A simmering summer Sunday afternoon and a family lunch outing in the works. After exploring, re-exploring our options, we decided to make that long-overdue pop in at Diggin Cafe at Santushi Complex in Chankyapuri. The place had been on our list for a long time but kept getting pushed back because we like our weekend spirited and the place has a no-alcohol menu. Since this was a lunch outing, Diggin Cafe seemed like the perfect fit. And boy, it did live up to our expectations and how!
A spacious cafe with brick-walled interiors and large French windows, done up with potted plants, chinaware, books and quirky little decor pieces, all neatly arranged in large wooden racks, Diggin Cafe has an unmistakable old-school European charm to it. The seating, both indoors and outside, is casual, done up with mixed and matched minimalistic furniture. Despite the sun beating down in all its fury, we could feel awash with a sense of calm as we walked through the doors. The abundance of soothing white in the interiors and warm, friendly smiles of the staff put you at ease almost instantly.
The place was swarming with diners but we managed to get our party of eight a spacious table right in the middle of the restaurant without any wait.
At the Diggin Cafe, they take promptness of service seriously. This could perhaps be due to the continuous influx of customers. Keeping the tables moving is more of a necessity than a choice for these guys. So, the menu arrived even before we had settled in at our table and we wasted no time in studying it diligently from cover to cover before we all zeroed-in on our order – Smoked Chicken Risotto, Chicken and Jalapeno Pizza, All Pork Sandwich, Fish and Chips, Lamb Chops with Brandy Sauce.
I was a little apprehensive about risotto until our order came in because there is always a risk of it turning out too chalky or gluggy rather than being cooked to perfection. My fears seemed unfounded as I dug into the spoonful of this absolutely decadent risotto preparation. Not only was the risotto cooked to perfection, but the tangy tomato sauce was also brimming over with flavours and the chicken chunks were nicely soft and moist.
If the risotto set in the tone for flavour-packed lunch, the rest of the dishes only escalated several notches. The Chicken and Jalapeno Pizza with smoked grilled chicken and jalapenos tucked under a thick layer of mozzarella cheese and seasoned with Arugula leaves was an absolute treat to the taste buds. I particularly loved the thin crust base which when juxtaposed with the gooey mozzarella and smoked chicken chunks made for a textural ride.
There weren’t many pork-eaters in our lunch party, so I was left to polish off my All Pork Sandwich all by myself, which I was secretly glad for. With ham, bacon and pork sausages packed between crisp toasts, this sandwich was the perfect summation of simple joys of life. The beetroot-based special dressing was a great addition to this dish, and that subtle hint of sweetness went perfectly well with the rich pork flavours.
The Fish and Chips was pretty much in line with the typical preparation of this classic dish, served with a side of mayonnaise and fries. There was nothing quite out of the ordinary about this dish but I couldn’t help marvel on how they had managed to get the outside batter perfectly crisp and golden while the fish inside was moist to a point that it just melted in your mouth.
The Lamb Chops with Brandy Sauce was hands-down the grandest part of our order, both in terms of presentation and flavours. The lamb chops were cooked to perfection – soft and moist – and seasoned with just the right about of spices and herbs. For me, the highlight was the curry-like brandy sauce on the side that added absolutely fresh flavours to this dish, quite unlike the taste you associate with lamb chops but in a good way.
With all that food in your systems, we had all had more than our fill. But hey, eating out doesn’t quite feel complete unless you round it off with a good dessert. So, we decided to split a slice of cheesecake between six of us and the Oreo Brownie Cheesecake turned out every bit worth the extra calories we stuffed ourselves with.
Verdict on Diggin Cafe
Diggin Cafe certainly outdid my expectations. If you appreciate good continental food, this place must definitely feature on your list. Big thumbs up to the courteous, polite staff who were very patient in dealing with our toddler in tow, which is quite a rarity to experience. Parents who frequent restaurant with young children and find themselves at the receiving end of condescension from the staff will appreciate where I’m coming from on this.
The versatility of the menu and how they managed to get every dish on our order, which was as diverse as they come, done to perfection speaks volumes about the culinary chops of the people running the kitchen at the Diggin Cafe. The only thing the place was lacking was a restroom. Even though the one in Santushti Complex is accessible to patrons, it is just nicer not having to walk out all the way to the other end of the building to use the facilities. Other than this small oversight, there isn’t one thing I could fault this place with.
Whether you are looking for the best restaurants in Delhi for a dinner date, a family meal or an outing with friends, Diggin Cafe must be on your radar.