By Rupali Lamba

Diva and Kitsch, grey and neon, home and away, fun and skilled- all the dualities that we love, which reside within us come together seamlessly at Ritu Dalmia’s new and exciting establishment. Set on the first floor of Kitsch, the new concept store on the block, a walk through cascading flowers and a brief display of Karen Knorr’s ‘India Song’ opens into a sprawling and eclectic space, where we embarked on a culinare journey.

We began our multi-faceted adventure with the Bomra’s Tomato Salad, which consisted of juicy tomato slices, onions, coriander, peanuts and a jaggery based dressing. The flavours felt very familiar, I looked at Suchita in puzzlement till it suddenly dawned upon me – bhel puri! The second appetizer we sampled was the Shredded Duck Salad with Banana Blossom and Litchi. Though the overall profile was similar to the Bomra’s Tomato Salad, the duck was really well cooked and the texture was to die for; there were juicy bits, chewy bits and two different levels of crunchy.

Once the playful tone was set, we began searching for and identifying hidden profiles in all the dishes. The Chicken Satay was a deconstructed chicken curry. Succulent and charred {unlike most chicken satay}, it was placed on a bed of ‘chilli jam’, which was like a home cooked curry base. It was served with a sprinkling of spices that gave the dish heat.

We tried the dumplings next. They were all luminously pretty and tasty barring the Chinese Greens and Water Chestnut one; the Prawn and Japanese Ginger version was the best {this is not a meat vs vegetable bias as you will discover soon}. However, if you are at Diva Kitsch, I would strongly recommend trying the other, more fun items on the menu as that is where the essence of the concept lies.

For our mains, we tried the Yellow-Fin Tuna Burger, which was served with tempura onion rings and wasabi mayo. Watch out burger trails, this burger definitely deserves a place in the honours list. The proportion of patty to bread was very generous. The meat was luscious, the mayo added bite and the onion rings were light and crisp. It was ai- Love, in Japanese.

Diva Ktsch Delhi

The Grilled Prawns in Laksa Sauce outshone the burger. I have never had such creamy and soft giant prawns before. The Laksa was really good too. For once, you got to taste all the little elements that make Laksa perfect without being over powered by heat and chillies. The creamy sauce had a smattering of bean sprouts to add texture.

What followed was Chicken Schnitzel and Pork Vindaloo, which were okay. The Schnitzel was a little dry and the Vindaloo had none of the masala and drama that is associated with it.

Another highlight was Steak and eggs, all meaty and comforting with mash and a fried egg. Boys, you know what I’m sayin’. The steak was lightly seasoned to highlight the sheer meaty-ness of it. It was accompanied by a fried egg and mashed potato with a hint of wasabi; a concoction that legends are made of!

We concluded the mains with Roti bawang, a aloo methi Malaysian inspired roti which is served with a Green curry. When they come together it’s like being on a holiday and at home all at once. Even after eating so much, this was my favourite dish. {This is what I meant by no meat vs vegetable bias.}

Diva Ktsch

We concluded our meal with Chocolate fondant with basil ice-cream and Jaggery crème brûlée. The fondant oozed and thickened like it should, the basil ice-cream tasted like basil and was served in a nifty caramel basket.

The entire meal felt like a travel journal. Each bite was reminiscent of some experience, some flavor, whether it was nostalgia or wanderlust. The thoughtful reinterpretations may give Indian Accent a run for it’s money as the menu evolves. Oh, and the crème brûlée was mishti dahi in disguise; yes, you really need to go experience this food!

Notes in our Little Black Book |

DIVA Kitsch

Where | D 17, Defence Colony

Price | INR 2000 for two {approx.}

Contact no. | 011 40648861