The way to any place in south Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village is usually through a dark, smelly lane or through a dark, smelly corridor that leads to dark, smelly stairs. You get the idea. Once you reach the desired destination, it feels nice enough, but the good thing about Hauz Khas Social is that this new ‘connecting’ café has made getting there a bit more cheerful. The walls are now covered with street art, which gives one something to look at other than mysterious fluids oozing out of cracks.
Hauz Khas Social, with hash tags on unfinished brick walls, claims that its furniture is 100 per cent recycled, something that makes me feel righteous just by sitting on them! The basic notion behind this place is that it helps creative souls by providing them a platform for ‘expressing their creativity’ and for offline networking – not a bad idea at all, as Hauz Khas Village is a second home to many freelancers, designers and artists. Hauz Khas Social also has boardrooms, conference facilities, stationery items and printers and free Wi-Fi for all. That, unfortunately, didn’t work quite well when I tried it. My short struggle with the Wi-Fi ended soon and I decided to give my eyes better things to do than stare at my phone screen… Indeed, why look at cell phone wallpapers when the high chairs at the café offer stunning views of the Hauz Khas lake?
The tabloid-shaped menu, cutlery and tissue napkins (more like toilet rolls) were already placed on every table, a spot-on thing as you don’t need to call the server for everything. Nothing more unappetising than having to wave madly to get someone’s attention and then wait for a piece of steel.
With innovative and quirky cocktails on the menu, I decided to go for the deconstructed Moscow mule, a smoked vodka-based drink with ginger ale and a pipette with bitters, served in a mule mug. The drink seemed just right on a hot evening after a tiring day at work. The watermelon Vs feta salad – yes, that’s how they write it – with arugula leaves and balsamic reduction came in a cookie jar! Happy to note that Social had not skimped on the cheese, which made the salad far superior to its counterparts in other Hauz Khas cafés. Now to soak up all that fine spirit, for appetisers I ordered its DIY kheema bruschetta, which was a huge portion of sliced baguette served with cold salad, kheema and also a brush to oil your piece of bruschetta slice. This item has already got its own little fan following among Hauz Khas village regulars. The kheema was cooked to perfection with just the right amount of spiciness. Not too oily and not too heavy.
The next to arrive on the table was the Achmeds mezze platter. It had something peculiar called ‘awesomosas’. Awesomosas are Social’s signature piping hot little triangular samosas with a filling of white sauce and mushrooms. Sadly, it was not a samosa day for my very moody taste buds. To refresh the palate, I downed an Aacharoska, a pickle-flavoured caprioska in a ceramic jar. Absolutely recommended for those who love tangy drinks.
Moving on to the main course, I ordered the mutton baida roti, a typical Mumbai omelette wrapped in a roti and cut in cubes, served with green apple chutney. I could taste the rich filling of mutton that just melted in my mouth. All the while, I was wondering why the food goddess in me was not doing sommersaults… I realised I would be doing backflips if they hadn’t cut it. I prefer it natural, though some like it cut. If you dare take the chilli challenge, try the death wings, which are just chicken wings by another name but extremely – and we mean extremely – hot. Not so brave? Go for the less spicy version of the wings, called hot Tennessee wings, served with a portion of onions rings.
To recover from the spiciness, I picked the Ramesh & Suresh for dessert. It’s basically deep-fried 5-star bars served with vanilla ice cream. The gooeyness of the chocolate really went well with the ice cream.
Hauz Khas Social is also working on an app that will let you order and review food, check out the restaurant’s playlist and also check on what the other people in the café are up to. Once the day ends, this workspace in Hauz Khas shifts gears to become a lively bar – even on a Wednesday, the crowds poured in after 6pm. Hauz Khas Social doesn’t take reservations. So, if you’re planning to visit this café on a weekend, make sure you arrive in time to grab the right spot.
Where: Hauz Khas Social, 9A & 12, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi; Tel: 07838652814
Timings: 9am to 1am
Cost for two: Rs 1,500