After a year of being cooped up in our homes, all we need is a good, healthy meal amidst clean, verdant surroundings. If you think this is impossible to find, especially in the middle of a pandemic, then Fabcafe by the Lake in Sunder Nursery, New Delhi, is the place to head to this season.
Situated in a 16th-century heritage park — also the capital city’s first arboretum — adjacent to the Humayun’s Tomb, Fabcafe by the Lake is the seventh addition to the cafe chain by the Fab India stores in Delhi. The lush 400-meter walk (and 600 meters by car) towards the cafe inside the park welcomes you to a very Central Park-esque vibe where people are busy about their workouts, conversations, and dog walks — a refreshing sight after almost a year of being in quarantine.
The decor of the cafe bends towards minimalism (if you’ve been to any Fab India store, you’ll know the kind of furniture and decor that we’re talking about), and the mood of the cafe is fun, almost like a pop-up store with enough seating in a socially-distanced manner. The bright-coloured patio umbrellas in the alfresco area are a contrast to the lush background, while also promising enough winter sun for this sweater weather.
Fabcafe by the Lake is not a sprawling space, but seating will never be a problem here, thanks to its threefold serving concept. Fabcafe is the main cafe where you can make proper reservations; FabPicnic is a self-service counter where you can place the order and eat by the lake; and FabPickups is where you place a takeaway order and eat anywhere in the park (for this, they use disposable cutlery). For a view and ambience like this, I’d say it’s a much-needed outdoor cafe in Delhi.
The cafe has three-time serving menus. Breakfast (8:00 am to 11:00 am), which includes Indie Masala Omelette, Lil’ Beetroot Idlis with Sambar, Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes, Tulsi Mulethi, and various types of classic coffees, among other light bites. Lunch à la carte (11:00 am to 3:00 pm) offers Baked Samosas, Chicken Momos made with Jackfruit flour, Dak Bungalow Veggies, Dal Makhni, Coastal Fish Moilee, Jackfruit chapatis, Mixed seed n’ Wheat Paranthas, Himalayan Honey and Walnut Tart, Berry n’ Cashew Cheese ice cream, along with healthy drinks such as Ganna Juice and more. And dinner comprises of light snacks and beverages from the lunch menu, as the park is only open till 6:00 pm. They don’t serve any alcoholic beverages.
More than its sun-kissed decor and chill vibe, it’s the homestyle food that compels many people to become regular visitors. Whether it’s their Jackfruit Flour Momos or their signature Dal Makhni or Murg Saagwala, or the wheat-free Paneer Tikka Wrap, the food is non-greasy and light, pretty much how you’d cook it at home. Taking things a notch higher, they also prefer to make vegetarian meals as vegan as possible.
Their Shikampuri Shammi Kebab does justice to its name, melting in your mouth, and the not-so-classic Chicken Momos made with jackfruit flour more than suffice for all the times you may have missed having the popular street food in the past year. A big win for me was the Mixed Seed n’ Wheat Parantha, made of pumpkin, sunflower, chia, flax, and hemp seeds — light and healthy. And while the signature Dal Makhni though could have had a bit more flavour, the Dak Bungalow Veggies bridged the shortfall. To end the gastronomy delight, the Mixed Berry n’ Cashew Cheese ice cream, made with jaggery, was just the perfect amount of sweet.
Fabcafe by the Lake’s location definitely stands out, and its ambience remains unparalleled, making it truly one-of-a-kind in Delhi. If you’re looking for a calm place amidst nature to soak some winter sun and wholesome food, then this is it.
Price: Rs 2,000 for two
Ambience: Cordial and chill
Timings: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Best time to visit: Weekdays to avoid the weekend crowd
Recommended dishes: Himalayan Honey and Walnut Tart, Shikampuri Shammi Kebab, Baked Samosas, Veggies in South Indian Coconut Curry, and Dal Makhni
Where: Sunder Nursery, Delhi’ Heritage Park, adjoining Humayun’s Tomb, Bharat Scouts and Guides Marg, Nizamuddin, New Delhi, Delhi 110013
Note: The entry to the park is Rs 155 that contributes towards its maintenance
All images: Courtesy restaurant and Harleen Kalsi