It is lunch time and I am headed to the GK1 M block market to check out the six-month-old café, Haute Saute. I enter its dimly lit interiors with predominantly low seating, not very different from what one would expect from any mid-level, predominantly Italian eatery in the city. I am not too fond of low seating and manage to find a regular table to sit. Soon I am joined by the restaurant’s young and charming owner Ishan Khanna, a hospitality professional who gave up his cushy job at Hyatt Regency Delhi to start his own café.
I immediately ask Ishan the thought behind the name of the establishment. “”Haute” is a French word and signifies elegance, while “Sautéing” is a form of dry-heat cooking which develops complex flavors and aromas when infused with fresh herbs. Together the words describe this place”. And what kind of food? “Keeping the name in mind, you can expect French, Italian, & Mexican cuisine”, says he.
Feeling peckish, I get lured by the intriguing name of the much recommended vegetarian baked macho nacho (Rs 255). It is a plate of nachos, some veggies, jalapenos, and chopped onions baked with cheese. The nachos are fresh and crisp; however the sauce is a bit too tart and lacks the right balance. Arancini (Rs 265) is corn, feta cheese, sundried tomatoes and basil rice balls served with aioli. They are simply adorable and very different from the run-of-the-mill vegetarian options available elsewhere in the city. Lamb Minty Bites (Rs 315) are marinated goat meat cubes marinated in spices and fresh mint, and are served in a concasse sauce (a sauce made from tomatoes that have been peeled, seeded and roughly chopped). The dish would have been perfect if the mutton cubes had been cooked a little more. Right now they are a trifle chewy. Also the addition of some heat through pepper can kick this dish a few notches up.
I look at the menu in an effort to avoid the chicken-centric usual suspects that are there out of deference to the regular clientele. I do find a couple of interesting dishes. The first dish I order on Ishan’s recommendation is the grilled fish fillet (Rs 485). It is served with potato galette (where thinly sliced potatoes are tossed with clarified butter, tightly shingled in a skillet, and cooked slowly on the stovetop), wilted spinach, lemon butter and chilli sauce. It would have made a perfect main course, but is somewhat let down by the lack of texture of the basa fish served.
I have been looking forward to tasting the southern Italian classic, Parmigiana, which this restaurant has the unique distinction of serving. It is a dish made with a shallow-fried sliced brinjal filling, layered with cheese and tomato sauce, topped with ham and then baked. The Parmigiana originale (Rs 375) is amazingly good. The base was crisp from the outside and mushy from the inside compliments the toppings like a dream. This is a foodie moment I cherish. The meat lover pizza (Rs 295) has a perfectly baked thin crust, and lavish toppings of ham, mushroom, capsicum, salami, bacon and cheese. It can become a gourmet dish if the sauce has some more depth and the cheese were not to go dry. The dessert is a wonderfully addictive vanilla brulee (Rs 230) which gladdens the heart.
Haute Saute is a good option to visit if you are in the GK1 M block market and are looking for a European option for food. A visit is recommended definitely for its Parmigiana.
Ratings out of 5
Food: 3.5 | Ambiance: 3.5 | Service: 4.0 | Overall: 3.5
Meal for Two: Rs 1500 | Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes| Timing: 12 Noon to 1 AM
Address: M 68, Main Market, Greater Kailash (GK) 1, New Delhi | Phone: 011 41733366; 011 41753366