Dark chocolate lovers, please take notice! There’s a new sustainable, artisanal ‘bean to bar’ chocolate dining experience in Delhi’s Dhan Mill Compound, Colocal, and it looks as tempting and Instagrammable as its exquisite fare.
Dhan Mill Compound in Chhatarpur is home to many chic ateliers, decor stores, and creative cafes. Not to mention it used to host several music events as well, pre-coronavirus. Now there’s a new (pet-friendly) addition to this hip joint in Delhi, Colocal, brought to you by ‘the cacao artisans’, Nishant Kumar Sinha and Sheetal Saxena. And the reason it deserves a visit is not just the location but also its artisanal chocolates and a striking resemblance to the French Colony in Pondicherry.
Opened in November 2020, Colocal is not merely a commercial success for founders Sinha and Saxena but also a creative accomplishment. Sinha, who also owns Roastery Coffee House in Hyderabad and Kolkata, decided to open Colocal after his wife shared her passion for chocolate making. Without any professional training and a few trips to Italy, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala, the duo brewed the concept of Colocal. “When Sheetal started working on this project, everyone said it requires a skill set and formal knowledge to be able to understand it. However, we broke this barrier and learned that all we need is sheer passion and dedication to succeed at anything. Our objective is to educate people about chocolate and create a ‘bean to bar’ market for them to explore the whole process and technique of making chocolates,” said Sinha.
The cafe reflects their individual personalities, and one can notice it in the decor too. The welcoming entrance is the way to their alfresco setting, decorated with victorian patio furniture, abundant greenery and sunlight. The interiors are an extension of the outside seating with its courtyard, round arches, and column pillars that allows enough sun to brighten up the whole place. The dull yellow and white colour combination represent their love for Pondicherry. On the ground floor is the seating and on the floor above is where all the magic happens.
Colocal sources the best cocoa beans from Tamil Nadu and Kerala for processing and fermentation. It takes six days to process and ferment (at high temperature) the beans, after which the beans are left for three-four days before roasting. Roasting helps bring the desired flavour, taste, and colour. Once they are roasted, the beans are cooled, separated, crushed, and sweetened to make the chocolate bars. After the Cacao nibs are crushed and made into chocolate liquor and are further conched to remove the acidic acids for a better after taste. The entire process of making a bar out of roasted cacao beans takes up to 72 hours. They offer a variety of dark chocolates for sale; I bought the divine 72% dark chocolate.
And if vegan, dark chocolate bars are not soulful enough, you can dive into their equally yummy menu. I kickstarted the party in my mouth with their Cocoa Sangria, Avocado Bruschetta, and The Campfire Hot Chocolate. While the Sangria was a unique attempt to melt a chocolate lover’s heart, it was really the Marshmellow Hot Chocolate that teleports you to the delectable Willy Wonka river of chocolate. Another must-try is their Fish Fingers and the Colocal Non-Veg Club Sandwich. The serving is quite generous here, so please order as per your hunger-meter.
In mains, what aces are their Pulled Mutton Burger and Spinach and Chicken Tortellini in Napoli Sauce; both are highly recommended. Although if you must visit Colocal to cure your sweet tooth cravings, then make some room for the trending dessert of the year, the Basque Cheesecake.
Colocal is Insta-worthy, sure. But it is the approachable ambience and artisanal experience that this cafe should be known for this year.
Price: Rs 1,500 for two (approx.)
Ambience: Informal and relaxing
Timings: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm
Best time to visit: Brunch and dinner
Where: Shade no. 21b, The Dhan Mill compound, 100 Feet Rd, Chhatarpur, New Delhi, Delhi 110074
Note: They don’t serve any alcoholic beverages.
All images: Courtesy Instagram