Basil & Thyme (Santushti Shopping Complex, inside New Willingdon Camp, Opposite Hotel Samrat, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi)


In a nutshell:

We had a ball of a time at this 2 decades old small, beautifully made restaurant that has a Colonial feel, very trained, nice & efficient staff , a crisp menu & of course some very good food that is of the 5 star level.

basil & thyme
basil & thyme

Address & other details: Basil & Thyme. facebook page

This restaurant is located inside New Wellingdon Camp, Opposite Hotel Samrat, Chanakyapuri.

The camp entrance
The camp entrance

Yes, I mean inside. You will need to drive inside the camp, park ur car &walk into Santusti shopping complex that is run by Army Officer’s wives association.

liver pate with accompaniments
liver pate with accompaniments

Meal for 2: Rs. 1500 onwards

Cuisine type : Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian

Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.

I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster.

Short Description – in case u r in a hurry:

As mentioned in google maps, Basil & Thyme is the pet project of octogenarian Delhi celebrity chef Bhicoo Manekshaw and a favourite lunch spot for the embassy crowd. Daily specials, fresh flavours and seasonal dishes on the ever-changing menu fuse local and European traditions.

Inside the restaurant
Inside the restaurant

It is located in Wellington camp as I mentioned b4. It took us quite a while to really be sure that we had to drive into an army Campus for lunch!!!! Once we were somewhat sure, we drove in, I rolled down the glass & anxiously asked the Army Guy ‘Is this the road to Santusti’? The answer came with a welcoming smile free ‘Yes, you r in the right place. Pls drive in straight, park the car & walk back’. As we drove in, we cud see barracks on one side & multiple sports grounds on the other. The catch of this place is that it shuts at 6pm.

Almond shortbread with peaches
Almond shortbread with peaches

On each sides of the road there is a ‘Santusti Complex’ – having beautifully landscaped gardens & designer label showrooms in thatched roof shops. Basil & Thyme is at the end of one of these complexes.

As we were entering Basil & Thyme, what impressed me was the timelessness of the building. A small white building with thatched roof & full glass French Windows that allow natural lighting inside. Once inside, all was pristine white & that was interspersed with vegetation visible from the windows – looked great to me.

seating beside the french windows
seating beside the french windows

An elderly Gentleman welcomed us & showed us to our table. The serving staff took over from there – from laying a fresh table cover to getting the cutlery, menu card etc. The service guys were formal, polished, impeccable, spoke fluent English without any strong local accent and were of a rare variety – u do not see this kind any more (except in some 5 stars & 7 stars). I being me, I started a conversation with one of them & he said he was working here for 10 years. That I wud say is rare in today’;s environment where u see a guy in a restaurant for 3 years & then in a departmental store & maybe moving on to be a mobile phone store staff!!!!

Prawns with with wasabi & seaweed sauce
Prawns with with wasabi & seaweed sauce

The guest profile was very different than most restaurants in DELHI. There were a large Embassy crowd, ladies who had come to meet a bunch of friends and a decent lineup of Mercs, BMWs & Audis in the parking.

The furniture was basic wood & white in color.

Food, as I mentioned, was very good & it shows that someone pays attention to details.

Detailed Description – In case u have the Time to NJOY reading:

We started our lunch with Liver pâté. For the uninitiated, Pâté is a mixture of cooked ground meat and fat minced into a spreadable paste. Common additions include vegetables, herbs, spices, and either wine or cognac or brandy. Pâté is considered to develop its fullest flavor after a few days of chilling.

close up of liver pate
close up of liver pate

Liver pâté was smooth, intense, flavourful . We super loved it just as if us and also with super thin slices of crispy bread – Melba toast. I wud give this a 4.5/5

Post this we ordered Moussaka with lamb mince. The baked dish had Layers of zucchini & potatoes topped with cheese flavoured bechamel.

Moussaka with lamb mince
Moussaka with lamb mince

For the uninitiated, Béchamel sauce, also known as white sauce, is made with a roux of butter and flour cooked in milk. It is one of the mother sauces of French cuisine and is used in many recipes of Italian cuisine, for example lasagne. It is also used as the base for other sauces.

close up of Moussaka with lamb mince
close up of Moussaka with lamb mince

The Moussaka had loads of mutton mince which ended up overpowering the zucchini, cheese & aubergines. Hardcore carnivores’ shud ideally love it but a bit more balance of tastes and flavours cud have taken this dish to a new level. The mince was cooked in a tomato based sauce that was very optimally cooked and hence the usual Delhi tomatoee feel was not there. I wud rate this a 4/5.

what lies beneath - a peep inside Moussaka with lamb mince
what lies beneath – a peep inside Moussaka with lamb mince

Post that we had Prawns with with wasabi & seaweed sauce. The Prawns were super juicy, very soft , bursting out with flavours, & had a hint of wasabi and seaweed minced. The buttery sauce was do good that we wiped it off with bread & finished it as if it never existed.

Prawns with with wasabi & seaweed sauce
Prawns with with wasabi & seaweed sauce

The beans were Perfectly done – crunchy and optimally salted. The carrots were just right as well. Loved dipping the carrots in sauce and eating. I wud give this a 4.75/5.

We also found this quite interesting – Italian roast chicken with stuffing of spinach red bell peppers mozzarella and sun dried potatoes. However, we had no more space left. Look forward to trying that next time.

For dessert we had Almond shortbread with peaches So simple yet so good. Crunchy but crumbling biscotti base, topped with cream and canned peach – Good canned peach that tastes almost as good as real. Sweetness and tart of the peach was balanced. Loved it. I wud give this a 4.5/5

Almond shortbread with peaches
Almond shortbread with peaches

We washed down all the food with some excellent light & refreshing ice tea that had mint infused in it. I wud rate that 4/5.

lemon ice tea
lemon ice tea

Rating of food at Basil & Thyme averages out to 4.4/5

I wud love to get back to this place.

Ideal for a date / catching up with friends after long /having a lunch catch up etc with some good food to accompany a great conversation.

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6 comments

  1. NIce discovery Yummraj. Had no idea this place existed in an army camp and that it would be open to outsiders. from the look of things place seems very inviting for quiet sunday brunch…

  2. the liver pate’ is chicken liver and butter , just recounting this detail because the lady who runs/owns this place sat with me and a friend and gave us funfilled details of her menu and asked us not to overdo the pate as we wont be ableto eat any of the rest of the food . We complied and did enjoy a grilled trout and a shephard’s pie followed by starwberries n’ cream . yum yum . super enjoyable and the quality hasn’t changed from ’93 when i went for the 1st. time in my 1st year of college.

  3. I am from Toronto Canada and we visit the restaurant at 3 times a year. I just love their
    carrot and orange soup. Do you think they will give me the recipe – or could you give me their e-mail?

    1. Hi Devi,
      Thanks for writing in. I do not personally know these guys as that is how I review. I just walk in, eat, pay, come back & review.
      I wud suggest that u ask the elderly gentleman at the restaurant next time u r there.

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