Cavalli Caffè describes itself as a “chic go-to location for those who enjoy a stylish and fashionable setting, acquired musical tastes and appreciate an experience defined by pleasure, relaxation and entertainment.” Roberto Cavalli, the man behind the café, is a 72 year old Italian fashion designer from the city of Florence. He is known for detailed exotic prints and for creating the sand-blasted look for jeans which are now a standard style for the majority of jean makers. The caffe is situated right next to his store at the Emporio mall, the mecca of luxury fashion.
Great attention to detail is in place when it comes to the décor of the Cavalli Caffè. It has elements borrowed from the interior design present in his homes, his boutiques and his Cavalli Clubs where the textiles and elements of décor are carefully selected in order to convey the exclusivity of the Cavalli style. Expectedly the menu is primarily Italian, though the new avatar of the menu also has some international and some kid-friendly dishes.
As we walk into the swank café, we are greeted by Kapil Sethi, the young energetic Chef of Cavalli Caffè who promises to take us through an extensive tasting session. We settle into comfortable seats and a table which I suspect (and suspect right as the dishes start coming in) can be too small for the dishes, plates and the swank cutlery.
We start our lunch with Burrata (Rs 650), a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. The name “burrata” means “buttered” in Italian. It is served baked with rucola, caramelised aubergine and a dressing. It is a most enjoyable start to the meal. Rucola salad with goat cheese, pine nuts and oranges (Rs 550) is next. The elements go rather well together and the goat cheese is top notch.
Bruchetta with chopped ham, tomatoes and herbs (Rs 550) is the only dish that strikes a false note among the starters. The tossed ham unfortunately is a bit off both in terms of taste and smell, ruining the taste of what could have been a competent dish.
The zucchini, garlic and tomato soup with balsamic (Rs 200) is another great dish, served inside a hollowed out Italian carasau bread. It is a textural luxury with crunchy chopped walnuts, onion and parsley adding to the overall experience. The experience could have been even better if the nuts used had been fresh.
Now to a popular item on the menu – their pizza. We choose pizza special (Rs 500) with a wafer thin, crispy whole wheat more like foccacia base, topped with the magic combination of garlic, chopped bacon and a perfectly soft fried egg, creating a clever counterpoint to the crispiness of the pizza. Some people may find the garlic slivers overpowering, but to my garlic loving palate, it works well. The Cavalli burger sliders (Rs 500) are prepared skillfully. The chicken slider has a crunchy and tasty panco fried chicken fillet and caramelised onions and the lamb slider has a less than spectacular lamb patty in it.
Lobster linguine in spicy tomato sauce (Rs 1400) is a dish I have been looking forward to tasting. It is a good dish but does not capture the flavours of the lobster. I would have loved having a sauce flavoured with lobster shell instead of the overpowering tomato sauce, a bit of chopped lobster meat with the rest of the sweet lobster on top as a garnish. As the dish has been served, it lacks the luxurious character that I was so expecting. The shrimp and champagne butter risotto (Rs 600) is mildly flavoured, with the emulsified champagne with herbs lending a sophisticated touch to the dish. The effect was somewhat marred by rice which is well cooked, rather than al dente.
From the newly introduced international menu, the chili caramel basa with wilted spinach and wok tossed noodles (Rs 400) has an excellent soft texture spiked with sweet hot chilli flavour and is a treat for the taste buds. Shrimp tom kha noodle soup has the right notes of the Thai herb flavours but the thick coconut cream sits heavy on the palate.
We end our tasting session with a show stopper – hot chocolate foam with rum granita (Rs 400) which is an excellent pairing of hot and cold. Liquid nitrogen is used cleverly to have an airy, heavenly chocolate foam sitting atop iced Rum. This keeps the chocolate mousse intact and, at the same time, provides an ultra smooth texture maintaining the integrity of the flavours.
By and large, Cavalli Caffè delights with its exquisite food, great plating and a plush ambience. It is recommended every time you feel the need to be pampered luxuriously. The only downside can be the frustratingly indifferent service at times, but the food does make up for it.
Ratings (Out of 5)
Food: 4.0 | Ambience: 4.5 | Service: 3.0 | Overall: 4.0
Meal for two: Rs 2500| Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Timings: 11 AM to 9:30 PM
Address: Ground Floor, DLF Emporio Mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi | Telephone: 011 46950000