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Dim sums on the terrace

We check out the new Sidewok in CP

By Anoothi Vishal

Connaught Place may not be the poshest business district in Delhi any longer, but nothing can beat the sense of nostalgia and glimpses of its old world charm— no, not even the traffic sometimes!

I like CP, despite the nightmarish parking. Just like I like Khan Market. And what I like best about both these places is to find a restaurant with a terrace where I can tuck myself in a corner, enjoy a languorous lunch and bask in the sun. There is nothing better during the winters in Delhi. And each time I do this — on a weekday—there is reaffirmation of a choice that I made about a year ago: To give up a full-time newspaper job and stick to freelance writing.

Sidewok, the popular Khan Market restaurant, has a new outlet in CP— a larger, posher space, with a marvelous terrace that is just made for lazy brunches, kitty parties or just parties (well, perhaps office lunches too if you are lucky enough to work with a relaxed boss). Located in the outer circle where Madras Hotel used to be, it can take some finding. (I parked my car in A block and just walked across the street.) But once you are inside, it will surprise you to see the impressive dimensions of this restaurant.

While the formal restaurant is on the first floor, the floor above holds a bar, next to the terrace. And this is where I head almost straightaway. No, not to the bar, but the terrace.

A large kitty party group is holding court on one of the long tables but we ignore it easily enough and find a comfortable table where I can sun myself. One look at the menu and I realize that I am going to come back here many more times. This is after all one of the few mid-level restaurants with an extensive dim sum menu. A dim sum meal is right after my heart. So I don’t even bother with many other things, simply settle for a couple of portions of these delicate dumplings, order a soup, and settle in down to some gossip with the friend who is lunching with me.

Rajnish and Romil, the young owners stroll up, and tell us that the dim sum chef is from The Oberoi— where, Taipan was the first to introduce the dim sum trolley lunch to Delhi many years ago. At Sidewok too, there are plans to do the same. Have dim sum brunches, come February, where trolleys will be wheeled in and you could make unlimited selections for a fixed price.

Today, I have ordered half portions each of prawn hargau—my favourite kind, one with an asparagus and seafood filling, the chicken kothe that are house specialities as well as the vegetarian pok choy and rice flour dumplings. Vegetarians, I always feel, get a really raw deal at most standalone restaurants doing a dim sum menu. Because, an average place will just stuff these with tasteless cabbage.

Happily, at Sidewok, though vegetarian choices are fewer, the dim sums themselves show innovation and are superb. I prefer the seafood-asparagus dumpling to the hargau and really love the kothe in particular. The Soto Ayam soup that I have ordered also turns out to be a winner. This is a Malaysian chicken clear soup—refreshing with two wedges of lemon and plenty of veggies to make it wholesome. As a meal, this one rates highly. A bird’s eye view of CP (and its traffic, from which one is comfortably away), makes it even more special.

Anoothi’s Rating: 4 on 5

Address: P-21/90, Outer Circle Connaught Place, New delhi -110001

Phone: 01143509122, 01143509133

Operating hours: 12 noon to 1 am

Seating Capacity: 98 covers

Pricing: INR 1000 per head + taxes (with alcohol)

All Major Credit Cards Accepted

Alcohol served

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