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UNITED COFFEE HOUSE REWIND

United Coffee House, in Connaught Place since 1942, is one of Delhi's most iconic restaurants for breakfast, sumptuous snacks, Indian and world cuisine — including dishes it sold six decades back. I had first heard about it when Dad mentioned he used to visit it during his youth… during those days, it was an intimate coffee house with clientage spanning bureaucrats, industrialists and artists unified by their passion to sip coffee, read a book and relish a favourite dish for hours. Today, showcased as a must—visit restaurant in 'Lonely Planet', the ambience is colonial chic with polished wood and chandeliers.

 

So, I was delighted to hear that the brand has opened United Coffee House Rewind in Epicuria, and quickly planned luncheon. Riding on its legacy, it won me over with a menu packed with classic dishes from Old Delhi, Kolkata and Chettinad. Perusing the voluminous menu, I sought help from Chef Varun and he advised me to order winter cocktail United Sazerac and their signature 'Keema Samosa' to begin with. The bourbon-base botanical-infused cocktail was potent and the fiery liquid instantly warmed me. Now I'm not one to rave about savouries but the oversized deep-fried samosa packed with mince meat, onions and green chilli was a creation meat lovers have relished since decades and continue to… and the menu descriptor was right:: 'no one makes the giant samosa like we do!' The second appetizer 'Mathur Chicken Chaat' was on point — tender chicken seasoned with mayo, green chilli, coriander, onion and tomatoes. The presentation was superb and the first forkful brought back memories of a salad mom used to make since I was a kid. Hmmmm. Is it any wonder I polished off the entire bowl? Conversation and camaraderie flowed and then my entree arrived. The 'Poulet Alexander' — herb-marinated chicken steak, with vegetables and fries — melted in the mouth with each forkful, bringing with it another wave of memories of when I had it as a teenager in Kolkata… a dish I'll be back for pretty soon!!

 

The meal ended on a sweet note with Bromley Apple Pie served with ice-cream. As I walked out into the sunshine, I couldn't help but think that the retro music, potent cocktails and comfort food is what will reel in diners while the food presentation and quality is what will keep them coming back. It's a great hangout for the young who want to broaden their culinary horizon and senior citizens who would go back in time with each forkful of the classic dishes. I, for one, can't wait to come back and try their Darjeeling Roast Chilli Pork, Chicken Pepper Steak and Kiev. PS As this restaurant is always packed, I'd advise you to make reservations to step back in time. Bon Appetite!

— JASMEEN DUGAL

 
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United Coffee House, Epicuria, Nehru Place, New Delhi

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