Soho Bistro & Cafe, Saidulajab

Head to Soho Bistro only if, like us, you too possess a warped sense of self-pitying humor and tolerance for kind-hearted disasters. Very, very far from the SoHo your friends are currently posting photos of from sunny New York  – both geographically and culturally – this bistro, located in the new hipster part of Delhi, is shaky even in its derivative form.

The restaurant is easy to find, and the owner, who personally answers our call for directions, is helpful from this interaction to the very end. We follow her word and are led to a spot right next to Rose Café, where too-big, all-caps letters SOHO scream, and a charming doorman is quick to expose us to a full floor seating area, followed by an indoor dining space and a pleasant outdoor zone.

There’s no question that plenty time and money has been spent in to creating the textbook homely vibe – Jenga and Monopoly are on hand, fairy lights adorn the plants, a vertical garden is meticulously planned. Alas, with this far-flung lower Manhattan aspiration – assuming that is the goal – the journey is bumpy, and the flight may be re-routed. The hostess though, let us reiterate, is kind to the brim still, tweaking temperatures, furniture, music, anything – as long as it makes her guests comfortable.

We find ourselves flipping through a three page menu, and for the first time, think the selection is too edited. Meanwhile, we note a group of hookah smoking girls and wonder whether conversation, jenga and juice – not a Sunday evening bite – is really what we’re supposed to be here for.

Probably. Because the food, minus a decent black bean burger, is way off the mark. Lotus chips that come out with our not-bad fresh watermelon juices have a strange aftertaste (‘it’s the oil,’ our fellow diner says). Huevos rancheros are served with all the right things – salsa, chips, and so on – except the chips are out of a Doritos bag, and the salsa coats all of them in advance, creating a sog fest. This results in us dividing the bean burger and cutting through each kidney bean equally, as a sign of friendship and the ability to compromise. This ain’t Spring Street.

By the end of our meal, we’ve sung to Coldplay’s Yellow without meaning to and thanks to the nice wait staff, reminded ourselves about the positive things the place has going on. The best is a large tree that pours in to the outdoor garden, which is really enough of a reason to keep the place, but maybe just change the imagined destination. We feel like we’ve lost our bags, gotten nowhere, but have no one to be angry at.

Getting there: Soho Bistro and Café, Khasra 264, Westend Marg, Saidulajab, a meal for two costs around Rs 1300.

Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible with great bathrooms.

bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.  

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