Cafe On3, DoubleTree by Hilton, New Delhi/Mayur Vihar
Mayur Vihar must be feeling pampered and privileged what with not one but two Hiltons at it’s NOIDA end; one being a Hilton and the other DoubleTree by Hilton. While the Hilton has yet to open, DoubleTree by Hilton already seems to be doing brisk business. I remember seeing a lobby well populated with marriage guests when the hotel had barely opened.
From the cafes of some years back when all cafes in hotels did was serve buffet meals along with a la carte sundries, we’ve seen a shift to trendier interiors and cranked up menus with Cafe On3 being no exception. Sunny, airy and spacious Cafe On3 looks outward onto a fairly avoidable Mayur Vihar landscape. If you don’t choose to look that far however, you’ll find Cafe On3 to be very well located on the rooftop of the hotel with a pool adjoining it; both of which are really quite nice accompaniments to a cafe. Methinks they should do Sunday brunches too. Mustn’t waste that lovely ambience. Here’s a quick video on what Cafe On3 looks like.
Coming back to the point, Cafe On3 has an ongoing south Indian food promotion, for which they’ve brought in Chef Senthil from Chennai who has come up with a menu that has familiar elements for those who apply the Madrasi tag for everything south Indian and some not-so-familiar ones for others. With the exception of one dish that I felt wasn’t right (but tasty nonetheless), every dish was well cooked. The 5-star tag does ensure low chili-heat and a refined nature that one wouldn’t expect from some of these dishes when found in the wild, but that’s to be expected.
We started with Thakkali Rasam; a thin tomato rasam that was excellent. I had resolved to eat light in anticipation of a heavy dinner in the evening, but just couldn’t manage it with this rasam. I’d put down the spoon and look elsewhere… and then dive straight back in for another spoonful much to the amusement of my companions. That bowl went back empty, as it should have by right.
Continuing on to Kosambari, a carrot based salad and starters of Milagu Kari (lamb pepper masala) and Paruppu Vada (deep fried lentil dumplings) every dish was good; especially the pepper fried lamb, which could have used some more chili, but was exceptional nonetheless. Accompanied by a nice, thick dosa and some chunky tomato chutney, I could have been standing at a stall in Chennai eating the stuff straight off of the fire.
Main courses were plentiful: Manglorean Mutton Curry, Kori Ghassi (chicken with coconut), Meen Molee (coconut milk based fish curry), Tomato Pappu (Lentils tempered with tomato), Keerai Masiyal (spinach with lentils), Uralai Roast (fried, spicy potatoes) accompanied by Malabar Parathas (multi layered flour flatbreads) and Kuzhi Paniyaram (shallow fried rice dumplings). As I’ve mentioned before Chef Senthil knows his stuff and while I didn’t have the luxury to hog or make loud smacking sounds of appreciation or even… let’s not go there; I did enjoy every dish, especially the Kuzhi Paniyaram, which isn’t a dish one sees very often in this part of the country outside of people’s homes. I confess to disagreeing with Chef’s rendition of Fish Moli, which to my mind was more like the chicken stews one associates with appams and not the moli I’ve been eating since childhood. Then again, *shrug* many versions exist. You must tell me what you thought of the moli when you visit, if you’ve eaten it before.
All in all, at 950++ per person for a complete south Indian dinner, it’s a steal and you must visit.