On a chilly February evening, my partner and I decided to dip our toes into the expansive and luxurious dining offerings of Ambawatta One, a dining/shopping complex in Mehrauli that is dimly lit by warm light bulbs, the perfect setting for an intimate dinner. Our destination – Kakapo.
The elegant restaurant and bar strikes you with its breathtaking decor, to which a faux tree, right in the center of the space, adds a mystical ambiance. The branches, from which hang small lamps, join the various elements of the restaurant-bar; its floor-to-ceiling windows, plush sofas and armchairs, and gorgeous bar add depth, leading us to our nook for the evening on its outdoor terrace that mimics that warmth indoors despite the freezing winters we were in until the knees.
Kakapo, which opened to customers in 2020, is the brainchild of Randeep Singh Bajaj, Tanushree and Arushi Gupta. Named after a rare New Zealand nocturnal bird of the same name, the restaurant’s inspiration from nature is evident from its interiors to its international cuisine. We ordered drinks from the bar – I opted for Rosemary, a Rose rum drink infused with avocado and mashed sapodilla and rosemary pomegranate cordial while my partner had a taste of coffee, a whiskey with amaro (a homemade herbal liqueur) and coffee kombucha. I was delighted to see the server come to our table and light some twigs in my glass, leaving the drink fragrant with hints of rosemary.
At Kakapo, chef Honey Mishra concocts one delicious plate after another of food, starting with a palate cleanser of banana, kale and beetroot chips with suspended curd cream. As we peruse the menu while sipping our drinks, dishes like spicy jerk quail, Vietnamese rice paper rolls and Norwegian salmon ceviche piqued our interest. First to arrive was Crispy Chicken Dimsums, dunked in a chili broth that was the right kind of sweet and spicy. We also dug into the Beer Fish and Chips – the crispy exterior hides the perfect blend of flavors. At Kakapo, the highlight of the menu are their signature sushi rolls, which are lactose-free. We pick, Ebi Tempura, and the succulent prawns, rolled up in maki, sing on our palate. For those who like their sushi without protein, Shiitake, Asparagus, Cucumber and Avocado sushi are also offered.
For mains, we go for the pork spare ribs, cooked nicely over a bourbon barbecue and served with blooming onions, which is quite filling. Peking duck, which lost out to pork ribs by a small margin when it came to choosing one, is also a hit with customers here. The main courses filled us up, but our friendly server convinced us to stretch and try their blueberry cheesecake, which in hindsight was the least impressive offering on the table. Nevertheless, the resto-bar won us over with its hospitality and a definite menu that is a melting pot of influences from Asian cuisine.
A fine addition to Mehrauli’s quaint lanes, Kakapo’s eclectic cocktails, imaginative appetizers and luxurious open space make it a worthy contender for the capital’s pan-Asian eateries.