Be brave to bear it all

Last Updated 22 May 2013, 14:00 IST

In South Delhi’s Kailash Colony market where most eateries find it difficult to survive –due to some unknown reason, the café cum lounge Halfway House has come up after renovation and stands firm even after a year. What keeps it going is its extensive bar menu which includes some refreshing mocktails, shakes and even hot teas.

For a change, the entry to the eatery on first floor is from the back lane and exit from the front. May be that is why it is called Halfway House! Inside the restaurant, the ambience is similar to any other lounge, in fact a point below the rest. The chairs are not too comfortable and not at all meant for a laid-back meal - as should be the case in a lounge. 

The menu is elaborate. Starting from drinks to dessert, there are sufficient dishes to appeal to your taste buds but not all are available, so be prepared to be disappointed. The drinks certainly lift your spirits. Be it Shirley Temple, Dusky Sunset or Pistachio thick shake, all are soothing in Delhi’s heat. While Dusky Sunset has guava juice with lime, coriander and a hint of green chillies, Pistachio thick shake is rich with pistachio nuts, almonds, soya milk, a rind of lemon and a vanilla scoop. But the best is Shirley Temple which was not like any other mango drink. Though it reminded one of a diluted Frooti but had a icy-watery base with strawberry crush at the bottom and lemonade on top. A must try!

The appetisers supplement the drinks but are not as appreciable. The Garlic Bread with Cheese, Onion and Chillies tastes like home-cooked pizza with a hint of cheese and capsicum dominating the flavour. It lacks seasoning unlike Mushroom Bruschetta. The latter has a creamy flavour of mushrooms which are well-sauted in garlic butter before white wine, white sauce, parmesan cheese are added and it is placed carefully on the Italian bread.

The salad then ruins the mood what with the pasta served virtually raw and feta cheese tasting stale in Pasta Salad with Char Grilled Peppers and Pesto! There was a distinct taste of cornflour in this dish, as well as in Fusilli with Broccoli. 

Fusilli with Broccoli dish has red chillies and olives cooked in white wine with a hint of lemon. However, the taste of half-cooked fusilli makes the dish unpalatable. Chef Ravi Kant offers a weak explanation, “I tried to make it the authentic Italian way.” But one wonders if Italians leave the Broccoli half-cooked in their dishes.

To give where credit is due, the Philly Chicken Cheese Burger tasted good and so did the Chicken Satay. Though the former had an elongated bun as in a hotdog, its chicken patty with barbeque sauce balanced the flavours and that gets a thumbs up from Metrolife. Even Chicken Satay was a delight with the succulent chicken undercut grilled appropriately post Thai marination and served with peanut dip in sesame oil, which enhanced the taste of the dish.  

The Pizza Spinach ordered with high hopes of a healthy pizza had sauted spinach in garlic and salt, which reduced the taste of mozzarella and garlic. Thus, Vegetable Ratatouille came to rescue with the vegetables cooked well in exquisite gravy but served with semi-cooked rice. 

While the Grilled fish was average, its accompaniment - Garlic Chilli Butter Sauce tasted good even with potato wedges. Again, Baked Nachos with Veggies failed to fulfil their promise as they were fried not baked! Since the sundaes were unavailable, we satiated ourselves with bland Blueberry Muffin and smooth Chocolate Mousse. 

(Published 22 May 2013, 14:00 IST)

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