Since the ’50s, the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) has been one of Delhi’s premier cultural institutions engaging with the public with its storeyed collections of Amrita Sher-Gils, Raja Ravi Varmas and Jamini Roys. Nestled within Jaipur House on Pandara Road, the museum has recently opened up another meaningful conversation with the public—this time through food.
NGMA director Temsunaro Tripathi says that on average, people spend three to four hours at a stretch, exploring the museum and doing the rounds of ongoing exhibitions. “But it gets very tiring. So, visitors would like to have a break and relish some food. Earlier, they had to go outside to eat and then return to the gallery. We have eliminated this inconvenience for our visitors with the new restaurants,” she says.
The Jaipur House courtyard now houses three new restaurants, including two fine-dining outlets. Amoda, which serves traditional Indian food, and The Saddle House, which offers a Continental and Pan-Asian menu. The third, Café Green Lane, provides meals at pocket-friendly rates.
Neha Gupta, partner at The Jaipur House Courtyard, tells TNIE that the kitchen is common for all three outlets operated by a single team consisting of head chefs and sous chefs. “Between the three, we have attempted to cover all palates,” she says. TMS did a tour of the Courtyard to experience the concept of artful dining.
Our first stop was Café Green Lane, an all-day café serving everyday food from the streets of India. The ambience – with bamboo lights hanging down from the ceiling, the pastel shades on the walls, and the artwork – is welcoming and comforting.
“As I relish this crispy samosa and papdi chaat with a classic mint beverage in this vibrant ambience, it rekindles my fond memories of authentic street delights,” says Salil Arora, a visitor, who took a pit stop in the restaurant before going back to the Roots and Routes exhibition, which showcases cultural artefacts through various mediums of archaeology, literature, numismatics, epigraphy and paintings.
The menu at Café Green Lane includes bread pakoda, matar kulcha, paneer tikka, idli, dosa, uttapam, gol gappa and the very popular vegetarian thali. Operational from 10am to 8pm, sous chef Kapil Kumar says it receives the maximum footfall among the three restaurants “due to the diverse menu and quick service”.
After finishing our cappuccino at Café Green Lane, we headed to the traditional food outlet, Amoda. The soft beats of tabla were audible from afar setting the mood right for a cultural experience. From gorgeous shamadans to Jain paintings, the Amoda aesthetics transports you to the dining hall of a Maharaja, as it were.
Stepping inside is like walking into a palace, where the warm beige and rich shades of red breathe life into the walls, evoking regal feasts in an ambience of elegance.Gupta explains: “Amoda weaves a tapestry of flavours inspired by the Golden Triangle of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. Each dish tells a story of centuries-old recipes passed down through generations, invoking the vibrant heritage of the region.”Amoda serves traditional food like Damka Paneer, Mirchi Tikka, Fateh Ki Kachori, Jodhpuri Mirchi Vada, and Rajasthani Lal Maas.
Just classics, no fusion
Separated from Amoda through foldable doors is The Saddle House—a black and white flooring and a non-alcoholic bar, common to both, gives the two restaurants a unified identity.Inspired by British architecture, The Saddle House has bright orange walls and features a mix of Chinese, Japanese and European artworks.
Its menu has classics. Advait Talwar, a visitor, says he loves the restaurant’s minestrone soup. “They have not diverted from the authentic recipe and I think that is the beauty of this place,” he adds. The Saddle House also serves authentic Lasagna, Parmigiana di Melanazane, and raviolis that showcase culinary craftsmanship, transforming dining into an enchanting voyage.
Gupta believes that classics are always a winner. “Though many restaurants are working on fusion, I believe fusion has a shorter shelf life. Trends come and go, but classic food remains forever. While briefing the chef I was very clear that no fusion, we should stick to the basics. As NGMA is a heritage building, I wanted our menu also to be on the same line,” she adds.Both the fine-dining restaurants – Amoda and The Saddle House –is open to visitors from 12:30pm to 10pm.