NOSTALGIA

The past can never be outdated as it has our existence rooted in it. The same is true for United Coffee House that have been around since pre-Independence days. This time-tested eatery carry a whiff of nostalgia that never fails to charm its loyal diners. It makes an interesting stop for every traveler looking to get a taste of history and local culture along with lip smacking food. With high-ceilings awash in shades of cream and trimmings of blue, gold murals and Viennese chandeliers, it was an upscale and chic restaurant that served food and coffee that no one else could. Like Cona Coffee, one of the oldest beverage on the menu that still retains its characteristic bold aroma and punch. Or the Keema Samosa, with the rustic taste of peas and keema stuffing and a strong fragrance of whole spices that have been toasted and bruised. Still served with mint chutney and a thick tomato sauce, eat it their platter of assorted pakodas, if you do not mind the finger-kissing oiliness, and a cup or two of tea. But what makes UCH such a landmark in Lutyens’ Delhi is its culinary inheritance. It was the first coffee house to have a multi-cuisine menu — Indian, European and Continental. It was the brand that, perhaps, introduced fusion cooking to Indians.

Their signature Tomato Fish is a creation of Bengali cooks — the Gomes dadas and the Rosarios — who had mastered their craft at the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club, which dates back to 1792. The fish, along with cheese balls, introduced Indians to subtly flavoured cuisine that was never a part of our culinary heritage. Little surprise, then, that UCH once attracted a Mustang driving clientele: the likes of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Hema Malini and MF Hussain flocked to this iconic eatery regularly. In the ‘90s, famous writer Khushwant Singh could be seen at his designated table, next to a row of glass figurines, nursing a grilled chicken sandwich and their signature cold coffee.

United Coffee House holds an important place in the hearts of food lovers in Delhi. The place has retained its pre-independence antiquity and is still frequented by diplomats, bureaucrats and tourists. The indulgent menu, though, has evolved over the years and today offers a plethora of options – from international and Indian classics to the recently added Oriental cuisine.