A cafe you may think depicts a quaint, colourful, airy eating space that serves a small collection of freshly baked food along with varieties of tea and coffee. So, don’t be shocked if you find the exact opposite of this pretty picture with Warehouse Cafe. Situated on the first floor in the inner circle of Connaught Place, New Delhi, Warehouse Cafe is a huge room filled with large couches and tables, extremely dim lighting, and a more pub or private club feel to it than anything resembling a cafe.
Now, I’m not complaining. I had all the opportunity in the world to turn around and not sit here, but I didn’t. It’s just that the name doesn’t suit the décor (Warehouse-y it is, café it is not) which consists of a roulette table as part of the wall decorations – much appreciated as my littlest one spent a few minutes spinning the wheel thus giving us that much needed peace and quiet.
Yes, Warehouse Cafe allows kids, at least during lunch service and although I’d read that they play loud music at all times, I was pleased to find that at lunch at least it was conversation friendly. The place is low-lighted and it takes a good half hour to get used to it, perfect for the evening but a little shady for an afternoon lunch with the family.
The restaurant also sports a rather long and well lit bar at one end with seating that I found extremely comfortable – tables and chairs placed at a good distance as not to make the restaurant look too crowded, however the space is huge and when packed I’m sure things look busy.
The menu at Warehouse Café comes in the form of a calendar – one item for each day of the year, a leap year that too. This means that with over 360 food items featuring multiple cuisines, there’s a lot being offered. If you’re a regular reader of my reviews, you’ll know that I hold certain reservations when it comes to multi-cuisine restaurants and Warehouse Cafe turned out to be a perfect example to prove my point, that with all the varied food being prepared in the kitchen, some items were bound to be hits while others missed their mark completely.
Now, I take a lot of pride in claiming that I make a killer cold coffee with ice cream at home so when ordering it in restaurants, more often than not, I’m disappointed with the results. However Warehouse Cafe gave me one of the best I’ve ever had so much so that towards the end I ordered another round of it – you order rounds of whiskey, I do the same with cold coffee, that’s just the way I roll. The first glass was exceptional but the re-ordered cold-coffee had the proportions of the ingredients slightly wrong – too much coffee this time – and while still good it just wasn’t as appreciated as the first one.
There’s something for everyone at Warehouse Cafe, but the final execution, small things that can elevate the food to a higher level were grossly lacking. The Vegetarian Shawarma Roll – Paneer being the primary ingredient – had a wonderful taste, the marinated paneer perfect, but alas the entire dish was on the cooler side – too much time at the pass maybe? It’s something I would order again without a second thought and I even enjoyed it in its cooler avatar, but the joy of a juicy hot shawarma with dripping sauce is something else altogether.
The same could also be said about the Baked Pasta that had excellent taste but the pasta was a couple minutes short of being termed Al dente and some more cheese on top which would then be baked to a nice golden brown crisp could have been amazing.
I will say that although I didn’t try the North Indian food that was served, the rest of the family enjoyed it and my father who is quite vocal when things are not to his liking, didn’t have anything negative to say.
There were a number of “quick bites” aka starters that we ordered and amongst them the Samosa Sandwich stood out; tasty with soft potato filling in crunchy toast was cherished all around the table. The cutlets too had a nice crunch on the outside and a soft interior although slightly spicy. The kebab was as simple and ordinary as it can get.
The most disappointing dish of the evening had to be the Vegetarian Paneer Sizzler which lost its sizzle literally and metaphorically within a few minutes of arriving on the table. I suggest going a couple of blocks down to United Coffee House and having their Paneer Sizzler instead which is ace.
You would imagine that after so much food there’d be no chance of having dessert, but you’d be wrong. The shared Phirni and Brownie with Chocolate Sauce (they added ice cream later for the kids) were fairly okay.
The service at Warehouse Cafe was good in the sense that there’s always someone around to attend, but it lacked speed and as a result, even though we were amongst the first few for lunch, the entire meal took quite a while to arrive with long pauses in between dishes – it has the same effect long pauses have in-between a conversation.
Warehouse Cafe succeeds in what most multi-cuisine restaurants aim for; that they try to please everyone with enormous choices on offer. As a result the family was divided in their final opinion with a couple of the members “liking” the place and others not taking to its charm. Me? As the case is often, I cannot decide what to think of it, but in this day and age when there are choices-a-plenty, Warehouse Cafe didn’t leave me with a strong enough impression that I would return in a hurry.