Cafe Lota is a quaint artsy earthy restaurant nestled in the Craft museum in Pragati Maidan. It is a cafe that offers a contemporary take on regional Indian dishes.
Being one of the few places in Delhi which is open from 8 AM, I decided to try the breakfast menu on a Sunday morning.
It is conveniently located in the premises of the National Crafts Museum at Pragati Maidan.
Address: Bhairon Marg, New Delhi.
Vehicles can be parked in the ample Pragati maidan parking across the road, though a paid valet parking is available at the entry. It is a short 5-minutes walk from the Pragati Maidan metro station.
8 AM to 8:30 PM
Perfect in its rustic ambiance, in sync with its location in the crafts museum complex, I just fell in love with the place. It is situated just outside the museum souvenir shop, bearing trinkets and crafts from all over the country.
Its setting is amazing, with a tree and sitting place around it, chatai on the walls, cement benches, wicker chairs to lend a rustic feel, especially with a mud and mirror Gujarati fresco on one wall, a thatched roof...and yet classy service. The servers are well informed about every dish and they are courteous and quick. In fact, they very sweetly took my lassi back when within 3 minutes of ordering it, I changed my mind and wanted a chai instead (it was on the table within 2minutes, btw!). The All India Radio broadcasts of classical music add to the atmosphere and give a relaxed laid back, good old times feeling.
I just loved the breakfast menu! There were so many options that seemed amazingly healthy and I was delighted with their twist on several Indian regional dishes, paired with the innovative use of grains like millets, red rice and quinoa. The menu boasts of interesting items at breakfast itself( they have an exclusive breakfast menu in the mornings) ranging from ragi pancakes, Bombay egg Bhurjee, mushroom uttapams and sabudana popcorn with drinks like Keshri lassi, masala chaas ,roohafza milkshake and cold Kaapi , masala chai and single estate artisanal coffees, herbal teas and single estate specialty teas.- The breakfast menu itself is quite an exhaustive read!
The cold Kaapi was delicious, iced blended milk with sugar made with South Indian filter coffee.
I tried the railway masala omelet sandwich — 2 buns made of delicious Ladakhi bread with cheese and masala omelet, cut in halves, served with fresh green chutney. I was surprised that a simple egg bread combo could be so tasty!
The mushroom and Kalari cheese uttapam was my next selection. I was smitten by the name and the national integration in the dish itself , and the food lived up to my expectations. Three little uttapams, which are griddle baked flatbreads made of rice flour, essentially a South Indian dish, topped with Kalari cheese, which is a rustic cheese from Kashmir, and mushrooms to lend a contemporary twist.Wow! Absolutely blown away! What an idea, to amalgamate food from all over our country.
I just loved the keema paranthas, little squares of crisp whole wheat flatbread, stuffed with spicy minced goat meat. The aroma and flavor of the freshly roasted and pound spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamoms really lifted the dish , and it was not too spicy , so definitely a recommended dish for the international traveler!
The icing on the breakfast were the not-to-be-missed Ragi pancakes. A stack of dark brown 'healthy looking' absolutely melt-in-the-mouth small(2 to 2-and-a-half- inch) pancakes made of Ragi flour with maple syrup and honey in between the layers, topped with gooey sliced banana and amaranth to finish with a flourish! Finally, I broke the myth that something delicious can't be healthy.
The masala chai was served in the roadside dhaba/railway station small glass and was a fitting finale to the breakfast.
I loved the ambiance (and quite an eclectic crowd in the morning itself, with a bunch of bikers, grandparents out for a Sunday breakfast with the 'bachchas,' some firangi girls out to discover India and, yours truly, with husband after a morning swim!), the fusion of food from various corners of the country, the modern twist, the healthy angle, experimenting with different grains. I think it's really laudable to run this rustic unassuming idea of a place.
Would I go back again? Surely, definitely and soon. I can't wait to try their lunch menu!
The pricing is very reasonable at ₹185 for any of the breakfast dishes, ₹85 for the cold beverages, ₹50 for the hot beverages & ₹120 for the specialty teas and coffees.Published On: Monday, October 19th, 2015