Rooftop cafes in Old Delhi catch diners’ fancy

One would even get a view of the majestic domes of the iconic Jama Masjid, the entire Chandni Chowk market and the ambience of the old-style havelis.

Published: 04th June 2023 08:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th June 2023 08:55 AM   |  A+A-


Gumbad Café in Aiwane-Shahi hotel, opposite Jama Masjid. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Gone are the days when people used to visit Jama Masjid or Chandni Chowk to enjoy the Naan-Korma Biryani or the jalebis and daulat ki chaat. Now, people visit the new rooftop and glass case cafes to have leisure time and get a taste of Chinese, Italian or continental cuisines. 

There is an emerging café culture in Old Delhi where the idea is to offer the same ambience as one would find in South Delhi cafes.  One would even get a view of the majestic domes of the iconic Jama Masjid, the entire Chandni Chowk market and the ambience of the old-style havelis.

Among the most popular cafes is Gumbad Café in Aiwane-Shahi Hotel, opposite gate number 3 of Jama Masjid. You may hear people calling it a ‘Mini Turkey’ because of the sitting arrangement. The café offers authentic Mughlai and continental food followed by mocktails and herbal sheesha.

Besides, one could see the Sis Ganj Sahib Gurudwara and Red Fort from it’s terrace. Manager at the Gumbad café- Nadeem Khan said, “Our idea was to offer a luxury sitting in Old Delhi and a view which people will cherish. We open the café after 7 pm such that there can be no hurdle to the namazis during the day. Also during the azaan at night, we make sure that the music is stopped.”

Meanwhile, The Minar Café, a rooftop café on the fifth floor on the top of Kallan Sweets- has been getting a similar response. Started by Tayyaba Waseem in November last year, the Minar Café offers a panoramic view of the Jama Masjid. The owner, Tayyaba said, “I had this property for 12 years and I planned to transform it into a café. Our café has become like a photo spot for many.”

With an aim to offer the shoppers a place where they can sit and relax and have the view of the hustle bustle in the Chandni Chowk Market at the same time, The Chowk Café at the entry of the Ballimaran Market is the only café offering multiple cuisines. 

“The whole idea behind opening up a café in the middle of an extremely busy market was to give people time to relax. We have an air conditioned and glass case space for people to enjoy the view while they have our authentic Mughlai food along with Chinese and Continental,” said the owner Mohammad Saif.
Another Old Delhi café offering donuts, waffles, coffees pastas, pizzas and chicken garlic bread is ‘The Ebony café’ in Chawri Bazar- Pai Walan.

Also, some havelis as old as 250 years old situated in the congested lanes of Old Delhi are being restored to offer exclusive space for performing arts, and workshops and interactive panels are being used as cafes to have people who admire culture and heritage.  

One such example is the Lakhori cafe at Haveli Dharampura. The décor and ambience is reflective of the rich Indian culture and so is the food, but nothing beats the view from the terrace, where one get to see the Gurudwara, Jama Masjid, Jain Temple and Red Fort.

Kathika is another unique museum and cultural centre in Imli Mohalla in Sita Ram Bazar. It showcases the diverse cultural heritage of Old Delhi. The Haveli-19th century building has been preserved and equipped to invite people to relish the ambience of ‘Purani Dilli’. 


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