MYKONOS: a good Greek restaurant in New Delhi

Battling the summer heat and a long powercut in Shahpurjat, 3 of us had lunch the other day at Mykonos, a cute, refreshingly simple and natural Greek restaurant.  Sonam had eaten there once before, but Asha and I were first timers.

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The restaurant is run by a Greek lady called Anastasia, who hails from Thessalonika, and is the probably the happiest person you will meet on any given day.  She is chatty, friendly, explains the menu, cheerfully apologises for her English (the day I can speak Greek, Anastasia, then we can revisit the question) and greeted us all like long lost friends, with kisses and bearhugs.

The A/C wasn’t working for most of lunch, due to the massive powercut, so the door was propped open, and we gazed at the trees outside, and we all made a promise that we’ll be back in the winter, to eat out on the tiny balcony with a tree top vista.

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The decor is white and blue and has a refreshing seaside feel to it, which was oh-so-welcome on a hot Delhi day.

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On Anastasia’s advice, we opted for a mezze platter, and several small dishes, so we could see what we liked, and it was the correct decision.  Cool mezze were just what we needed :

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The tzakiki and humous were too delicious, and as for the pita bread…fabulous.

I enjoyed the vine leaves (below) but was less keen on the sauce which I felt overpowered them.  Next time, I’ll have just dolmades:

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The Greek salad was lovely:

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The feta has a completely delicious, different taste from locally sourced feta as do the tomatoes, which had a rich taste.

As a vegetarian, this kind of food is perfect and what I crave.

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I didn’t have the coffee, but Asha assured me it was good and strong.  Nor did I have the dessert, which my companions told me was excellent.

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We paid own bill and I did not mention that I write reviews.

Personally recommended.

And a return visit is planned.

Emerging from the by now deliciously cool European feel A/C restaurant to this view was a bit of a culture shock…but what a view.

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Ivy & Bean: fusion Oz food in Delhi’s Shahpurjat

I have mentioned in other reviews of Delhi’s Shahpurjat district that this little urban village is changing at the speed of light, as a recent hot humid afternoon’s wandering confirmed.

There are boutiques a-plenty and new restaurants and cafés, and seeing it through the eyes of my house guest, a European first timer to Shahpurjat, it really has become a super buzzy little place.

5 of us went for lunch at “Ivy and Bean”, a cute place serving Australian fusion food.

Absolutely loved the look and feel of the place.

We ate inside, in the air-conditioned dining room, but the gorgeous outdoor area (shown below) is clearly crying out to be frequented, once the weather cools down a little :

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The honesty library, below.

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Everyone enjoyed their food, other than Nisha, who said her pizza was “ordinary and nothing special”.  3 of us had fish, and all loved it  –  interesting mashed potatoes –  and Anjulie’s stuffed peppers were apparently delicious.

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The Basa (above) and peppers (below):

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The portion of fish wasn’t huge, but after the large, fresh salads, it was actually exactly the correct amount of food.

Service was a tad on the slow side, but to be fair we did order in dribs and drabs, as our group straggled in at different times.

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The current menu can be seen on the zomato website.

I didn’t tell them I blogged, nor that I write reviews, and we paid our own bill.

Will I go back?  Most definitely.

I can foresee a lazy late morning coffee and some browsing from the honesty library, come the winter.

 

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Revisiting The Potbelly in Delhi

Almost a year to the day from my first visit –  a totally unplanned coincidence, by the way –  I revisited The Potbelly in Shahpurjat with Sonam and Ahilya, a young friend visiting from Singapore.

And what a pleasure it was to have lunch there again.

No dip in standards, equally great food, still a lovely location – as in thank goodness nothing has come up to spoil avery special airy view over the treetops – so yes, well worth a revisit.

We spent hours there, and lingered long after we had finished our delicious food, but there was no hint that we should hurry along.    A lovely, relaxed place.

Just as we did last year, we started with a pakora basket –  too, too good :

 

Sonam had chicken “ishtew”, and pronounced it excellent.

Ahilya had a pudina iced tea which she also declared delicious :

 

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I had Posta dana machhli (fish with poppy seeds) and it was very good, and the helping was nicely generous :

Just like the previous visit, I didn’t tell them I blog or write reviews and we paid our own bill.

 

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 Personally recommended.

 

Where to eat in Delhi’s Shahpurjat? Les Parisiennes, perhaps?

Nearly every time I go to Shahpurjat, which is usually to see my friend the designer Sonam Dubal, we end up at the charming cafe-boutique “Les Parisiennes”.

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A delightful space, elegantly and quirkily furnished, selling a mix of vintage and retro must-haves (think dresses, jewellery, accessories), and serving typical light French bistro style fare (think quiche, salad, gateaux – that kind of fare).

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I ask you what’s not to love?

I have been there with friends who went in for just for lunch and came out with a butter dish. Or stopped by for an afternoon cool drink and emerged with a glass cake stand they never knew they absolutely had to have.

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There is always retro style music playing, all vaguely Edith Piaf-y. The bathrooms are delightfully spotless.  The menu is written, bistro-style, on a blackboard.

I repeat, what’s not to love.

On a recent visit 2 days ago, on a broilingly hot Delhi summer afternoon, it was blissfully cool inside, and as I say every time I go there, “I could live here in Les Parisiennes”  – for it is a village house that had been beautifully transformed, but still feels like a welcoming home.

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I was very politely asked not to take photos on my last visit, so I didn’t, but on former visits I wasn’t stopped, so here is a quick look at a charming place that should be on everyone’s Shahpurjat To Do List.

 

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5-B, Dada Jungi House,

Shahpur Jat,

Delhi 110049

+91 88 26 51 89 43

+91 11 26 49 67 54

 

??? Personally recommended

I rate Les Parisiennes 10/10 for atmosphere.  8/10 for quality/portions/affordability of their food.  Have never shopped there, but friends have and love their crockery and glasses especially.

Open daily 10am-7pm

Sanskar Studio, in Delhi’s Shahpurjat

For the many loyal devotees and fans of Sonam Dubal’s couture, there is brilliant news afoot.

Sonam has recently opened Sanskar Studio in Shahpurjat, a cosy welcoming space where you can view his designs, as well as shop for clothing and accessories from a Calcutta based NGO, “Sasha”, an organisation very dear to Sonam’s heart.

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Up a tiny staircase, onto a little veranda, through the iconic red door, and you have arrived.

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The studio has only just opened, and so by the time you visit (and visit you should, you must) Sanskar Studio may well have evolved a little more, since it is being created slowly and lovingly, with new designs and products being added all the time.

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(Oh, by the way, this outfit, above, has my name on it.  Be warned…seriously, isn’t it gorgeous?)

Sanskar Studio is elegant, airy, welcoming and showcases the best of Sonam Dubal’s designs.

What’s not to love?

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The Potbelly restaurant in Delhi’s Shahpurjat village

If you haven’t already been to Shahpurjat, one of Delhi’s many urban villages, you need to do so pretty pronto, for this is a village that is changing rapidly, before one’s very eyes.

From being pretty unknown and off the beaten track just a few years ago, it is now buzzing with activity and (rather sadly) demolition crews, eagerly ripping down quaint old structures to squeeze in yet another boutique.

There is a perfect way of seeing this village, by taking a guided tour – check out my review of one such walking tour in this blog.

There are shops, boutiques and eateries galore in Shahpurjat, but by far the best food I have had so far in the village was on a recent trip to the cutely named “The Potbelly” with my friend Sonam Dubal.

You need to ask directions the first time you go, for The Potbelly is squeezed into a narrow building and up many flights of stairs, but when you get there –  what a treat.

A lovely treetop perspective of the village:

 

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It is a pretty, light, airy little eatery with almost a beach-y feel to it (if that makes any sense in Delhi):

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Now for the main event, the food.

Whilst we chose our lunch, we demolished the attractively presented pakora basket:

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It’s always fun discovering dishes you don’t know, and this Bihari-based menu had plenty of those.

Sonam had the chicken stew which he pronounced delicious :

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I had the Ranchi ka pulao (I’m veg) and it was great.  A completely different taste to a “normal” pulao and I loved the presentation:

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Totally unpretentious with sweet staff.

Charming.

We paid our own bill and I did not tell the staff that I write reviews.

Recommended.

 

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Second Floor Studio’s New Delhi avatar

If ever one needed proof that Shahpurjat is on the up and up, this is it.

The gorgeous Second Floor Studio – hitherto of Khan Market –  has recently opened a second store, in this rapidly gentrifying south Delhi urban village.  We discovered the new shop by chance, while on a Shahpurjat heritage walk.

This store is also their design headquarters, and while we explored the store –  fabulous, fabulous space and use of light.  Just gorgeous –  so, yes, as we explored, we wandered into their offices upstairs, and the staff couldn’t have been nicer and more welcoming.

Second Floor Studio has exquisite merchandise, and so it’s not cheap.  But it is mouth-wateringly fab.

I lust after the horse cushions…
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A walking tour through Delhi’s Shahpurjat

For those in the know, Shahpurjat is a charming urban village in south Delhi, that is a brilliant combination of traditional, timeless village life and a fast-changing designer hub.  For those who want to explore this village and learn more about it, a brand new guided walk has started today, the proceeds of which will go to an NGO helping girls and women, so put on your comfortable shoes, get walking and exploring, and do good at the same time.

This walk is a total win-win situation.

I was lucky enough to be asked to “test-walk” the venture, and so can say at first hand that even for a Shahpurjat aficionado like me, I learned loads on the walk.  I visited parts of the village I had never seen, and went inside homes and ateliers that I would never ordinarily do.

Well, well worth it.

The organisation behind this walk is called Kamilini, and their mission statement from their website sums up their work :

“Since 2007 Kamalini Vocational Training Centre has empowered hundreds of under- privileged young girls and women in the national capital region by imparting basic education, employment skills and entrepreneurship spirit, to better contribute to their family’s support and boost their self-confidence.”

Their latest fund-raising venture, guided walks through Shahpurjat where their training centre is located, concludes at their offices and workshops, where participants in the walk can see for themselves the training and teaching, and the valuable work being done.

You meet in the village car park, on a Monday morning at 10.30am, for a walk that should take about 90 minutes.  You are then free, of course, to retrace your steps and visit all the fabulous boutiques that you will discover, tucked down little lanes.

On the walk you see an ancient monument, the Tohfewala Gumbad (though I can’t guarantee the oh-so-cute new born puppies will be there when you visit) :

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You wander through streets, taking in the amazing village ambiance, you visit an atelier, you visit a dyer, you see the remains of the Baradari palace and then you visit a haveli, whose delightfully chatty owner happily shows you her store-rooms, her living room, the communal courtyard – something you would never get to see as a casual visitor.

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Ending in the main street of the village, where Kamilini is situated, it is a short stroll – or a long stroll, depending how much window shopping you do –  to the car park and starting point.

The organisers thoughtfully give you a small bottle of water.

Since one of the interesting stops is to watch a dyer at work, if you have anything you want dyeing, do take it along with you  –  seriously.

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Participation is Rs 500, which goes directly to Kamilini.  You need to register in advance via email :

preeti9sachdeva@gmail.com or rgeorge@kamilini.org

Walks will take place every Monday and, upon request, on other days, for a minimum of 4 participants.

 

Personally & highly recommended.

 

Les Parisiennes : a distinctly French accent in Delhi’s Shahpurjat

What a find !

Vintage clothing, accessories, jewellery, shoes, linen, decorative items and a café, all in one delightful ensemble in Shahpurjat.

You enter through a cute enclosed veranadah, and then wander ever deeper into a wonderful space, all elegantly done up in black and white.

The layout is such that you feel as though you are wandering through someone’s home, rather than through a shop.  There is a tiny corner kitchen and a menu offering classic café food –  salads, quiches, sandwiches, cakes.  Nothing fancy but perfect after a day of wandering.

And oh, the bathroom…Such is the nature of wandering around anywhere in Delhi (well, India really) & the deplorable state of loos, that one really is compelled to mention clean loos.  In this case, it is spotless.

Each time I visit Les Parisiennes, one of our party inevitably buys something, we always eat there, and everyone is very taken by the relaxed laid back feel to the place.  My latest visitor, a former old Delhi hand herself, was enchanted by the shop but rueful that it hadn’t been around during her time here.

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The kitchen corner (below)

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Browsing the racks of vintage clothes

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The charming little verandah entrance

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Charming and recommended.

Where to shop and eat in Delhi’s Shahpurjat

The urban village of Shahpurjat is changing fast.  Not quite as at-the-speed-of-light fast the way Hauz Khas Village is changing, but suffice it to say that every time I go for chai and chat with my friend Sonam Dubal in the village, it seems as though yet another boutique or yet another café has opened.

This week, three of us went for a walk through the village and discovered “The Wishing Chair”.

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It is utterly charming.  A cute gift shop and a café.  Actually it’s more than just cute, since it has both whimsical and funky things as well as serious statement pieces for sale.

A great place for gifts, especially unusual decorative pieces for the home.

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Lunch was perfectly nice.

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Tasty salad

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Clever mixed brown & white bread sandwiches

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Cute business card (with a map –  how sensible)

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Personally recommended.