended to the names of the dishes on the menu. The cafe's collection of tea pots is also fitting. And, of course, there's an assortment of boutique teas to go with it from Tea Trunk, Jugmug Thela, and Anandini Himalaya Tea (they also have a tea room in Shahpur Jat). Pair them with a freshly baked cake from the display, or a more substantial vegetarian salad, sandwich, pasta or flatbread. Coffee aficionado are catered for as well.