Review | Food

Dhansoo Cafe tries to make relaxed contemporary Indian cuisine

Khubani Mishti Doi

Khubani Mishti Doi   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Dhansoo Cafe, a two-month-old space in PVR Sangam, is a fun sibling to a re-briefed Nueva by Virat Kohli

Amazing. Excellent. These are the two superlative equivalents to dhansoo, a colloquial term in Hindi. And Dhansoo Cafe, a space in the PVR Sangam cinema complex is fun enough, if it didn’t have to live up to that name. However, what confuses us when we find out more about the place is that it is a part of Nueva, originally a South American restaurant owned by Virat Kohli.

Dhansoo Cafe and Nueva are not only connected by a staircase, but the same menu as well — while it retains some South American influence, Dhansoo is being promoted as a space for new-age pan-regional Indian food, the dishes of which are are accessible and homely, yet refreshing and different.

Clearly, Nueva has changed from its original South American brief, but despite the food and pricing remaining the same between the two floors, the staff says the distinction is that Nueva, is the fine dining space, while Dhansoo, is causal. It is the decor that brings out this difference pretty starkly.

The vibe: Dhansoo has seating which is colourful without being overbearing; on a Saturday evening, the space is relaxed without feeling dead. The ambience even included, fittingly, mashups of Bollywood songs with popular American pop.

Do try: The smoky tenderness of the Hyderabadi Patthar Gosht was well complimented by the shocking fresh kachumber, spiced onion, and mint chutney. The meat itself came served on a hot tray of stone. The Japani Samosa was a rather plain, layered puff pastry served with chhole (à la chhole bhature) and one fried green chilli. The pastry itself was plain — but the muted, comforting flavour of dough was heightened by its gently flaky and not-too-crumbly texture.

In the mains, the Norwegian Salmon Pollichatu, came with an interesting interpretation of Venn Pongal (literally, butter Pongal, the savoury sibling of the popular South Indian sweet rice pudding). Pollichatu is usually a gravied curried with fish or prawns: in this dish, the chunk of salmon was doused in a tangy tomato and onion gravy, and came wrapped in a banana leaf.

Purists might turn up their noses at Dhansoo’s interpretation of the Pongal, but the buttery coconut milk sauce blended into short grain rice, and topped off with a mustard seed and curry leaf tadka worked well with the salmon.

The Kulfa, which is a delicate kulfi with falooda with sabja seeds sprinkled on top, is a delight for those who don’t like their desserts too sweet.

Their Boodi Laddoo Ice Cream, with the texture and form of the rich mithai, felt like it was almost blended with rabri-like ice cream before being balled into shape.

This dish probably captures exactly what Dhansoo does in making daily Indian food a little fun — not “contemporary” like fine-dining restaurants like Indian Accent or Rooh use it, but not also “fusion”, which can feel like forced experimentation.

Skip: The infused Piscos on the cocktail menu were okay on their own, but if you’ve had the slightly yellow to clear Chilean/Peruvian liquor in a more basic form you’d prefer its freshness; it’s a drink that that gin-lovers can easily take to, and one that mixes well with cola, to make the homely Piscola cocktail with a zesty squeeze of lemon. But weighed down with flavour, these weren’t meant for much of the already-rich food on the menu.

In the desserts section, the Khubani Mishti Doi came with a dollop of apricot jam, a disc of caramelised honey and dry fruit, one shahi tukda, and a pot of mishti doi. The doi’s texture felt more like shrikhand, and the Khubani itself, which is a sweet made of dried apricots, didn’t really taste like anything.

Go with: Anyone who isn’t picky or fussy about their food.

Space bar: 100 covers over 2,000 sq ft.

How much? ₹1,700 sans alcohol

Reach: PVR Sangam, 780, Major Somnath Marg, Sector 9, R.K. Puram; closest from the Sir M Vishveshwaraiah Moti Bagh metro station on the pink line

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 8:42:33 AM |

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