Review: Raasta (A Lounge Bar)
30 A, FF, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi, Contact +91-11-4062 3028/ 4059 1824
The First Sight:
This Caribbean themed Café –bar is quite demurely tucked away at the end of one of the narrow walk ways of the Hauz Khas Village. It’s relatively a new entrant to the list of many interesting cafes and bars in the Delhi’s swank Eat-out Hub. Once you walk in, it quite aptly strikes a chord of Rastafarian culture, for I am guessing that’s what must have inspired the name “Raasta”; walk a couple of more steps and you need guess no more. The ambience is a blaring rebellion with walls all adorned with posters of Bob Marley, Jim Hendrix and The Beetles among others, bright rugged upholstery, Marley’s reggae playing in the backdrop (not to mention the occasional divergence in Dubstep or Rihana). As you venture deeper the cavern opens into a large patio directly overlooking the greens of the forest, we immediately sank into a comfortable lounger set-up facing the greens and the open bar on our left.
For the menu, it could be a bit disappointing if you planned on Caribbean delicacies already, after flipping over the menu I was rather lost in a multi-continental assortment. Motivated by my dieting friend and being the only Non-vegetarian of the coven I ordered the Oriental Seafood Salad for myself. The rest treated their respective appetites with a Mushroom Ragout, a Corn & Broccoli Risotto and a Tropical Salad.
My Oriental Seafood Salad with prawns, calamari, river sole, pok choy in red chilli and rice wine dressing was refreshing and was as authentic an Oriental flavour as one could get in most multi-cuisine restaurant. The prawns and sole were just perfect tender and were great with the slightly hot and sour dressing. The pok choy and the mung bean sprouts, besides all their nutritional value, did add a dash of crunch but few croutons were sure missed. The size of serving was good and I was more than full by the time I finished my healthy and tasty bowl of salad.
The Corn and Broccoli Risotto topped with parmesan shavings was quite a beautifully presented but frankly it was nothing but glorified ‘Khichidi’. There was nothing wrong with the taste; it was all deliciously intact but the dish was much closer to our Moong-dal-winter veggi –khichidi than to a creamy Risotto. The Mushroom Ragout with shitake, button and porcini served with parsley rice and couscous was both delicious and filling. A good ragout perhaps cooked with white wine had an elevating flavour and combined well with the finer rice variety and couscous. It was perhaps most enjoyed by my friends for no sooner it was served they licked it off the plate, leaving me no opportunity to even click a picture of the dish. The Tropical Salad, an obvious choice of my dieting friend, was an assortment of raw & ripe mangoes, water chestnuts, pears, mange tout, and pomegranate with tamarind and plum sauce. It was a piquant sour salad, so for those who can handle that the salad was sure a fine one. The assortment of fine strips of citrus fruits with a generous dressing of sweet and sour Tamarind and plum was a punch of flavours in each bite.
The bar menu was very flat and with only a few cocktails to choose from a friend just ordered an LIT after struggling to converse with our uninformed attendant. What was served was beyond doubt a drink mixed in wrong proportions, so settling for alcohol in its pure forms seemed like the better option.
Well dressed prompt attendants were definitely a major plus; however some knowledge about the menu on offer would have come handy for the guests.
The Last word:
The well spaced out patio with a view was a huge positive and made me overlook all the pitfalls I’ve mentioned so far. The entire ambiance made it a perfect experience to sit, relax and catch up with friends over drinks and refreshing salads or one of the many dishes that were left untried. And if I get lucky and it’s raining then the patio is the place I’d want myself to be lounging at.