Address: Bikaner House, Near India Gate, Pandara Road Market, New Delhi, Delhi NCR India
Time: 8 AM – 10 PM
Meals for two: Rs. 800
Cuisines: Cafe, Bakery, Desserts
Facilities: Outdoor Seating, Live Music, Desserts and Bakes
L’Opéra Salon De Thé, Pandara Road Market, New Delhi: Decor
If you’ve seen the glass pyramid at the Louvre, Paris, designed by IM Pei, you’ll have an a-ha moment when you walk into the superb corner at the back of Bikaner House. It is now a branch of L’Opera, the patisserie that has been winning awards ever since its inception seven years ago. This one is a cafe-cumpatisserie, with outdoor seating, a high-ceilinged room that could be anywhere in Paris with one wall covered with a mirror that has been inspired by the glass structure at the Louvre and a menu that includes soup, baked goods that appear to be baked a la minute, coffee, tea and every flavor of éclair, tart, macaron and mousse that you can dream of. This branch of L’Opera is the best way to introduce a friend to the culture of Delhi (no, it’s not an oxymoron!) as it is in the art gallery and museum district and Khan Market is barely a couple of kilometers away. There are usually exhibitions in Bikaner House itself, so the dainty cafe rounds off a visit admirably.
L’Opéra Salon De Thé, Pandara Road Market, New Delhi: Food
Depending on what you order, it is top class or merely okay. Let me explain that. Anything that has to be baked, whether sweet or savory, is where L’Opera is at the top of their game. The croquet monsieur (Rs. 390) is a ham and cheese sandwich grilled to perfection so that the toast is golden and crusty, the cheese is melting and the ham is moist. It is an art that has long been perfected in cafes all over Paris; to achieve it here is laudable. Under the heading feuillete which means ‘leaves’ as the tiny leaf-like crumbs of a croissant or puff pastry are poetically referred to, one can order a puff pastry with a filling of chicken and leek (Rs. 310), vegetable (Rs. 280) or salmon and cream (Rs. 340). Delightfully crisp, flaky and hugely messy to eat with tiny leaves fluttering everywhere, it was the highlight of my evening at L’Opera, next only to the superb salted caramel éclair (Rs. 185).
L’Opéra Salon De Thé, Pandara Road Market, New Delhi: Plus & Minus
The pumpkin soup was a huge disappointment, having more proprietory flavoring agents than pumpkin or indeed any vegetable. And the staff is a cheerless, clueless bunch.