Ludus in Latin means a school. Café Ludus, which has opened at the MGF Metropolitan mall, Saket tries to create an informal school setting as its interiors. Executive Chef Amitabh Kumar, a veteran chef having worked in many high profile eateries, is with me to take me through his eclectic Mediterranean menu. The 96-seater restaurant has interiors loosely resembling an informal school and also has a nice chunky wooden outdoor seating. This is where I sit with Amitabh as the goodies start rolling in.
I start with a bang with Firenze (Rs 225), a chicken fennel soup with a broth made from carrots, onions, leeks, celery and chicken stock. Bursting with flavours, now this is a great idea for a soup in this sunny yet chilly weather. The vegetarian mysteriously named four-seasons platter (Rs 450) has falafel, Jalapeño fritters, sambusek (Greek cheese samosas), hummus, babaghanoush. The sambusek is nice, and the hummus is enticing with its smoky aftertaste, but the rest of it is ordinary.
It is windy outside, and we decide to shift into the cosy warmth of the interior seating. Next up for tasting are some non-vegetarian starters. The chicken souvlaki (Rs 350) is competently executed but the lamb kibbeh (Rs 350) disappoints due to its dry, hard texture. I am delighted by the drinks – the skinny pina colada (Rs 195) is a light refreshing combination of coconut water and fresh pineapple juice, a refreshing change to the synthetic, oversweet drinks served under the mocktails by the other restaurants. Similarly the watermelon charger (Rs 195) is rather pleasing.
The prosciutto pizza (Rs 450) showcases Café Ludus’s cooking prowess, when it comes to pizzas. Here is a perfect base, sauce, and toppings, all cooked to perfection. This is a dish I would want to come back to. Next are the all-American staple, burgers. The Spartacus Burger (Rs 425) has a great, juicy rosemary lamb patty, but the chicken patty in the berryllus burger (Rs 425) is far too dry to enjoy.
From their mains menu, I try the braised lamb (Rs 595) which has a deliciously cooked goat shank with a rather unnecessary rosemary risotto made like a sticky rice cake, which takes away from the dish. This dish would have been great with some polenta or even some sautéed vegetables. For the desserts, I try the pleasant hazelnut flan (Rs 195), and finish the meal with a satisfying espresso (Rs 195).
It is truly admirable that the interiors, the service and the food at Café Ludus have reached such levels in their first week of operation. I am sure that this restaurant will do well here.
Rating out of 5
Food: 3.5 | Ambience: 4.5 | Service: 4.0 | Overall: 4.0
Meal for two: Rs. 1800| Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Timings: 12.00 noon -1:00 am
Address: Cafe Ladus, 24 & 25, 2nd Floor, MGF Metropolitian Mall, Saket, New Delhi | Telephone: 99995-70434