The Living Room, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi
Move over, Big Chill. New Delhi now has a new hang-out zone. The Living Room (TLR) café and kitchen at Hauz Khas village, open from 11am to 11pm, is spread over three levels. The second and the third floors are dedicated to the eatery and the fourth floor, an open terrace, can be used to just bask in the sun in the winter. On Saturday nights, TLR (tag line: Make room to live) invites musicians and bands for in-house gigs.
The good stuff
TLR is a relaxed, no fuss or frills café that encourages you to stretch your breakfast, lunch, coffee break or dinner to a long leisurely meal rather than have hurried bites on the go. The 1950s modernist furniture and comfy leather sofas are inviting. Mismatched table napkins and desi roses and lilies in liquor bottle vases create a homely feel. A guitar and carrom board laid out against the wall, an old gramophone at the entry, art and photography books on white centre tables and autographed Polaroids of celebrities such as John Travolta, Christina Ricci (which are on sale for Rs8,000 each) line the walls. Small alcoves and a balcony, big enough just for one or two, provide a private spot for a solo diner or a couple to enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee. And do visit the restroom—a shower head instead of the standard tap at the sink adds an interesting touch to the multi-tiled loo.
Comfortable sofas instead of upright chairs are part of this eatery’s decor.
The drinks menu (alcohol is not served here yet) offers a good collection of hot and cold coffees, as well as fresh juices with a twist. We tried the Pompom juice—a mix of apple and pomegranate with mint (Rs140), which could have done with a little less froth. Three out of the four soups listed were vegetarian.
You have the option to ask the chef to spice up or tone down your pasta according to your taste and can also order a smaller portion in some main course dishes. Stuffed Pollo topped with bacon with an asparagus and cheese filling and served with garlic baby potatoes (we opted for one stuffed chicken breast instead of two, Rs350) and the Pollo Fusili (Rs295) made the top grade. The presentation of the food is casual, as is the general atmosphere of TLR.
It is not the big things that are a problem at TLR, just the small stuff that can irk a diner. No salt and pepper shakers on the table, no sauces of any kind, and they don’t accept credit cards…yet. Yes, we know that the menu is not finalized, but it would be a good idea to have all photocopied sections of the menu in one place rather than separate pages for the coffee and drinks, food and dessert sections. We missed out on desserts because we never got to see that part of the menu. But these teething troubles should sort themselves out as the month-and-a-half-old restaurant moves along.
Chicken Burger (Rs285) is served with french fries and salad.
The portion sizes are small, and it is best to order individual plates. For starters, we ordered the Garlic Chicken (Rs250) and got four Parle-G biscuit-sized pieces of chicken with hummus and two croissants even though the menu said khubuz bread, a type of Arabic bread. Eating croissants with hummus is taking casualness a bit too far.
A meal for two without alcohol, which included a juice, a soup, a starter and two main courses, costs Rs1,274 (with 10% service charge included). To participate in the live gigs, email at firstname.lastname@example.org.