A restaurant before its time. And I mean that in a not-so-good way. Xes Cafe has plenty of potential, but its going to be a while before the potential begins to show. On the ground floor of the DLF South Court in Saket, you may be forgiven for thinking its somewhere in the DLF Place-Citywalk-MGF stretch, but you’d be mistaken. Take the road behind these malls, the one going past the IRCON Building, past the Square One Mall (which has a pretty nice rooftop restaurant by the way) and you come to DLF South Court. A fairly new mall, which includes as its inhabitants- one Toyota showroom, one furniture store, one private art museum (!), one booze shop and Xes Cafe. Walking through the mall is much like exploring a ghost town- you never know when baddies are going to jump at you from the shadows forcing you to whip out your Smith and Wesson!
Having said that however, Xes Cafe is wonderfully done up in dark shades and tasteful lighting. A huge poster of the Beatles adorns the space next to the bar and with Wacko Jacko’s music in the background and a video of a Bryan Adam’s concert (muted of course) on the TV, it makes for one of the best 90’s theme cafe I’ve seen in a while. Since it’s opened just a couple of weeks back, the furniture, cutlery, etc are all spanking new. They are yet to get a liquor license, which is a pity, because I was really looking forward to a refreshing beer after a morning’s worth of shopping.
We were offered mineral water, which we politely refused (in favour of a coke). However, we were offered mineral water again after the starters, from the same bottle, which was now inexplicably open and slightly depleted of said water. Slightly strange!
We settled for a bruschetta with tomatoes and pesto for starters. Unfortunately, it was completely devoid of salt! When asked later, the chef made a point that he prefers not putting salt on tomato-based bruschettas since it makes the water in the tomatoes run (remember your high school physics classes? Ex-osmosis?) and that he would rather leave it to the customer to decide whether he wants salt on a bruschetta- a very valid point that. Well of course I want salt! I would like salt on everything I eat! Unless if its dessert. So, I’d love to put some salt on my bruschetta. Unfortunately, the salt and pepper were conspicuously missing from the table and had to be called for.
No matter, we moved on to the mains. We ordered for a peri peri burger and a fish ‘n chips. The presentation is awesome- huge plates piled up with food. Not just the mains, but the accompaniments (chips, coleslaw, side salad) as well. No complaints about the way the food looks or the quantity. Unfortunately my gastronomic joy ended there. The peri peri burger was brilliant (although they could have used a slightly spicier sauce to bring out the true Portuguese flavours)- the bun was perfectly soft and pliable, the lettuce was crispy and there was enough chicken inside to serve at a Punjabi bachelor party. The chips could have been cut slightly larger, but no complaints there as well. However, what was again missing were mustard, ketchup and tabasco sauces- which I would expect (without asking for) at any restaurant serving burgers.
The big let down was the fish. While the portion is massive- two huge chunks of fish, battered and fried resting next to a bowl of tartar sauce- the size of the pieces made it impossible for the fish to cook all the way through. Result? The middle of the fish remained undercooked. Not only was it inedible, undercooked meat of any variety is also unhealthy (unless if you’re having sushi, apparently). The chef took our suggestions of cutting the fish into thinner slices the next time very kindly and even offered a replacement, which we politely declined. The taste of undercooked fish is enough to ruin any appetite.
I would have liked some dessert to get the fishy taste out but there is no dessert menu.
I’d say this restaurant has hope. But its going to be a while before it actually gets up and running. While the other issues (lack of liquor, cooking techniques) could possibly be resolved sometime, the major drawback is the location. Unless DLF South Court fills up (of which I have no doubts, given Delhi’s penchant for retail therapy), I wouldn’t actually want to go eat at Xes Cafe, opting instead for the scores of other top-notch restaurants at MGF, Select and DLF Place instead. As fellow foodie Rukmini says- why would I want to go to a restaurant in Cyber City, Gurgaon unless if I work there? Similarly why would I want to eat at Xes Cafe unless if I’m actually inside the mall for some other reason? An exception could be made if the food is different, or exceptional (for e.g. Chor Bizzare or Gunpowder), which unfortunately Xes Cafe does not offer.
|Ratings/ Quick Facts||Scale (on 10)/ Remarks|
|Ease of access||2|
|Quality of food||4|
|Value for money||3|
|Would I go back there?||Not just yet. Will wait for a few months|
|Meal for two||INR 1600 + taxes (without alcohol)|
|Serves alcohol||Not yet- liquor license awaited|
- Do give this place a visit if you happen to be buying a new Toyota from the showroom at the front of the mall
- Try not going to the loo. They don’t have one inside the restaurant
- Service is exceptional- but that might have been due to the lack of other diners (we were the only ones there)
- They have a side entrance too- if you dont fancy a walk down a deserted mall
- Plenty of parking space