In a nutshell:
A unique weekend poolside cafe serving tasty Gluten free food, with different themed buffets almost every Saturday round the year.
Address & other details:Cafe Amaltas (DDA Swimming Pool Complex, Green Avenue, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi)
Meal for 2: Rs. 800 (usually its a buffet @Rs 400 per person for adults, lesser for kids)
Cuisine Type: Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian (keeps changing every week)
Short Description – In case u r in a hurry:
When I heard about the cafe & the line ‘gluten free food’, I had no idea what Gluten free food was all about. So resorted to our friend Wiki & in short this is what it said – A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, malts and triticale. It is used as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent, often as “dextrin”. A gluten-free diet is the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease,the related condition dermatitis herpetiformis and wheat allergy.
So it sounded like quite a good thought to me – To serve great food to anyone who thinks that living gluten free is deprivation. People who have certain ailments have certain dietary restrictions (Gluten free food in this case) & this Café aims at serving Gluten Free diets that are not only tasty but are also different every time u go there!!!! The Cafe also serves food to people with many other kind of food intolerances or allergies – after discussing & booking a table on telephone.
The Restaurant operates a little differently – they send out invitations to an evergrowing list of people for each event. They work out some theme every time and take the suggestions also, suppose someone wants to go for some specific cuisine. It’s an open house kind of thing – this gives them an opportunity for free interaction and to connect with people. They encourage food enthusiasts also, like if somebody wants to try their culinary skills, he/she can be a guest chef or a pop up chef at the Café.
Café Amaltas claims to be ‘Delhi’s First 100% Gluten-free Restaurant’. Café Amaltas tries to incorporate seasonal & natural whole foods in its menus & the themes are done as per seasons & festivities.e.g. Mango festival in summers, Bangla Ranna before Durga Pujo, Navratra food during Navratras & so on (Links to many of these very diverse but interesting menus are given at the bottom of this post).
After reading about all that, we decided to pay a visit to see how my tastebuddies have to say about the food here.
The Restaurant / eatery is a partly open air area besides DDA swimming pool. It has basic furniture & buffet food is laid on simple tables in front of the Open Kitchen. The set up is not like a restaurant & we felt like we were visiting a friend’s place. Inspite of there being no A/C, we did not feel the heat maybe coz it was evening & also maybe coz it was besides a pool.
The food was made & served piping hot – infact not everything in the buffet was laid out at once. The dishes were coming in one by one straight from the kadhai. The owner himself was present all the while in the Kitchen & I cud see him supervising the staff & also walking into the dining area at times, welcoming regulars,greeting newcomers& explaining the concept of the café. There was an unparalleled personal touch in the place without being intrusive at the same time.
Loved the food – fresh, interesting, tasty & good. I wud not say that the items in the menu were the best I have ever had in a Restaurant, but they were surely good & some were excellent. Infact it felt more like a YUMM dinner at a friend’s place than a Restaurant – the food tasted more ‘home cooked’ than the usual ‘commercial cooked’ versions.
There was a small counter at the cafe in a corner where Gluten free flour etc were being sold.
Detailed Description – In case u have the time to enjoy reading:
The theme on the evening we visited was –Coastal Cruise on NH17 @ Cafe Amaltas.
The theme of the evening – an excerpt from the invite:
The NH17 stretches from Panvel right upto Kochi, passing arguably through country’s most scenic coastal line. The cuisine along this highway also is arguably the best that you get anywhere in the country.The cuisine is dominated by coconut, Kokam, Tamarind, seafood and heady spices.
Habitually I am giving a quick review of food that I ate on this particular evening but there is no guarantee that u will get the same menu on another evening. Very few ‘hit’ menus are repeated.
We started our meal with Udipi idli & tamarind chutney.The idly was piping hot, non fluffy, very soft on the sides, a bit too tight in the center but good to taste. It had a mild fermented feel to it.
The tamarind chutney was outstanding. It was robust to taste & every time I chewed a dollop, a dense spicy coconutty juice wud fill my mouth. Loved it.
For the main course we had Veg stew. It was a little deficient in salt but tasted very good otherwise. It was mild & non spicy but had a thick gravy.
Kerala Egg roast was pretty interesting as well. A fairly thin gravy that looked pale but was pretty good to taste. Lots of thick slices of onions & chopped tomatoes accompanied the egg & the gravy. Liked it.
We had this with freshly made Appam – superb to taste & much better than expected.
The Malvani Prawn curry was again very good to taste – mid spicy I wud say. Liked it. We had this with a dosas made of Ragi – different & nice.
A beans & onion plant sautéed dish was the last thing that I thought wud impress me – turned out to be wow. It was Thoran.
We enjoyed our dinner with some very good buttermilk & Ok Ok kokam.
For dessert we had some very good shrikhand.
Overall – YUMMRAJ thinks that those Delhites who are forced to have a Gluten Free diet due to health reasons have a very good YUMM weekend dinner getaway here at Café Amaltas where unlike any other Restaurant, the menu changes every week – YUMMRAJ is impressed & awed by the versatality of the menu. Interestingly anyone else not having such a dietary restriction can also enjoy this.
A peek into the Previous Themes & Menus:
I found the mango festival to be quite interesting. So here’s how the invite & menu looked.
The invite reads – “King of Fruits”, mango is one of the most popular and best-loved fruits worldwide. Hundreds of varieties of mangoes are known to exist in the world. Mangoes have enjoyed a special significance in the cuisine & culture of South Asia. ….and the summers here are synonymous with Mangoes. ……..We invite you to join the mango madness party at Café Amaltas this Saturday. .…… Of course food as always would be 100% gluten-free, healthy & delicious. The menu for the evening is as follows.
Raw Mango Mojito
Fresh Mango Refresher
Baby potatoes in green mango & cilantro paste
Thai Tofu & Mango Salad
Alternative grain Chapattis
Palak flavoured Rice
Mango Cake from Patricia Beerli’s Swiss Gourmessa
Mango Upside Down Cake from Arati Davis’s Delhi’s gluten-free Kitchen
I have attached below some of the links of previous themes & their menus as well. Take a look & admire the sheer width of the offering & also presence of unusual dishes (By ‘unusual’ I mean – seldom commercially available).