The Taming of the (Prussian) Blue

Sunday Art Brunch, Cafe Knosh, Kempinski Ambiance, Shahdara

I’d heard of the new Kempinski opening up in Shahdara, and marveled at the attention being received by areas of Delhi hitherto left neglected by most. Money talks and how. A twin-tower format, the Kempinski Ambiance, owned by the same folks behind the Ambiance Malls in Gurgaon and Vasant Kunj, was meant to house two separate hotels. Now home to the very first Kempenski, it boasts of space and ambiance of a variety few in the city can match. Especially interesting were the banqueting facilities; the largest in the city or was it the country? In any case, the folks at the Kempinski Ambiance can seat 4,000 people in a round table format, which speaks volumes about their volumes. Yeah, poor pun; now stop rolling your eyes!

photo (3)This isn’t about the Kempinski or their huge banquet halls though. This article is about the opening of their Sunday brunch, a happy event Indu and I attended a couple of Sundays back. Every Sunday brunch is town is laying out the red carpet for voracious, late Sunday risers and appear to be doing everything possible, short of distributing pamplets with the Sunday Times. Come to think of it, that might be a good idea. Perhaps the Sunday Edition of the Economic Times might be a better idea though. Seriously, given the amenities provided to folks at these events, the only thing left is to replace regular chairs with motorised wheel-chairs, so diners don’t even have to rise for their supper.

While most Sunday Brunches appear to be trying to differentiate themselves with the quantities of food available, Cafe Knosh seems to have taken a long term approach to their offering. Called a ‘Sunday Art Brunch’, there’s a fair bit of effort that’s been put into the concept. The layout is standard, with multiple counters offering a range of soups, curries, roasts, grills, salads, breads, rice and desserts. Every table however, comes with a very nice set of colors that children can use to fill in the colors on appropriately designed table-mats. If that excites adults and others to expressing their own inner artist, there’s also an easel set up in a corner, with oil colors and brushes. For some reason, that conjures up an picture in my head, of a chap holding a skewer with kebabs in one hand, head thrown back and paintbrush in the other hand, his arm extended towards the canvas.

There’s more! The Kempinski Ambiance has also tied up with Indian Art Village, and showcases paintings by beginners, placed at strategic locations all over Cafe Knosh. Both Indu and I thought some of the work to be exquisite and the prices reasonable. If you like your art and would like to use your Sunday for both gustatory and aesthetic purposes, the Sunday Art Brunch at Cafe Knosh might appeal.

The food was quite interesting. While the contents of most Sunday Brunches are skewed towards non-vegetarian choices, this one had a marked tilt toward the vegetarian. With about eighty five (85%) percent vegetarian dishes, Cafe Knosh’s Sunday Brunch is probably unique in it’s offering; obviously a tribute to the largely vegetarian demographic the Kempinski Ambiance is located within. Also, while there were a fair number of western offerings, including a lovely roast chicken with all the trimmings, most of the brunch featured dishes that were either Indian or familiar to the traditional Indian palate. That appealed to me. Apart from some truly unique non-Indian flavors like those of foie gras, smoked salmon and the like, I find myself increasingly drawn towards Indian food. Buffet offerings and interactive stations apart, there’s also an electric, warm trolley that makes it’s way through tables, offering hot kebabs to guests. The fact that Cafe Knosh will try and make any dish for any guest as long as they have the ingredients, was also endearing.

Did I mention the street food stalls, including Indian and international parked outside Cafe Knosh? Bhalla Papri, Gol Gappe as well as tossed noodles et. al.

Cafe Knosh appeals on multiple fronts. They have markedly Indian offerings, plenty of vegetarian, sufficient non-vegetarian, street foods combined with the potential for a Sunday activity that (in my case) leaves the better half happier, plenty of space (outside) for the kids to run about and outdoor seating. What more can you ask for?

Sid Khullar

Sid Khullar is the founder of Chef at Large, a blog that began in 2007. He enjoys cooking, writing, travelling and technology in addition to being a practising Freemason. Health and wellness is a particularly passionate focus. Sid prefers the company of food and animals to most humans, and can be reached at sid.khullar@chefatlarge.in.