In a nutshell:
We spent a lovely evening at this innovative travel café where attention to detail is laudable, resulting in a cool chilled atmos & really enjoyable food.
Address & other details: Café Wanderlust
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Meal for 2: Rs. 300 onwards
Cuisine type : Vegetarian & Eggs
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:
This café was started about 1.5 months ago by a travel-loving couple who have travelled across the globe and have lots of stories to tell. Food is their passion as well & the lady talked to us about it. She is the one who runs this café full time as her husband has a full time job with a company of repute.
The lady’s mom is the chef in charge and we saw her overseeing all activities in the semi open kitchen. She is the one who comes up with new recipes and new food. Result – the food has a kind of ‘home-made’, ‘made with love and passion’ kind of feel. The food is clearly different from the usual commercial type.
Was all the food that we ate here, the best I have ever had? No. But it was all very fresh, nice and gave absolutely a great home-made feeling, something that money cannot always buy.
So who is this place for? Well for all those who love travel, love food, love getting together with new people, want to know more about new destinations & pretty much anyone who wud love to go to a cool hangout place to catch up with friends or even for a casual date.
Will hardcore foodies like it? Some of the food – yes, some no. e.g. hardcore foodies go anywhere to eat tasty food. Ambience, location, distance from home, parking, people sitting around in other tables, hygiene that u can see standing at a roadside shop etc actually doesn’t matter to a hardcore foodie. So if that person takes a metro ride from Gurgaon to Chandni chowk & eats at the roadside, maybe he will get tastier samosas & kachoris than at Café Wanderlust.
I, a hardcore foodie, however loved the overall concept & the ambience & even after a day of visiting this place I was feeling good about the evening spent here.
So coming to the unusual part of the café, events are organized by the café in which experts come and talk about specific tourist destinations to the guests. e.g. the upcoming one is Pushkar Mela. They plan trips as well if someone requests for the same. We were told that repeat customers in this place are quite high & that speaks a lot about the place.
The Cafe generally has massive attention to detail. Everything on the walls or the floor had a purpose & the passion with which this place has been done was showing. There was a wall full of stuff that guests write after eating at the café. The comments written in the ‘comments book’ is also carefully preserved & displayed on a section of the wall.
There were some intended weirdness as well / e.g. the spoons served with say Chokha were porcelain – clumsy, small. One had to literally suck off the Chokha from the spoon. Not usual to be in such a situation, but quite fun.
There is a hammock in the restaurant and u can actually lie in it and sip ur beverage while reading a book!!! on a lazy Sunday in Gurgaon . There r beanbags and there r casual table- chair seating as well.
When we entered, Indian Ocean music was playing in the background. That made way for spicy retro Bollywood melodies & in some time to old English songs. Must say that the person who chose the music mix has good choice & has thoughtfully arranged the songs so that there is no moment of dullness. In the background while the music wud b on, there wud b a sudden unexpected background music (sound) of deep frying…..
The menu card was the most exciting part of the deal. It was a Samsung tablet. Yes, u cud click thru all items that were classified into categories. All items had pictures attached. The Menu included Indian snacks, wraps, creeps, sandwiches, pasta, hand make thin crust pizzas, salads, tapas, Different breakfast platters, continental desserts, Indian desserts & a whole lot of non alcoholic beverages.
I just reviewed another Restaurant Neung Roi in which the menu card was on an ipad. The difference is that at Café wanderlust, we cud actually place our order on the tablet – like the way we shop online…..’Add to cart, do u want to order more, your order summary is Rs. XYZ’ etc. Once the meal is over, u can ask for the final invoice to b generated from the tab itself. Neung Roi, time for u to learn.
Portions r quite generous I must say.
Detailed Description – In case u have the Time to NJOY reading:
We started the evening with bihari delicacy Litti. It was good but short of greatness. It had a tad more sour than enjoyable. If I Benchmark litti of potbelly, this one is notches below. If I compare with what is made at the house of my friend from Bihar, this is still a few notches below.
The outer layer of litti here was not hard, not optimally crisp as well. In one or two littis the outer layer was suboptimally cooked. I give the littis 3/5.
Liked the Chokha that was served with litti. Again a bit on sour side but very good as it is. Green chutney was very good. I rate the Litti accompaniments at 4/5.
So rating for Overall dish averages out to 3.5/5.
We then ordered Banarasi kachoris – they were atta kachoris with dry ‘daanedaar’ filling that adds to the eating experience. In case u r expecting khasta kachori, let me tell u, it is not khasta. Really liked the kachoris.
This dish had Lovely aloo subzi in it – the aloo was almost perfect by all standards. Loved it. We were also served a very nice tamarind chutney with kishmish in it. The chutney tasted chatpata & perfect. Methi chutney was very good as well.
Well, is the Banarasi Kachori as good as some of the best that I have had standing on the roadside footpaths in banaras at a fraction of this price? No. but very good as it is & surely better than most of the places serving similar food that u get in Gurgaon. I give it a 4.25/5.
The next item we ordered was Egg Bhurjee roll. It was egg bhurjee packed inside a thin maida parantha. The bhurjee part was very good. The parantha part was almost good but a bit short of good.
Usually for rolls with maida paratha outside, either it has to be laccha or it has to have a high amount of ghee while mixing. That way parathas do not tend to be rubbery. The other option is to have atta parathas. The paratha here was slightly rubbery. I wud give this a 3.5/5. Scope for improvement.
All the while we sipped at Thandai – It had a strong flavor of aromatic cardamom & had kesar sprinkled atop. The thickness of the was perfect & so was the sweetness. It also had a mildly peppery aftertaste. This was served in a long kulhar that had been soaked in water for long. Loved the drink & rate it 4.5/5
We also ordered Meerut ki shikanji – It was good, somewhat potent, had very good masalas and was tasty. The drink had less fizz/strength compared with the fizz and potency of Ved Prakash nimbu pani wale of chandni chowk, I guess due to the difference of the base liquid – MNC sodas like Lehar Evervess vs. locally made banta used by Panditji’s shop. I wud give this drink 4/5.
While we were nearing the end of the meal, we were served a Sampler dessert – brownie, shortbread, chocolate biscotti. The Brownie was a bit on the dry side though the intensity of taste was good. Shortbread was awesome – flaky, crisp, slight hint of salt to this otherwise sweet dish added a lovely dimension to the taste. Very few people (other than the 5 star bakeries & L’Opera make this as good). Chocolate biscotti was really nice as well. Loved it. This was being served complimentary as it is probably a new launch. I give this sampler 4.5/5.
We ordered Red velvet cake for dessert. After a while the lady came back & said that the cakes had gone bad & that we shud order something else. Highly appreciate the honest communication. We were served Apple bread cake ‘on the house’ that tasted excellent. lumpy, old fashioned , perfect sweet-salt ratio & just too good. I give this a 4.25/5
We settled for Pancakes. The pancakes, as expected, were made in the pancake mould. The outer side was crispy, the inside was a bit sticky & soggy for one side of the pancake. The pancake on its own was pretty flat to taste – I think the ancakes cud have been a lot better had there been a little play of sweet & salt. I give the pancakes 2/5.
The honey dip was good. The chocolate dip was awesome. It was dark, intense & had a hint of salt. Beaten cream was enjoyable as well. I wud give the dips a 4/5. Rating of Pancakes with dips average out to 3/5.
Besan laddoo – there r of course marginally better besan laddoos than this that I have had in chandni chowk and parts of UP but this laddoo was way better than most besan laddoos in Gurgaon. The flavor and taste of the daal was present, sweetness was not overpowering and the laddoo had a good ‘paak’ (bind). Loved it and wud rate it 4.5/5.
The rating of food at Café wanderlust averages out to 4.1/5. To top it all, this café impressed YUMMRAJ just beyond the food. It has much more……………..So go out & Explore the wanderlust.