Sometimes names are misleading. If I wouldn’t have read earlier about this place I would have visualized Depot 29 as a pub with loud music and average fusion cuisine desperately trying to impress. However, what I got was a small elegant cafe serving Mexican and Western fare that too conceptualized by Chef Ritu Dalmia. The dictionary meaning of the word Depot is ‘a place for the storage of large quantities of equipment, food, or goods’ and number 29 is the pin code of the area in which it is situated. I believe a name that would have described the overall experience of this place would have done wonders.
Depot 29 is spread over two floors. The lower one is designed with a view to engage the guests in live music, which is played occasionally. The seating is intimate and the musical performance becomes more of a personal and interactive experience. A part of the floor was decked up with audio cassette covers to give a retro look to an otherwise minimally decorated diner. No performance was scheduled on the evening I visited, so that section was closed and I had to sit in the dining area on the upper floor which was also very plain, simple and without any frills.
The menu is rather huge with some Mexican starters, a Salad Bar, a Guacamole Bar, a Burger Bar, a Quesadilla Bar, a Taco Bar and a Waffle Bar among others. I was invited there to try its summer specials and was served small portions. Some of the dishes that I really liked include Root Vegetables and Jalapeno Empanadas where the vegetables were cooked brilliantly with all the flavours in-tact. Mexicans use a lot of chillies in their food which the westerners find really hot, but we Indians are used to more potent chillies so this cuisine goes perfectly well with our palate. Still I’m glad they served hung yoghurt dip to go along with it to achieve balance. Pulled Pork and Refried Beans quesadilla, and Grilled Chicken Taco were other delightful dishes. The green salsa served with the Taco was fabulous. What delighted me most was the Asian Chicken Burger which was dripping with teriyaki sauce and wasabi mayonnaise. The Burger Bar really caught my attention. It’s actually quite huge and the chef has played around with many traditional flavours to create quality fusion.
Dishes that I didn’t like much were Chipotle marinated chicken, cheese and jalapeno empanadas where the chicken lacked flavour; and Quinoa salad with pomegranate, mint & pine nuts. Using Quinoa is a good idea as it has a really good texture and is very healthy. But excess use of rocket leaves is not a good idea as it eventually dominates the taste and adds unnecessary bitterness.
We were served two types of waffles. Chocolate Gianduja Waffle with caramelized nuts was fantastic. Crispy, delicate, fluffy, velvety all at the same time and the glossy Gainduja sauce, consisting of chocolate and 30% hazelnut paste, poured over it left me wanting more. Wild Berry Compote Waffle was also good with the underlying layer of wild berries but the accompanying Mascarpone was just too bitter and spoilt the taste of the entire dish.
If I have to recommend Depot 29 to anyone I would definitely recommend it for its amazing burgers. Next time I would like to try their Calcutta Vegetable Cutlet Burger and Mumbai style Vada Burger. Given the ambience of the diner, which falls flat unless live music is playing, the prices are on a higher side.
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Depot 29, B-6/2, Level 2 & 3, (Near HDFC Bank),
Commercial Complex, Safdarjung Enclave,
opposite Deer Park, call 49540029