Delhi’s Hot New Dining District is an All-Rounder

Delhi’s Hot New Dining District is an All-Rounder
The stylish interiors at Fio Pop, DLF Commons, Photo Credit: Prannay Pathak

Date nights, group lunches or quick bites—Commons at DLF Avenue delivers a comprehensive dining experience with its array of restaurants, cafés and bars

Prannay Pathak
April 01 , 2021
06 Min Read

Everybody who goes shopping and eating out in a metro is usually familiar with the concept of a food court—often at the top floor or the foyer, with a common dining space with shared furniture, with fast-food establishments and tacky gaming arcades for the tots, forming the periphery. A take on the more happening, original idea of the food street, food courts, it is safe to say, are clearly outmoded now. It's the age of the well-thought-out and expertly curated gourmet food district, where the act of eating is no longer just that, but a wholesome epicurean experience.

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Opened recently in a three-storey flank of DLF Avenue, Commons is a nice example of the phenomenon I talked about towards the end of the previous paragraph. A veritable buffet of dining choices for different purposes and moods and occasions, this space is all set to throw the standard for eating out in the Capital, several notches up. We were impressed with the variety and novelty on offer as we went about checking out the district—the brainchild of Pushpa Bector, Executive Director, DLF Retail, and Muckth Dograa, Centre Head, DLF Avenueand sampling the delights at a few restaurants.

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To your right as you walk into the complex, is The Big Chill Café, the upmarket restaurant and café known for its grilled fare, Italian delights and desserts. Other names that have in no time become iconic to dining in Delhi such as Chili’s, Barbeque Nation, Costa Coffee and the chai café, Chaayos, can be spotted easily.

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Fio Pop, whose previous installment one has seen earlier in the Garden of Five Senses outlet, too, makes an appearance here. The squirrel-motifed interiors convey warmth and joy, and the menu boasts fun European-style appetizers—croccante tacos, mushroom puff pillows, chicken wings—soups bursting with flavours and some fine options in bowls, burgers and pizzas with a lot of Italian-cuisine ingredients. We tried the Bang Bang Salad—an exciting mix featuring raw papaya, carrot, mesclun and toasted almonds tossed in a spiced plum and thyme dressing, with chicken franks making a special appearance.

True to its name, Fio Pop also does some juices and smoothies capable of exploding surprises on your palate. The Lean Green Machine, which has baby spinach, kale, apple and pineapple whipped together, will make you wonder why everything they told you about healthy food tasting bad was wrong. If, like me, you love everything with berries in it, Berry Berry—with raspberries, cranberries and blueberries in a base of yoghurt and honey—is a must.

Café Delhi Heights enjoys a revamped avatar on the first floor right next to Laidback Café, which has gained a cult fan following owing to its “laidback”, “easy-peasy” interpretation of comfort food from Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean.

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Commons springs up a few surprises in the bakehouse and deli department, too. Smokehouse Deli and the Korean Sibang Bakery (from Gurugram’s South Point Mall) are on the first and the ground floors, respectively. Lovers of French pastry can look forward to the opening of Café Tesu and Perch soon.

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Despite its quite uncommon selection of names, Commons doesn’t seem intimidating at all. During our visit, there were paintings on display and we were also introduced to the permanent architectural feature called The Social Steps—a central feature designed for visitors to sit and mingle (hopefully with greater freedom in the foreseeable future). Haldiram’s, which appeals to the larger section of diners in Delhi NCR, is also expected to open soon.

This inventive F&B also gets our recommendation for bringing together names that offer eclectic and authentic culinary delights from Asia and south India. Mahabelly is known for its Kerala fare but you’ll be surprised by the range of south Indian cuisines on offer at Savya Rasa. We also checked out Ping’s Café Orient (impressive ambience and street-style fare), trying the Philadelphia Cream Cheese dim sums and digging into the Korean Chicken Bao with a vengeance—a whole civil war of flavours, textures and teeny hits in every bite. 

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