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The same old joy

The new Triveni Terrace Café on Copernicus Marg, New Delhi. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Food, to a large extent, is all about nostalgia. You mention the khichri that dadi cooked (mine, sadly, cooked nothing, but chose to maintain discipline in the fields with the help of a thick stick) or the laddus that Maa moulded (no, mine didn’t, though she did do a mean kheer with date palm jaggery), and you become all misty-eyed. Old links with a dish – or a place – change the way you look at food.

I, for instance, cannot think of keema paratha without going back into the mists of time. During those days when Delhi was a hick town, there was a place called Triveni in central Delhi where you got the most amazing keema parathas. We were young and couldn’t always afford the restaurants in Connaught Place. So we would often gather at Triveni for keema paratha, and occasionally a dish called tasty toast -– cheese-filled grilled sandwiches.

Triveni near Mandi House was also a hotspot for cultural and political discussions. Would-be actors from the National School of Drama would assemble there and discuss Shombhu Mitra, and fiery political activists would sit over cups of steaming tea and plans for a revolution.

But all good things come to an end. The restaurant at Triveni shut down for a while and later lost its sheen. Political discussions were not encouraged, so the political activists and the wannabe-actors found other watering holes.

But some good things that end get revived, too. The Triveni café, I am happy to say, has returned with a bang. Now called the Triveni Tea Terrace (mob: 9971566904), it’s run by the same people who are behind Lota Café, which is arguably the most interesting restaurant to have opened up in Delhi in recent times. The café is managed by a young, Cordon Bleu-trained chef called Udit Maheshwari, who is the chef-cum-overall-man-in-charge.

We went there for lunch (12-3.30pm) – and asked for kadhi pakora (Rs.65), paneer bhurji (Rs.100), keema muttar (Rs.130), three types of parathas (methi and mirch – Rs.45 each – and paneer – Rs.55). The parathas – cut into four wedges each – were excellent.

I liked the keema a lot, though it was chopped too fine. The pakoris were wonderfully light and soft, and the kadhi was mildly spiced, which is how I like it. Paneer is not something that moves me, so I wasn’t greatly moved by the bhurji. The portions are a bit small, but then the rates are very reasonable. Overall, the meal was most satisfying.

Triveni is a great place for snacks, too. Pakoras and tikkis are for Rs.55. I was very happy to see that they’ve kept tasty toast on the menu (vegetable: Rs.55, cheese: Rs.70). They have poha and upma, too (Rs.90) and the dish that I always eat at Lota – palak patta chaat (Rs.100). There’s even a bun shammi kabab (Rs.100). Tea is for Rs.18 or 20, and coffee for Rs.60.

I am really happy about the new café. Triveni, to so many of us, is pure nostalgia. A brand new colourful café with good food – new dishes with just a few of the old favourites – is just what is needed to give the boring sepia tints of memory a hearty kick you know where.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 4:38:55 AM |

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