The name tau café and lassi bar evokes a strong imagery in the mind. I am expecting to see heavily mustached pahalwans sitting on a charpoy in a dhaba setting, enjoying their lassi and parathas. This seems to appeal to the latent pahalwan in me.
As I enter the premises at Ansal Plaza in Palam Vihar, I am not disappointed. Though the pahalwans and charpoys are missing, the place has a well worn out look. The café is almost full with young couples and extended families accompanied by dadi ma, parents and children enjoy their food. The furniture is a mish mash of everything – evidently bought from various flea markets. And despite the place being full, there is a silence here that only enjoying good food can bring.
I settle into a small table, and look at the menu. Since everything on the menu looks exciting I take some time in ordering what I suspect will be a lot of food. The service is quick with the owner Sunil Chawla quietly supervising all orders. Being true to my adopted home-state, I start with an adha (half) sized portion of Haryanvi chhachh (adha Rs 26; khamba Rs 49), which delights in its simplicity. The Madrasi tadka chhachh (adha Rs 31) is exciting, but I prefer the rustic charm of the first drink.
Dishes continue to arrive at regular frequency. Mercifully the portions are small so I am able to enjoy a lot of variety. The Punjabi alu pyaaz paratha (Rs 53) is served with a dollop of butter on top and curds on the side. The paratha is well made, though I would have liked more potato filling inside. The paneer methi paratha (Rs 71) has fresh paneer and kasoori methi filling. It is also nice but I miss the taste of fresh methi in it. The Punjabi keema paratha (Rs 106) is a delight, and goes well with beautifully cooked dish of bhuna keema (Rs 115). The rajma rassmissa (Rs 53) is insipid and the mutton pepper fry (Rs 132) would have been a great dish if the mutton had not been so tough.
Sunil gets some respite from the thronging diners and joins me on the table. I ask him what made him start this venture. “When I shifted to Palam Vihar, I hankered for simple home cooked food. So I decided to start a small café at an accessible location to serve to people like me”. Obviously there are many who long for the delights of comforting ma-ka-khana, because in its three years of operation the size of the place has doubled, and even that does not seem to be enough.
There are more delights in store for me. The day’s special malpua (Rs 53) is again a treat. Unfettered by the addition of rabri, the dish is both soft and crisp, drenched as it is in a pool of chashni that is not too sweet. I end the meal with kadak chai (Rs 22) which ably completes the experience.
Tau café and lassi bar delights with its food and its prices. It is the perfect place to bring the whole family for a satisfying and enjoyable meal. I hope inspired by its success, more eateries look at serving food that takes us back to our roots.
Ratings out of 5
Food: 3.5 | Ambiance: 3.0 | Service: 4.0 | Overall: 3.5
Meal for Two: Rs400| Alcohol: No| Credit Card: No| Timing: 11 AM to 10:30 PM
Address: Tau’s cafe & lassi bar, Shop No 13, Ground Floor, Box Office, Ansal Plaza, Palam Vihar, Gurgaon | Phone: 0124-4106908