New In Delhi: Restaurants Inspired By Japanese Izakaya Bars, Tuscan Dining And More

  • 20 Jun '23
  • 11:57 am by Manisha AR

Our roundup of new fine dining selections in Delhi spotlight the joie de vivre of experiencing fusion cuisines that bring together the best of Indian and global offerings. On our list this time, we spotlight two restaurants that introduce Japanese cuisines to Delhi; Chef Adwait Anantwar showcases a fusion between Japanese and Indian at Inja, while Chef David Myers introduces patrons to modern Japanese cuisines with some American twist. The third establishment is a nouveau Italian cafe paying homage to European cuisines and culture.

ADRIFT Kaya features dramatic lighting and opulent furniture crafted by the late Timothy Oulton. Image credits: ADRIFT Kaya

#1 ADRIFT Kaya at JW Marriott Aerocity

Modern Japanese cuisine refers to Japanese foods adapted and reinvented with Western influences. At ADRIFT Kaya, gypsy Chef David Myers serves up Japanese food with hints of the American West Coast at his India outpost. Myers goes by the moniker ‘gypsy chef’ to reflect his nomadic nature that constantly drives him to create immersive experiences in every restaurant he heads. In fact, ADRIFT is a larger project by the Michelin-starred chef that creates culinary experiences around the globe.

ADRIFT Kaya is a reflection of Chef Myer’s long-standing affair with Japanese Izakaya Bars. Image credits: ADRIFT Kaya

With ADRIFT Kaya at Aerocity he is able to share his long-standing interest in Tokyo’s Izakaya Bars. In Japan, these are usually informal bars where people gather after work for a quick drink and bar snacks. The space has been designed by Timothy Oulton Studios and features many designs by the late British designer Timothy Oulton. He was known for his vintage aesthetic of curios, opulent textures, and dramatic lighting. ADRIFT is a lovely middle ground between Oulton’s dramatic textures and Chef Myer’s nomadic interests of bringing Japanese bar culture to fine dining in New Delhi.

Minimalist Japanese designs meet opulent Indian traditions at Inja. Image Credits: Ananth Kumar for Inja Restaurant

#2 INJA at The Manor Hotel, Friends Colony

A portmanteau of India and Japan, Inja in Delhi reflects a fusion of culture in its menu and ambiance. This concept, supported by Atelier Hospitality and led by Chef Adwait Anantwar, offers a fresh take on fusion cuisine. Dishes on the menu include Alaskan King Crab Raj Kachori, Rasam Chawanmushi, Vindaloo Katsu Sando, and Papad Achar Okonaimasu. The experience of this menu is translated beautifully in the design choices that successfully fuse Indian colours with Japanese decor elements.

The gray stone used for the bar has been sourced from Japan while the vibrant colors are an ode to Mughal traditions. Image Credits: Ananth Kumar for Inja Restaurant

Located at the Manor Hotel in Delhi, the interiors of Inja fuse elements of Japanese interior design with Indian aesthetics through clean lines and vibrant pops of color, bonsai paired with Mughai trinkets, wood colours, and natural stones paired with peacock-colored fabric are some examples. According to Samar Zakhem, the Dubai-based interior designer behind INJA, the space “combines the vivid colors of India with the subtle spirit of Japan”. Both India and Japan have a rich history of textiles, and INJA makes note of it by including Itajime Shibori frameworks in Indian silk in its decor choices.

Cafe Dali’s walls are adorned with Salvador Dali’s paintings to complement the long tables and medieval candlesticks to create the warmth of a cozy European home. Image Credits: Cafe Dali

#3 Café Dali at Lodhi Colony

Cafe Dali exudes the warmth of an Italian home and the charms of a Tuscan meal. Their menu offers patrons authentic Italian food that pushes the menu beyond the regular red and white pasta. Dali’s kitchen makes artisanal pasta and recreates traditional sauces, and its menu includes truffles sourced from parts of Europe.

The tableware, the rustic bookshelf and the dramatic chandelier add an old world charm to this Tuscan inspired establishment. Image Credits: Cafe Dali

The interiors have the warmth and coziness of a European home that feels familiar. Some parts of the space look straight out of a painting with their tall candlesticks and mammoth bookshelf. The creative vision of the space was all done by the owner Prateek Gupta who has been collecting art for several years now. Many of the artifacts and paintings are from his personal collection. The interiors are reminiscent of an Italian restaurant fit to feed a large family. Work by the surrealist painter Salvador Dali adorns the walls. Whether it’s a romantic first date or a celebratory meal with a large group, Cafe Dali has renewed the spirit of modern luxe Cafe culture.