Good food should be something you should be able to demand. That's what the brains behind Cafe Haqq Se seem to think at least and have gone to great lengths to try to ensure.
Cafe Haqq Se is located at Kamala Mills, right next door to Tilt All Day Cafe and Smaash to create a mini-foodie boulevard complete with Oye Kake, SkyView Cafe and The Roll Company all close by for company.
As it opened its doors to the public a few weeks ago we were invited for preview lunch.
Were we able to have fun 'Haqq Se'? Read on to find out.
With high ceilings and interesting murals and art work lining the walls its evident that there was a lot of thought put into the concept of the restaurant. We were lucky to be accompanied at lunch by the owners behind the space. Their passion to do something which brought the diners back to India, albeit with a modern touch on it was evident.
The massive mural spanning one end of the restaurant was particularly striking with it taking the viewers on a visual journey across the length and breadth of the country. Coupled with the stage which takes up a corner of the space we can imagine some truly amazing Sufi performances taking place over the next few months here. (The owners promised us as much as well)
The menu at the restaurant echoed the same modern Indian take on dishes, however as the owners explained many of the dishes are simply forgotten dishes reborn or just tweaked slightly to make them seem fresh.
Our journey began with the deconstructed Mulligatawny Soup with the boiled Dal base and the rice and whole lentils presented as a separate ball. While it was an interesting take on a classic soup it wasn't the strongest of starts with the lentil balls a bit dried out.
Hopes were still high for the appetizers to follow though and boy did they deliver.
First up was a aloo tuk which had baby potatoes tossed together with olives and their home made spice mix. Tangy and spicy at the same time, with a thankfully substantial portion to boot. Pair this with a couple of cold beers when the live bands start performing and you will be set.
Next up was the Kebabs with Mushroom Chutney, now the interesting thing about this dish wasn't the Kebabs though they were soft and carried their flavour well. It was the Mushroom Chutney which for me personally was a first and a pleasant one at that with the chutney having bags of flavour to it.
Our appetites suitable whetted we were regaled with tales about Cafe Haqq Se's birth by co-founder Pankaj Gupta. Turns out Haqq Se wasn't really supposed to open its first outlet in Mumbai, instead Delhi was the chosen city. However as the food gods wanted it, this space opened up and the Delhi place fell through. 8 Months of hard work later, Cafe Haqq Se was born.
The mains at Cafe Haqq Se are their own takes on some familiar dishes, such as the the Mirchi ka Salan which adds its own layer of crunch and texture by frying the stuffed chillis in a tempura batter to which the guests then add the Salan to. With its slighlty spicy salan the dish works as a quirky take on a classic. They really manage to mix things up be introducing a Salli Panner gravy which is their vegetarian interpretation of the Parsi classic 'Salli per Edu'. Now I've never had a Salli per Edu so I can't really comment on how authentic the flavors are when compared to the Parsi dish however I can say that the texture that the fried potato sticks bring to the gravy made it stand out. Rounding out the mains was a Mushroom and Coconut curry which was inspired by South Indian tastes. With a subtle flavor of coconut and a mild spice level this one went really well with rice.
Accompanying the gravies we had a beautifully smoky jain black dal as well as Cafe Haqq Se's innovative take on the humble naan. Now Naan's haven't really seen much of a change since I've been eating them and the chef at Cafe Haqq Se felt the same. So they decided to try to innovate on the Naan and came up with a yeast less starter inspired by sour dough which is cooked in a Pizza Master Oven. They call it the Pan'Naan and it works. Soft and pliable with enough texture to make it feel good, it's like one of those innovations on a classic you enjoy.
We rounded off our meal with some excellent desserts in the form of their Baked Gulab Jamun Pie, The Baked amaranth cheesecake as well as the Rasgulla with white chocolate mousse. My favourite out of the three was definitely the Baked Gulab Jamun. Without being too sweet it managed to really make you feel warm inside like a good dessert should.
Overall Cafe Haqq Se impressed us and we look forward to dining there for a proper review soon to see how they perform on a packed night. Plus catching a performance there will obviously be a bonus for us.
Bambaiya Veggie was invited to the restaurant to get a preview of what was on offer.