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Travel + Culture

Delhi Journal (Part II): The Verdict on Veda


A cool, calm, and mostly Italian Diva.

Everyone in Delhi has an opinion about Veda, and most of them are bad. Established by Chef Suvir Saran, who also runs Devi in New York, everyone agrees, scores high on decor. It looks like an Indian boudoir. But the food, and the prices? Delhi matrons throw up their hands in disgust. I went to Veda with low expectations, and consequently, I was pleasantly surprised. The food is modern Indian, tasty and, best of all, light. No Mughlai sauces, no smothering of spices, no fiery chiles that beat the daylights out of your tongue. Service was sympathetic. After I ordered several dishes, my waiter said: "That's too much. Take out the mushroom dish; it's not in season anyway." I would go back. And then there's Diva (think Italian this time), which is located in the popular M Block market, where you can shop for everything from bejeweled shoes to shawls. The cool, minimalist confines of Diva are refreshing after the chaos and cacophony outside. I found the food a trifle too salty, but that may be because Indians prefer it that way. Risottos, pastas, soups, and breads are the staples here. Delhi is a meat-lovers' city, and Bukhara restaurant, therefore, is a shrine. J. P. Singh and the 16 chefs who work under him marinate and cure meats and chicken all day to be served for dinner. No wonder Bill Clinton ate four meals in a row at this restaurant. His daughter, however, has the dubious distinction of having a vegetarian dish named after her: the Chelsea Platter.