There’s history, there’s food, the wide roads and then there’s the weather—Delhi has a list of things to boast about when it comes to attracting visitors. And as winter melts into spring, the Capital bursts into a riot of colourful blooms. So if you want a view away from the conference room, try some of these places that make for a perfect meeting spot while offering ample space to enjoy the outdoors. Caveat: One of these places will be around only till the end of this month.

BRUNCH

QLA

Noon-midnight (Tuesdays closed)

4-A, Seven Style Mile, Kalka Dass Marg, Mehrauli (32318233)

QLA has a courtyard and an elegantly done dining space. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint
QLA has a courtyard and an elegantly done dining space. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

Why here?

Just 20 minutes away from the airport, QLA (pronounced cue-la) is neatly tucked behind the Qutub Minar. As you enter the modern European restaurant, a line of Yucca trees outlining a beautiful courtyard welcomes you. There are long wooden tables with benches; and squirrels make special appearances every now and then. It also has an elegantly done dining space, an event area, and a terrace that overlooks the Qutub Minar, for private events. The non-intrusive music, free Wi-Fi and courteous staff make it a neat, quiet spot for a few hours of office work.

If you visit on a Sunday, you will find an all-day buffet, which includes dishes that are not part of the regular menu, such as Roast Garlic Butter Pilaf Rice and Butterfly Prawns marinated in wine and lime and made in chili fennel butter.

Eat and drink

Most dishes are made fresh—the 10-15 minutes of preparation time is worth the wait. Appetizer Hazelnut ( 365), which combines a whisky-flavoured chicken liver pâté with a few pieces of fried chicken, is one of the highlights of the menu. The Hand-Picked Fresh Water Fish Salad ( 395) with eggplant, avocado salsa, jalapeno, coriander and radish, is hearty yet light. Then there is the Belgian Pork Chop ( 1,295)—the tenderness of the meat complements the pan-roasted peppers, zucchini, onion and caramel corn.

Chef recommends

Sanjay Chowdhury’s must-try is the Belgian Pork Chop.

The extras

If you have the time, visit the Qutub Minar. QLA has ample parking space.

What’s the deal?

For two: 3,500, plus taxes. The Sunday Grill costs 1,950.

TEA AND SNACKS

Mister Chai

9am-9pm

Shangri-La’s—Eros Hotel, 19, Ashoka Road, Connaught Place (41191020)

Chai Ki Tapri. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
Chai Ki Tapri. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Why here?

Located in the heart of the city, Mister Chai is a one-of-a-kind tea restaurant. Some of the teas here come in a chai ki tapri, a compartmentalized wooden tea box containing a tin kettle, blue-coloured chai cups and sugar kedi (bowl). The restaurant can cater to 50 people at a time. It’s a great place to work all day—it has Wi-Fi, and multiple plug points. The only hiccup is that the Wi-Fi service is free for just 10-15 minutes; after that you have to pay 200 per hour.

Eat and drink

The Chai Ki Tapri section in the menu provides the quintessential Indian tea experience. You can choose from three types of chai: the traditional Cutting Chai, Meri Apni Cutting (you can customize your tea) and Kadak Masala Chai. A pot for one costs 399 and for two, 749.

Everyone knows Delhi loves its butter chicken and samosas. Mister Chai gives you both, rolled into one, with the delicious Butter Chicken Samosa ( 249). Mumbai’s classic favourite, the Colaba Fish Fry Sandwich ( 699), too finds a place on the menu. The Goan Chorizo Pao ( 249), a flattened cutlet crisped to perfection and served in a freshly baked Goan pao, is a must-try.

If you are one of those who like to stay away from street food, the restaurant offers a selection of fresh multigrain sandwiches—you can choose from Mature Cheddar and Fig Jam ( 699) or Turkey Ham, Avocado, Tomatoes, Cheese and Rocket Leaves ( 699). There is an assortment of pastries, macaroons and chocolates imbued with local flavours as well.

A Paantastic ( 119), for instance, is an ivory-white chocolate enriched with saffron and blended with gulkand (a sweet preserve of rose petals), sweet anise seeds and cardamom.

Chef recommends

Besides the Kadak Masala Chai, executive chef Neeraj Tyagi says the Butter Chicken Samosa is a must-try.

The extras

Choose Mister Chai more for its central location than meeting amenities.

What’s the deal?

For two: 1,200, plus taxes.

DINNER

Birnan

6-10pm (till 31 March)

Taj Mahal Hotel, Man Singh Road (66513630)

Birnan offers delicious grills
Birnan offers delicious grills

Why here?

Imagine sitting in a large terrace garden under the open sky. That’s Birnan for you. Open only until the end of March, this pop-up restaurant offers an ideal spot for sundowners and sumptuous grills.

The seating is rustic and minimal, quite unlike Taj hotel restaurants. Since it gets a little nippy in the evening (yes, even in March), each table comes with a brazier. You can even see how your food is being prepared in the open kitchen. To use Wi-Fi, however, you will have to shell out 2,500; so you might want to organize a meeting here that doesn’t require use of the Internet. Efficient and helpful service is a definite bonus.

Cepes and Truffle Crusted Homecurd Duck.
Cepes and Truffle Crusted Homecurd Duck.

Eat and drink

The menu offers an array of grills and charcoal dishes. The Chettinad Patthar Gosht ( 1,100) is a Hyderabadi-style delicacy with a smoky flavour. The freshness of the traditional Italian delicacy, Caprese ( 900), encased in grilled aubergine carpaccio, is rejuvenating, while the delicious Cepes and Truffle Crusted Homecurd Duck ( 1,700) is nothing like the Bombay duck you may be familiar with.

The drinks menu is the same as the hotel’s menu, so it includes a wide range of aperitifs, wines and classic cocktails.

Chef recommends

“Hands down, the duck," says Taj’s executive sous chef Ashish Ugal.

The extras

You get a spectacular view of Lutyens’ Delhi and can also try Taj’s famed dessert Bull’s Eye (a rich brownie with ice cream). It is not part of the Birnan menu, but you can order it from the hotel’s menu. Every bite is a treat.

What’s the deal?

For two: 6,000, including taxes.

COCKTAILS

Tokyo Mon Amour

7pm-midnight (Wednesday-Sunday)

28, Main Market, Lodhi Colony (24690005)

Ichigo Punchare
Ichigo Punchare

Why here?

Located within Guppy by ai is Tokyo Mon Amour, a Franco-Japanese pop-up bar conceptualized by restaurateur A.D. Singh and Le Bistro du Parc’s Naina de Bois-Juzan. The cozy, small and colourful open space has a tranquil feel to it, away from the noise of south Delhi. It offers heady cocktails and a small plates menu. The background music does not interfere with your work, and the Wi-Fi is really fast.

The Bacon and Cream Cheese Sushi Roll with Black Rice.
The Bacon and Cream Cheese Sushi Roll with Black Rice.

Eat and drink

The food menu is limited, but mouth-watering dishes—such as the Curry Pan Bread ( 350), a French twist to the Japanese kare bread—make up for it. The Cured Tomato and Ginko Nut Salad is simple, fresh and full of flavours. The Mushroom and Asparagus Gyoza with Rustic Tomato Salsa, Chivas and Cream Reduction ( 350) is a delightful healthy version of dim sums (the chef uses wheat starch). Sushi gets a makeover in the Bacon and Cream Cheese Sushi Roll with Black Rice ( 650).

The beverage section has some interesting choices—Painap Flip ( 350), a concoction of brandy, thyme and pineapple, and The Tokyo Connection ( 350), which combines brandy and cointreau. Do try the sparkling wine-based drinks Wasabi Mimosa and Ichigo Punchare ( 375 each).

Chef recommends

A large part of Tokyo Mon Amour’s charm comes from the incredibly warm hospitality that chef Vikram Khatri and the staff extend personally. Khatri recommends the Bacon and Cream Cheese Sushi Roll with Black Rice, and Cheese Korokke.

The extras

In case no seats are available, you can move to Guppy by ai.

What’s the deal?

For two: 2,500, including taxes.

This is the fourth in a series on where executives and travellers can meet and catch a bite while at work. For the previous stories, click here

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