As Delhi refuses to get over its Italian-Mediterranean type food obsession, chef-restauranteur Ritu Dalmia's moment in the north Indian sun gets longer and longer. Cafe Diva adds to her 2-3 eateries in other similarly upmarket (by Delhi standards) surroundings and is your quintessential south Delhi via New York take on what could have been Italian-style dives in some megapolis of North America.
Now that its been around awhile, its the right time to test it again. The good part is the location but the not so good part is the food, and the positively bad part --apart from the stairs-- is the bill.
While the menu selection is fairly extensive for a cafe this size, the quality of the ingredients needs an upgrade --the haloumi cheese was rubbery the last time i visited, and before that as well--, and some of the selection looks and tastes like its been slapped together by your classic overworked chef in a hurry. While one has no problems with the range of dishes, the problem is in their implementation --and Ritu's restaurants all seem to deteriorate that wee bit in quality over six months to a year even as her loyal clientele visits again and again in the hope that things have improved.
The other thing is the price. For a city where you can have an excellent local meal for Rs 100, two dishes for a single person will cost you ten times that much --like they would in many other similarly well-publicised restaurants across the city.
So, in these stretched times, i've decided to stick to value for money local eateries --or go for a buffet at any of the five stars once in a while. They may be a little more expensive, but are a genuine spread which don't leave you with that niggling little feeling of having been shortchanged and taken in by the hype.
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