Saturday, Nov 01, 2014

Head to the Hills

The restaurant’s interior is like the dream mountain cabin. The restaurant’s interior is like the dream mountain cabin.
Written by Shantanu David | Posted: April 6, 2014 4:14 am

The newly opened Sakley’s, The Mountain Cafe is like the mountain cabin of your dreams. It also packs food with each bite worth a yode.

In his famous short story, Namgay Doola, Kipling wrote, “The true smell of the Himalayas, if once it creeps into the blood of a man, that man will at the last, forgetting all else, return to the hills to die.” Anyone who has travelled in the mountains can relate to this sentiment: wind-weathered milestones on the shoulders of long winding roads, the peppery smell and crackling sound of pine cones, needles crushed underfoot, and that spiced mountain air which so whets the appetite, leaving an indelible impression on the mind. Sakley’s, The Mountain Cafe manages to encapsulate all these sensations into its second-floor environ. Not too bad for a restaurant located in the bustling, urban heart of Greater Kailash.

The original Sakley’s started as a hillside cafe in Nainital by Swiss chef Sakley Salecheli in 1944, following which it has expanded its footprint to London and Gurgaon. Recently, it decided to open its doors to Delhi. The menu reads like a Bond novel (we mean good ol’ Rusty, not the chap who shoots villains over a martini) with dishes such as the Deodar Woods White Sauce Pasta, the Wynberg Apple and Walnut Salad and the Ivy Bank Tomato Ginger Soup. Apart from a large Continental offering , there are also all-day breakfasts and a variety of drinks.

The restaurant’s interior is like the mountain cabin of your dreams: an open sun-lit space with plain concrete floor ingrained with pine cones, brick walls, log tables, vintage mismatched chairs, a fire-place, and a carved wooden moose-head. Best of all, scattered all over the place are books, with titles ranging from Jim Corbett to Bapsi Sidhwa, and of course a whole lot of Kiplings’ and Bonds’. The music is the retro soundtrack of a long road-trip: The Beatles, Abba and The Mamas and The Papas.

Must be that mountain air, but we decide to dive straight into the mains, which are as large as a mountain side: the Wild Tulip Pork and Mountain Sage Sizzler with Onion and Rosemary Sauce and the Antler’s Nest Lamb Burger minced in Worcestershire Sauce. The sizzler is like that hot meal at the end of a hike: a big rib of pork, the meat cooked to a decidedly deciduous tenderness, served on a sizzler-platter and accompanied by steamed rice, seasonal veggies and potato wedges. The burger’s even better with a yielding, juicy lamb patty in a sesame-capped bun. It’s stuffed with sweet pickled gherkins and garden fresh tomato slices, with each bite worth a yodel. The wedges accompanying both the dishes are as fat and celebratory as the happiest baby and far more palatable. But it’s the dessert that takes the cake. It could be continued…

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