Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Circa 1193 Co-Promoter Vidur Parashar Gives Cavalli Caffe Menu New Edge & Easier Pricing

The robust Crema di Pomodoro soup served
in a cavernous loaf of bread made me fall in
love with Cavalli Caffe's new menu instantly
By Sourish Bhattacharyya

REMEMBER Olive Bar & Kitchen’s promoter AD Singh telling me that he celebrated his wife’s birthday at Circa 1193, the restaurant next to his in the shadow of the Qutab Minar in Mehrauli,I  because he knew the food matched the stunning ambience.
It’s a pity that the restaurant that served Pan Asian cuisine with modern European flair and made Achal Aggarwal a star — the chef thereafter was in the opening team of Megu at The Leela Palace and is now going up the corporate ladder at Hyatt International — had to shut shop. I got to know the man behind the show, Vidur Parashar, who left a comfortable family business to pursue his passion for food, and I felt bad for him, and also realised that good intentions don’t always translate into success.
Vidur and his business partners sold the sprawling Circa 1193 plot to Gaurav Goenka, managing director of the Mirah Group, who has made big investments in the restaurant sector. Goenka, in turn, is said to have sold the plot to a third party.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I met Vidur outside DLF Emporio at Vasant Kunj a couple of weeks back with Manav Gangwani, fashion designer and promoter of international luxe brands. Vidur said to me he was overhauling the menu of Cavalli Caffe, the international restaurant venture of the famed fashion mogul, Roberto Cavalli, which did not take off at the DLF Emporio lobby despite its lineage. People complained it was too expensive and that the food was regular. I thought it was quite a challenge because I had never seen any soul at Cavalli Caffe, whose plight was made worse by the neighbouring Cha Shi, whose basic but unfailingly good South-East Asian fare ensured a full house day after day.
A photomontage by Atul Sikand, the man
behind the Facebook recipes group,
Sikandalous Cuisine, of the food
served at Cavalli Caffe
I had my second big surprise yesterday when Vidur invited me to sample the new menu he has put together with his executive chef, Kapil Sethi, for Cavalli Caffe. Starting from you-can’t-stop-eating-it Burrata and a robust Crema di Pomodoro soup served in a cavernous loaf of bread to the Burrata Ravioli with burnt butter and sage and an unforgettable Sweet Lobster Linguine, the menu is sizzling with must-have dishes. Add the thin-crust pizza with artichokes, spinach, zucchini and onions on a real tomato base, the seductive Chicken Shawarma, the full-bodied Tom Kha with plump prawns and the unmissable Hot Chocolate Foam with Rum Granita, and you have a symphony for the senses. The beauty of it is all is that the prices (minus taxes and 10 per cent service charge) range from Rs 300 to Rs 600 (with the Sweet Lobster Linguine being the only exception at Rs 1,000).
Vidur clearly has steered the restaurant in the right direction, with Manav providing him able support, besides giving the Tom Khan and Hot Chocolate Foam the respect they deserve. The new and improved Cavalli Caffe is back in the reckoning. Give it this week to roll out its new menu and you’ll have a good reason to visit it over and over again.