Monday, June 08, 2015

A Trip to the Sodabottleopenerwala Cafe

Vidit Bhargava

A few days back, I finally had the opportunity to visit the Sodabottleopenerwala (Yep, that’s somebody’s surname!) Cafe, in Delhi’s Khan Market, which I had previously missed for a much more unique menu of La Bodega, a fine dining Mexican Restaurant, but more on that in a later posted. Sodabottleopenerwala is the kind of crowded Iranian Cafe, that you’ve probably heard exists in places like Mumbai. It’s extremely noisy but the Cafe insists that it is what they intended to make.

Getting the Irani Cafe touch right, Sodabottleopenerwala is unabashedly skeuomorphic, it looks like a Parsi home that was made into a cafe. Proud to be Parsi, the cafe has a lot of references to them, like the stairway to the cafe, which is filled with the diminishing community’s family photographs, even the menu items contain some of the culture references to them. If you were looking for an Irani-Cafe experience in Delhi, I’d recommend this to you. It’s super good at emulating one. 

But perhaps, in capturing the essence of an Irani Cafe, Sodabottleopenerwala also looses its productivity. It appears crowded, noisier than it should be (It’s probably the construction of the cafe which helps in resonating the noise) and slightly clumsy. This is not the cafe I want to go to have a peaceful afternoon of work. 

Sodabottleopenerwala probably has the most innovative menu I’ve seen in a long time. With food items termed as “Aloo Aunty’s Vegetable Cutlet” and “Jardaloo Ma Tarkari” it’s hard to not notice how much Sodabottleopenerwala Cafe loves it’s Parsis. (And, yes, there’s an Eggs Kejriwal too, if you are feeling too political).

So after some ‘intense’ reading of the menu, which involved me having to read the descriptions thoroughly as the names weren’t really indicative of the nature of the dish but rather the people who seemed to have liked it, I ordered the ‘Aloo Aunty’s Vegetable Cutlet’ , ‘Tardeo AC Market Mamaji’s Grilled Sandwich’ and a ‘Sikanje Bin’. The service was a little late, these three items took over half an hour to get served.

Food Items at the Sodabottleopenerwala Cafe have the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Everything, from the mint-beverage I had to the vegetable cutlet has a very unique and strong taste. Nothing tastes neutral, there’s an excess of some or the other ingredient, but that’s not to say, it tastes bad. It actually tastes pretty good. 

The Mint and Dried Plum drink I had was pretty refreshing, and tasted a bit like Spremuta. The Sikanje Bin is highly refreshing. Even the grilled sandwich was pretty well done too. Although, it had excess onion to it, it tasted very original and was completely different from all the other grilled sandwiches i’ve had. If I were to go back to Sodabottleopenerwala I’d probably order the Sikanje Bin and Grilled Sandwich. The Same however cannot be said for the Vegetable Cutlet, which just had too much garlic to taste good. The Vegetable Cutlet leaves a very very sharp taste in the mouth and is avoidable. 

On the Whole, the Experience was a different one. Did I enjoy it? Yes, for the sheer delight of experiencing something completely new and different from the regular cafes. Will I go back to the Cafe? Probably Not. I enjoy less noisier places.


Anonymous said...

Eggs Kejriwal is a dish dedicated to Mr.Devi Prasad Kejriwal

Vidit said...

Hi I'm aware that Eggs Kejriwal doesn't have anything to do with the Delhi CM. It was just meant to be a comic remark.

Nabeel Hasan said...

well u made me hungry...:>


Vidit said...

Thanks Hasan! :D
Do give it a try, you might actually like it if you are looking for something new!