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 outings 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 has an unmistakable old-school European feel to it. The seating, both indoors and outside, is casual, with a mix of 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.
At the Diggin Cafe, they take prompt service seriously. This could perhaps be due to the continuous influx of customers. Keeping the tables moving is more of a necessity than 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 Jalapeo 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 the chances it being too chalky or gluggy are often far more than it 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, the tangy tomato sauce was 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 dishes only escalated several notches. The Chicken and Jalapeo Pizza with smoked grilled chicken and jalapenoes 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 is 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.
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.