The Lodi, New Delhi



An office colleague and friend decided to take us to the Lodi restaurant, and boy was I pleased with it. Though I didn’t get enough time to take it all in that one time, I had a wonderful time there. The restaurants a pretty unique place, it’s along the periphery of Lodhi Garden, which in itself, apart from the scores of shaking bushes with fornicating couples, is a picturesque and clean garden.

The restaurant has an outdoor seating area, with a mixture of different seating arrangements. From what I made out, the gardens got about 4 different types of seating. There’s an out of place looking red curtain clad bullock cart of sorts, where mostly couples perch themselves (Jesus. I mean, get a room). Then there’s the high cane chairs under nice trees, and normal marble topped tables with hard chairs. Oh and I almost forgot, there’s a sofa seating area in one corner, closest to the house. While we did notice the pseudo wine aficionados (I’m being judgmental so sue me) and socialite elite, all in all, the restaurant reeks class. The waiters are courteous enough, and speak painfully slowly so that you’d understand every word. From my understanding of the place and its clientele, plenty of firangs like to eat there. The menu isn’t much to boast of, in fact, I found myself taking quite a while to decide what to eat since there wasn’t anything that I hadn’t already seen in some way or other in other restaurants of this kind.

I decided to to go back with my parents on the weekend. In fact I’ve just come home from the Lodi, and decided to write this before my memory of the place diminished. Let’s begin from the beginning.

Reservations

The lady on the phone was polite. She let us know there was a private party in the garden so we could be seated indoors instead. We were cool with that.

The Valet

The guy waiting outside the restaurant peeked into the car as we pulled up, and said “Sir valet”. He gave us a slip of paper with the car number, the other bit of which he kept with himself. My mom for some reason didn’t trust him and wondered if he was from the restaurant at all. He got into the car real quick, slammed her into first and sped down the road into the distance real quick, and I mean he revved pretty aggressively. Had this been a Simpsons cartoon, it’d have been all over, goodbye car. The manager at the reception assured us he was their valet, and that the slip was all we needed to attain nirvana. Big whoop. I had this brief vision of the driver driving to a remote location, meeting a chop shop friend, selling all the tires, seats, spares, and bringing back just a frame before running away.

Seating, eating & service

We sat inside the house this time. Again, there was nothing uniform about the seating. There’s seats in the veranda area, one table in a wee garden at the back, and 3 or 4 tables on the wooden floor immediately inside. A wooden spiral staircase took us upstairs to a bar and more seating. We sat up here.

The stewards are extremely polite, and smile most of the time. It doesn’t seem fake like most other places where waiters smile. The beer was ice cold, just how I like it, and the food was alright. Mother had a salad, which seemed ordinary enough, but fresh. My old man had a Moroccan lamb with ratatouille, which one of my friends had had the other day, which I also managed to taste and like. I had a whole wheat spaghetti with wild mushrooms and extra chicken. Their garlic bread (I can’t seem to remember if it’s complimentary) goes down very easy and we managed to eat 2 whole plates of them, just pops and I!

Their dessert selection was shown to us on a large circular plate. Now, if you want to show your esteemed guests a selection of dessert, for God’s sake man try and make it look NOT like mummified preserved organs! The cheese cake and balaclava looked old and wilted! I ended up eating chocolate mousse, which was pretty monotonous down to the last spoonful, and I saw something green and gooey inside the mousse as well. Being pretty much a glorified recycle bin, I promptly gave the green slime a lick. It tasted oddly like mint. I shrugged and ate it all. Food with a hint of adventure people!

Prices in my opinion are perfectly alright for a place that’s this well-kept and run. It varies between 350 and 1000 per meal. By meal I mean dish, since a dish makes a meal for one person. Drinks are pretty averagely priced as well. In fact, I’ve seen places charge more for their drinks than the Lodi, and the restaurants not being half as pretty. If it’s Italian food you’re after in Delhi, I’d actually push for Big Chill in Khan Market. Their menu’s like a Bible, and not as boring! You could spend loads of time just reading through the damn thing and not make up your mind. The pastas are tastier in Big Chill, and priced approximately the same or slightly more for some dishes than the Lodi. Big Chill however, for decor and experience, is a has been. Sure people flock there to have their Oreo Shakes and a good time, but it’s more like a restaurant for the masses. If you can get a table at Big Chills on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday night without a reservation, you’d be lucky.

The Lodi’s a more exclusive joint. You get peace and quiet if you sit outdoors, and the waiters never bother you. You can sip on a dry martini, eat a pasta and not feel bloated afterwards. You can look at the dish they serve you and admire its presentation without worrying about whether it’d fill you up or not. The music’s tasteful (so rare these days), lots of free form jazz in the garden.

The Lodi is a lovely place to take your family, or a girlfriend to, to have a conversation, to poke fun at shitty socialite scum, and feel good.

PS: The valet got the car back okay, but the nincompoop moved my seat back, turned the radio on, and set the AC on 22 degrees. I had it on 25 when I gave him the car. It’s a pity I didn’t fill the feedback form after I got my car back. I’d have bitched about the valet.