The F&B industry was left battered due to the pandemic last year, forcing many established players to leave the fight. Nevertheless, we saw new players holding their ground via ingenious techniques. Opened in November 2019, Delhi’s Altogether Experimental kept things moving with delicious gateaux and savoury breakfast deliveries across Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Faridabad, and Ghaziabad.
When I think of cafes, I think of a quaint, towny space imbued with earthy tones and locally-engineered decor, ornamented by a packed bookshelf and maybe a few plants to brighten the place up. But that’s also the kind of cafes I’ve discovered on my travels. When it comes to a cafe in the city, there’s a lot at stake. City folks desire a place that serves the warmth of a quaint cafe with modern amenities, a collaborative work environment and dog-friendly inclusive. And to my personal satisfaction, I happen to discover one in Delhi that ticks all the right boxes of an ideal hideout cafe.
Altogether Experimental, run by an all-girls kitchen team, is a co-working and dog-friendly space in the bylanes of Saiyad Ul Ajaib Extension, Saket (near Champa Gali). Started by Vicky Mandal (26), founder & director and Anukriti Anand (25), founder & chef, A.T.E. is a collaborative arena put together by like-minded industry enthusiasts, creative patissiers, baristas, and culinary artists who share sustainable, local, and inclusive ethos. While Mandal, the man behind the concept and the decor, is a restaurant consultant with over five years of experience, chef Anand is an IHM, Pusa alumna. Altogether Experimental is their first restaurant.
One can see a reflection of the ethos in their decor as well. The minimalist matte-finished ceiling lights complement the sleek shelves, and the indoor plants complement the understated red floor. The natural light via a floor-to-ceiling glass wall binds the indoor seating with the alfresco seating, and the yellow patio umbrellas give a burst of colour to the black-white chevron floor. Right next to the main seating area in the cafe is a co-working space of six-seven tables. And the best bit? They allow pets inside and serve puppuccinos on the house. They also do eco-friendly bagasse (sugarcane leftovers) packaging.
To welcome their post-lockdown crowd in 2021, A.T.E. relaunched a new zero-waste menu. The fact that they consistently shuffle their menu makes people want to keep going back. Specialising in craft coffee, you can choose your house blend with single origins. Currently, they get their roast from KCRoasters in Mumbai. I tried a hot cup of Santhagiri Washed — it is strong and not milkier — just the way I like it.
A scratch kitchen and a modern patisserie that started with two people is now managed by seven chefs, making generous portions perfect for a lazy weekend brunch. To start things off, I ordered the ATE Croissant Sandwich and The OG Hummus & Smoked Chicken Tartine followed by a Mushroom Pate and Basil Pesto Cruffin. Unlike the first two, the cruffin ( a cross between croissant and muffin) was rather bland. But the piquancy was instantly refurbished with their Korean Fried Chicken Burger, which comes with spicy house cheese, and A.T.E. Shoyu Ramen with garlic shrimp; these two are highly recommended! And to end things on a sweeter note, order the chef-recommended Storm in a Cup Hot Chocolate, Banoffee Croissant or Tiramisu Croissant.
At Altogether Experimental, your palate is unsparingly looked-after, even with gluten-free and vegan choices. Their menu is for well-travelled individuals who prefer trying new things. Chef Anukriti Anand said, ”While the dessert of offerings might seem a little daunting, we are convinced that one will not get similar tasting cakes, petite gateaux & sweet nibbles anywhere else.”
Another concept that will soon see the light of day here is a retail outlet inside the store where sustainable homegrown labels will be exhibited. So keep a lookout for pop-ups and other participatory events here. It’s this amalgamation of ideas and collaborative concepts that does justice to the name, Altogether Experimental.
Price: Rs 1,000 for two (approx.)
Ambience: Convivial and comfortable
Timings: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
Best time to visit: During lunch; Tuesdays – Sundays
Where: Plot 2, Khasra 264, 264, Westend Marg, Saiyad Ul Ajaib Extension, Saket, New Delhi, Delhi 110030
Note: They don’t serve any alcoholic beverages.
All images: Courtesy Instagram