A home away from home to thousands of Delhi University students, both Hudson Lane and Vijay Nagar have become a hotbed of cafes and restaurants in the past few years, catering to hungry stomachs and constructive debates (as no meal is complete without discussing life, politics and studies) . When I had first come here, I was amazed at how plethoric the options were for eating out but the cuisine was only restricted to Italian and Indian. How diverse the options have become is a true reflection of how diverse the locality is. From Italian and Mexican to Moroccan, Marathi and Rajasthani to Manipuri and Naga, North Indian to South Indian and Chinese and Korean to Tibetan and Bhutanese, this place has become a gastronomical hotspot never ceasing to amaze its inhabitants.
Here is a simple guide to eating in Hudson Lane and Vijay Nagar.
Some pointers to keep in mind as you plan a trip:
- Half a day is sufficient for exploring this hip district with its quirky cafes and varied food.
- There’s an option to take a refreshing walk in the jungles of the northern ridge near Delhi University.
- There is a beautiful park inside the ridge where many people pass their time walking around, chit chatting as well as exercising. However, beware of monkeys.
- Coming out of GTB Nagar Metro Station from Gate no. 3, start following the road to Patel Chest and Delhi University.
- After 5mins you will cross a T point and just a few paces from there you will see an Axis Bank.
- Take a left from the Bank and walk straight. An array of eateries, positioned haphazardly, will greet you.
Perhaps this is the best way to start a day in this part of the city. Breakfast at the DDA Market is quintessentially north-Indian. The options vary from soft ‘melt-in-the mouth’ Rajma Chawal with its a distinct aroma that entices from a mile away, to heavily stuffed paranthas. Everything has to be followed by strong ‘masala chai’. The market is also known for the wholesome vegetarian thalis which are healthy and filling. Pocket-friendly prices (meals here are priced at just Rs50-80/dish) and soul-satisfying home-like food is what has made this a regular evening hangout or ‘addas’ for the college students.
A left from DDA Market and a few steps towards the NDPL Office, Shagun is famous for serving authentic Chinese fare since 2011. It is immensely popular for its Single/Double Person Jumbo Platters, so a lunch here is a must. The platters are happiness-inducing, generous meals, much like a thali in the context of Indian food. A typical platter consists of starters – a healthy and flavor-some soup (either Sweet Corn or Manchow) and a choice of either dumplings (fried/steamed and heavily stuffed) or won-tons as starters. This is followed by either Fried rice or Hakka noodles, depending on what you prefer, accompanied by perfectly balanced and succulent Chili Chicken or Chicken Manchurian (non-vegetarian) as the main course. Priced at Rs 255(Single)/ Rs 425(double) only, this is a meal that can easily feed two to three hungry stomachs.
A few paces from Shagun, the Big Yellow Door greets a line of customers queuing to get inside. Sometimes, it takes half an hour to get a table indicating how hugely popular it has become since it opened its doors in 2013. I still remember the first time I had entered this quaint and cozy little place, alive with the subtle murmur of students and families alike, with strains of classical rock playing in the background. The food totally blew me over and that love story has only blossomed on. The soft, silky and creamy white sauce Arrabiata pasta, the immensely tender patty of the Chicken Juicy Burger and the crunchy Mexican Nachos ..ah.. Mam-a-Mia! It has been 4 years now and I’m yet to be disappointed. Equally good for appetizers as well as for main course, it has patrons who drive all the way from Gurgaon to experience the food!
Whenever I go out to eat at Hudson Lane, I make it a point to get some good dessert separately (not in the same restaurant) as the options are more diverse that way. I had stumbled upon Bake Lane while coming back from a scrumptious dinner at Big Yellow Door. This tiny place had caught my eye due to its old English style ambiance and fragrant smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls coming out from the chimney. It had opened only a couple of days back but was already packed with people munching on some really soft and buttery pastries with piping hot coffee. Creamy Crème Brulee and Banoffee pie are personal favorites.
- Take a rickshaw from Bake Lane and ask the puller to drop you at Double Storey Mother Diary.
- Vijay Nagar starts right from the Double Storey Mother Dairy.
- Opposite to Mother Dairy, some interesting eateries wait to be explored.
Mr. Crust Bakers, opposite Double Storey Mother Dairy in Vijay Nagar, offers some of the finest bakery products since 2010. Sweet and buttery croissants that melt at first bite, freshly baked thick-crust Apple Pie, soft and creamy red velvet cupcakes, subtly tangy Lemon Tarts, hot doughnuts, fresh fruit pudding, delicious birthday cakes and pastries with flavors such as fresh fruit, KitKat, Oreo, red velvet, dark forest, butterscotch, dark chocolate etc come highly recommended. Savory dishes such as thick-crust double-decker cheese pizza, spicy mushroom plait, wholesome brown bread club sandwiches and more, this place has it all. And with prices from just Rs.3! No wonder it is always jam-packed.
A stone’s throw away from Mr. Crust Bakery, the aroma of curry leaves enters my nose. I catch a glimpse of Dosa Hut, my favorite place for South Indian food. Opened recently in January 2017, this place has become very popular in no time, mainly due to its very thin crispy dosas and wholesome uttapams. Perfect for for an evening snack with friends.
Sit down at Organic Kitchen for a proper ‘ghar ka khana’ meal. The ‘Organic’ is not for advertisement sake as the vegetables here are actually grown in the owner’s organic farm, an achievement that calls for wholehearted applause. Made with less oil and minimal spices, this place has become the go-to place for a healthy lunch or dinner. With such simple, healthy food it’s easy to feel right at home here.
Enter gate no. 2 in Vijay Nagar Double Storey, walk a few paces and a unique sign board on the left catches the eye – Kanglei Fast Food. ‘Kanglei’ is the historic name of Manipur. For anyone who has never tasted Manipuri delicacies, this is a great place to start. Hot and pungent Eromba – mashed potatoes with dried fish, King Chilly – succulent Pork curry cooked with sour bamboo shoots, sweet and creamy Ooti – lentils cooked with soda, tangy Fish curry and more, the dishes here are unique and offer a gastronomical insight into Manipur’s culture. The food is nominally priced and finger-licking good.
That’s Hudson Lane and Vijaya Nagar for you. Food that warms the insides, desserts that have you asking for more in an environment that is young and festive all year round, thanks to the students who call this area home.