Delhi is taking its reputation of being a culinary hub to new heights with a spate of restaurant openings. The newest one to join the list is La Roca in Delhi’s latest food hub, Aerocity.
What’s cool about the restaurant is that it calls itself the city’s first tapas bar, with small plates carrying flavours from across the world. Even better, they follow a zero-waste policy, and the bar, Nectar, uses all natural ingredients, checking the right trend boxes. The kitchen is led by Chef Akshay Bhardwaj, who was with Whisky Samba till last August, and brings his knowledge of world cuisine to La Roca now.
To find a space as huge as La Roca is a rarity today. And its Spanish, cave-like domed high roof adds to its aura of vastness. Seating over 110 diners, one is greeted by upbeat music to get your feet tapping during a cocktail evening or making for pleasant background score to your lunch.
The menu is interestingly divided into Dough, Fresh, Fire/Smoke, Umami, Saucy, Crunch, and Sweet. Based on the kind of texture or flavour you want, you can pick dishes across Indian, European, American, and Asian cuisines. The carpaccio, salmon and beetroot, are expertly done, with the thin layer of meat or veggie carrying ample taste, enhanced by the toppings used. The salmon comes with Thai fish sauce (Nam Pla) and a chilli jam, ideal even if you’re averse to the strong salmon smell, as these garnishes cut through it. The beetroot is rich in flavour with its candied walnuts, and the goat cheese adds tartness to what could’ve otherwise been a heavy dish.
The hargaos (steamed dumplings) alone are good enough to get someone to revisit the restaurant. The mushroom dimsum is sprinkled with truffle and lotus flour, with the essence of the mushrooms capturing the palate and the olfactory senses alike. Similarly, the prawn dimsum has succulent meat and is full-bodied. The pork bao on the other hand didn’t impress as much, with the meat being too tough to bite into and with more oil than required dripping from the bread. The sushi is a hit and miss – while eel isn’t a popular taste, those who relish it will like the eel sushi. The enoki sushi could’ve been great in terms of taste, but lacks in terms of ease of eating – a large fried mushroom on top makes it rather difficult to pop that sushi in one go.
The bar offers an extensive selection as well. There is liquor from across the world – there is absinthe from Italy, shochu and umeshu from Japan, and pisco from Peru – and in-house infusions such as Vanilla Pod Infused Dark rum and Saffron Infused Bourbon, and signatures like cold pressed LIIT. These are complemented by classic cocktails, wines, beers, and shooters. The freshness and zest of ingredients is apparent in the drinks, from coffee to lavender, each one blending with the alcohol yet retaining their own flavour.
The desserts are fun and innovative. The current favourite of the season, popcorn ice cream, is on the menu – an ice cream sandwich in layers of caramel, topped with popped corn, is a must-try. The Coco and Soil is a unique take on chocolate desserts – drops of five different kinds of chocolate on powdered chocolate (‘soil’) of a sixth kind.
All in all, La Roca wins when it comes to a cool, hip ambience; innovative food and drinks that please the palate; and with slight fine tuning of the menu, it has the potential to become a chic resto-bar that Delhi could do with right now.
Where: 6, Lower Ground Floor, Worldmark 1, Aerocity, New Delhi
Opening hours: 12 pm to 1 am, all days
Recommended dishes: Dim sums
Price: Rs. 4,000 plus taxes for two, with alcohol
Noise level: High
All images: Courtesy La Roca