Clean food devotees, say hello to Delhi’s latest small plates café

What do you get when one of urban India’s favourite clean brands, Nicobar, collaborates with one of Delhi’s greenest, fine-dining catering companies, CAARA? Their love child: NicoCaara. The capital’s newest integrated eatery, which is neatly planted inside Nicobar’s store at The Chanakya, is slated to open to the public this weekend. And the ladies from CAARA―the same duo that mans the British Council Café, host pop-ups, run a cooking school and conduct culinary workshops―dish out the details behind their latest baby, so you know what to expect of the largely, organic offerings via their evolving, seasonal menu.Tropical coolAt its core, the concept behind the natural light-flooded and planter-filled restaurant is quite simple. “We want to glamourise (or make heroes of) all the locally grown, naturally farmed ingredients at our disposal,” states Alice Mirabel Helme, director at CAARA, who has trained under chef Rachel Allen at Ballymaloe Cookery School. She plans to do this while keeping in theme with the in-store concept of all-things-island.From farm to tableA tapas-style menu is on offer. “Here it’s translated into a meal of small sharing plates, rooted in tropical origin, specifically the countries that skirt the Indian Ocean,” adds Ambika Seth, also director at CAARA and proprietor at FarmLove, a chemical-free vegetable, fruit and herb farm. Vietnamese-style red snapper rubbed with turmeric and dill, then dressed with spiced Nước chấm fish sauce or a Thai-inspired som tam salad fashioned with fresh, smashed avocado as the base.Of mixing and matchingAt NicoCaara, the food is so fresh that the locally-sourced burrata salad will come served with a cape gooseberry salsa that was likely harvested in the morning at Seth’s farm. For dessert, the chocolate and coffee pots are made with a lush Mysore brew blend. The seamless 360 experience in island cool is further layered with indigenous elements like black kadappa stone and brass hanging planters crafted by local artisans, brimming with green ferns. “The stripes on the walls are signature Nicobar as our the shelves for retail. Everything from the in-house designed crockery to cushions in Indian textiles follow the principal philosophy here,” Seth sums up.School of greenAn eatery that doubles as a shop, the team has other plans too when they hit the ground running. Soon, at NicoCaara, guests can sign up for a host of demos, talks and classes to further immerse and educate themselves in the clean living school of thought. According to Helme, “The live kitchen will open up to interactive experiences such as short, live cooking demonstrations on healthy brunches or small plates, classes on detox and nutrition and even talks with farmers on sustainable produce.”Island ahoy!Tipplers, be warned, they’re still waiting on a licence but we’ve been informed that the bar-keep is on woke experimental mode; imagine a jamun (java plum) martini sweetened au naturel Indian-style, with gud (jaggery). But in all honesty, they had us at hello with a menu which allows diners to navigate intolerances, from gluten and dairy to sugar-free. NicoCaara has our attention. How about yours?NicoCaara opens to public on March 25, 2018. Address: DLF, The Chanakya, 215, Second Floor, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. Open from Monday to Sunday: 11am-10pm. Tel: 09599882227