Kavia’s Kitchen

A hidden find for adventurous foodies ♦

Sau Foota (100 Foot) Road in Chattarpur has a couple of random gems, including sweet patisserie-café French Affair. But the most interesting place we’ve been to is a restaurant above a shady-posh gym called Energizer. Run by chatty owner Shobhana Gupta, who has spent significant time in Nigeria, Kavia’s Kitchen is part-community centre and part-eatery, with a covered terrace area, a bar and a small stage for musical acts.

The food menu is extensive, to say the least. There’s Indian, Chinese and African food on the menu, but Gupta also offers regional Bengali food and Thai dishes. Since African food in Delhi is pretty slim pickings, we’d recommend a visit to try Kavia’s simple and hearty goat, chicken and fish dishes, which are best shared among a larger group of people. Wash the food down with sweet, non-alcoholic malt or a cold beer. It’s a good idea to call beforehand if you want to try a particular kind of meat, just to make sure it’s available.

We tried a dry-fried tilapia dish (R400 for two fish), heaped with deliciously sweet, sliced, almost caramelised plantains. The crusty whole fish was flaky and fresh inside, with the bones coming away easily. There was no goat available, so we had two overflowing bowls of chicken jollof rice – a West African staple with moist, tomato-y grains mixed with substantial chunks of broiler chicken and bits of various kinds of seafood. The food tastes home-cooked, and is exciting more for its novelty value than for major culinary fireworks. The prices here are a little flexible, based on quantity of the meat, but nothing is out­rageously expensive – if you’re on a budget, ask before ordering.

Kavia’s Kitchen hosts live music on the last Friday of the month and is also a hub for church meetings for the African community. Drop by for a taste of cosmopolitan Delhi life that’s integrated into the city’s fabric rather than trying to draw attention to itself as different.

Originally published in Time Out Delhi, June 2012.