If you are a South Delhi regular then you probably know by now that other than HKV (that’s Hauz Khas Village for the uninitiated), SDA (Safdarjung Development Area) market is the place to be. One of the coolest hangout zones, thanks to its proximity to IIT Delhi, this place has hordes of restaurants trying to create a niche for themselves; and the latest addition to this list is City Socialite, owned by Chetan Giroti, Renae and Chef Sumit Tandon.
A small, cosy café, bang in the middle of the market, City Socialite — conceptualised by two best friends-turned-partners Giroti and Renae — has gradually picked up pace over the past eight months to become a hit with the young IIT crowd. The credit for this goes to their impressive menu — a clever mix of Italian, Continental, Lebanese and Indian.
On being asked about their approach to the innovative menu, Renae, who accompanied us during the meal, says, “The three of us are crazy about food and we have always loved to try out new things. Our passion for food led us to experiment in the kitchen and in this case, it worked out well for us because Sumit is a chef and he knows how to get the balance right.”
Their menu actually boasts of innovative and quirky dishes like the Makhan-eeee (pasta cooked in Indian makhani sauce) and BC Pijja (pizza with butter chicken sauce, grilled chicken, roasted bell peppers, onions and dollops of cheese). Now, we love to try out new food, but an Indianised version of Italian food is not exactly our favourite. We decided to give it a miss and, instead, ordered for some Chilly Cheese Vada Pao (a twist to the original batata vada placed between fresh buttered laadi pav; accompanied with ghaati masala) and Keema Pav (spicy mince served between fresh buttered laadi pav) for starters. What surprised us is that the pav came really close to what a typical Bombay Pav tastes like and is much better than those available at one other popular Indian snack chain franchise from Mumbai.
The credit goes to the chef who makes fresh batches of pav every day. But that’s not all, we loved the vada as well; and the ghaati masala took us back to Mumbai, to a place where Maharashtrian aunties sell their fare on roadside stalls near the beach. The only disappointment was the keema, which lacked a flavourful punch.
For the mains, we opted for the Lamb Bomber (rosemary-and-garlic-infused lamb patty on a bed of lettuce, topped with mayo and cheese) and WAATT The FISH (a crisp, fried fillet of fish with lettuce, tomato and mayo, served with cheesy mustard dip), Classic Social Pizza (olives, peppers, chicken, corn kernels and onion on a bed of tangy tomato sauce topped with Cheddar and mozzarella cheese) and Classic Grilled Fish (English mustard marinated fish grilled to perfection, served with sautéed vegetables and a potato mash). Both portions of the burgers were served with fries and coleslaw. The patties were juicy and succulent, however, the burger buns were not exactly to our liking as they were slightly dry. But for the price (Rs 170 for the lamb burger and Rs 180 for the fish burger), it was decent enough. The pizza was a dampener too, but the classic grilled fish was a beauty, so much so that it made us want to lick our plate. We highly recommend this dish to whoever’s heading to City Socialite next.
To wash all this food down, we chose a Belgium Chocolate Shake, Berry Frosty (frozen blueberry and raspberry) and Blueberry Margarita and, boy! were we impressed? Yes! For us, these drinks were the real showstoppers. The Belgium Chocolate Shake was rich and chocolaty (as it should be) and the berry drinks were as refreshing as a Summer breeze.
We ended our meal on a sweet note with Brownie Points (fresh-baked brownies loaded with chocolate sauce, topped with vanilla ice-cream and chocolate chips) and it was a delight. The brownies stood their ground as a stand-alone item on the plate as well, and we bet you can gobble down the brownies as they are, without the help of chocolate sauce or the ice-cream.
With good food, a moderately priced menu and a bright and cheery decor, City Socialite fits the bill perfectly for a good hangout joint for the youthful crowd. The only concern is the space crunch — the outdoor space has a seating capacity of eight and indoors, with two floors, can accommodate around 40 diners.
Despite its shortcomings, we would still vouch for this place. Check it out for yourself.
Address: C-15, SDA Market, Opp IIT Main Gate, Outer Ring Road, Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi – 110016
Timings: 11am – 11pm
Cost for two: Rs 600 (excluding taxes)