Just like in any terminal of a modern airport, it takes a while to amble down different floors of Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj to reach Café Terminus 1 located on the second. Done up in warm tones of wood and incandescent lighting with airport themed memorabilia, the restaurant is reassuring in its décor and ambience. Quirky messages on message boards add a fun element and retro music sets the mood. In keeping with the airport theme where taste buds from different destinations come seeking a respite from the insipid in-flight offerings, Café Terminus 1 seeks to offer a little bit of something to suit most palates, albeit with a twist.
Paya Rasam with Cheese stuffed meatballs, dehydrated apricots, oyster mushrooms and curry leaves, unlike the traditional gelatinous one, was reminiscent of French Onion soup, browned onions giving the light broth a tasty lift while toasted pista nuts, dried apricots, oyster mushrooms added distinct flavours. The deep fried meatball would have gelled better with the soup if it were served shredded instead of whole, or kept soaked in the broth before being served. Just a thought.
Sous vide BBQ Lasuni Chicken Tikka with garden greens, channa jor garam and crackery papadums was simply superb. Fresh crispy salad vegetables with a tasty dressing and crunchy channa jor thrown over and topped with mouth-watering garlic flavoured chicken tikka wrapped in masala papad. I loved it. Gunpowder and Ghee roasted Prawns with Milagaipodi dust, aampapad and two olives-capers chutney was a mouthful of fiery treats, the heat quenched by the thoughtfully served curd sphere. The tapenade that accompanied it made of an eclectic mix of green and black olives, mint, capers and garlic added an interesting fusion factor to the crustacean.
Tawa Machi, braised with south Indian coastal spices was fabulous especially when had dipped in a mango-based chutney. Pork Belly Tawa fry pleasantly surprised me. With unlikely southern spices flavouring the meat, the fried thinly sliced meat came with a sweet chilli sauce spiked with dehydrated cucumber. It’s one of the best dishes that were served that evening. The sauces and chutneys rule at Café Terminus 1.
The menu board proudly announced that the crowd favourite ISBT Maggi Makhani was back. The popular noodle laced with a rich, aromatic butter based sauce was hot and spicy, perfect for the winter blues.
I tried the LIIT (Long Island Iced Tea). Even though it was pretty potent, but still very well balanced. Just 1 drink can be give a high to not so regular patrons.
It did not have to strut in on stilettoes to take your breath away but the attractively long legged Sous Vide Mutton Nalli Gulmarg Rogan Josh was splendid with buttered naan topped with onion and coriander. Dal Makhni served with pan-fried vegetable fritters was made more interesting with deep-fried, boiled chickpeas. Crispy on the first bite, soft thereon, the peas added a textural diversity to the vegetarian dish.
The personal let down was the Patrani Machi with Baby Turmeric, Teen Phoran, mustard and coriander juice– fish steamed, wrapped in banana leaf. The steamed fish by itself was unassuming but the green sauce, chilly and sundried tomatoes added nothing to enhance its flavours or taste. A tangy sauce, citrus based or sweet-tamarind based may have done the needful but it is best left to the chef to tackle its insipidness.
The Karachi Halwa Brownie Cake scored brownie points with its chewy, gummy topping giving way to the traditional brownie underneath. Kurchan Mille Feuille was a lip-smacking delight, the restaurant’s well deserving specialty. The reduced milk sweetmeat was a fitting finale to the generously portioned, tasty meal.
Or so I thought until the chef came with the dessert of the day- An attempt at artful seduction, a globe of chocolate with freeze dried caramel cream base, into which were thrown nuts, crushed sweet peanut cakes, cream, chocolate, apricot sauce, all of them bathed with smoky, icy liquid nitrogen ….all this fanfare only to have it crash against the plate and have the remnants scooped into eager mouths. Splendid. A warning though- it is meant for the really sweet-toothed and for a group of patrons and not for individuals or a couple.
Café Terminus 1 is a cool place to have a meal at with an exhaustive menu catering to both conservative and adventurous palates. The portions are huge so sharing is the norm. The open kitchen and tv screen displaying the happenings in the kitchen do much to reassure the patrons of the hygiene and skills of the kitchen staff. Most of all, food is the attraction here- sumptuous, tasty and just a bit different so that it does not jar on your senses. For a restaurant located in a mall, Café Terminus 1 has set the bar high with its accent on progressive world cuisine.
The only thing retro about it was the music. And I loved even that.
Ratings (Out of 5)
Food: 4.5 | Service: 4.5 | Ambience: 4.5 | Overall: 4.5
Category: casual dining/progressive cuisine
Address Café Terminus 1, Shop no.238, II Floor, Ambience Mall, Nelson Mandela Road,
VasantKunj, New Delhi | Tel: 011- 40870755
Timings: Restaurant: 11.00 am – 12.00 am | Meal for two without alcohol: Rs2000 | Credit Card: Yes | Wheel Chair Friendly: Yes | Alcohol: Yes
Disclosure: This review was done on the invitation of the restaurant. Due diligence has been observed to keep the review as objective as possible. However readers’ discretion is advised.