When Cafe 88 said I was welcome to bring along Chhavi for an afternoon lunch to which I was invited, I guess both the parties didn’t know what we were signing in for. If I have to go to Delhi I usually take the metro. With Chhavi after two stations I start counting how many remain! Thankfully from Jorbag metro station Cafe 88 is not far away and the gentle auto driver knew the exact location. However, within two minute of getting inside, I was on high alert.
You see, Cafe 88 is a fine dining place. When we were seated, the table was full of delicate things. My fondest hope now was to get out of the place in the end without breaking anything. I was also dead sure it was not possible without a high alert on my part. We ordered our drinks, me a pineapple juice and she a sprite. I went with nachos thinking she might like it. When the drinks arrived mine had ice and hers did not. She them wanted ice in her drink too. So I had to take out a cube from mine and give it to her. The glasses for these drinks were different from the wine glasses you see. Then Chhavi wanted to transfer the sprite from the original glass to the wine glass. By this time I already asked her to come and sit with me on the big comfy sofa. That way I thought I had more control.
I was actually carrying my SLR but it never came out of the handbag. I am so happy that I now have a super camera in my cellphone. There was a window behind my sofa with a plant next to it. For a few minutes she would go and stand there. She might look out of the window or talk to the plant, depending on her mood. Those where the few moments when I could enjoy my meals or click a picture. As she would touch the plant even this scenario was not completely without its perils.
The place has a posh look. It just didn’t make any impact on Chhavi. As I said, it was full of delicate things and she would run on top speed from our table to the wash room, only to come back running to call me as the door was too heavy for her. Every time she sprinted my heart tried to come to my mouth. It is not a very conducive for a peaceful lunch.
When it was time to order soup I was going for broccoli and thyme but she put her finger on Laksa so Laksa it was. It is a coconut flavored Malaysian noodle soup. I am a big fan of coconut. I am really thankful to her that she changed the soup, this one was really good. I asked the server to bring a little for her but in a separate bowl. After three spoons she was more interested in squeezing the lemon wedges that came along with the soup into her Sprite! How can I ever enjoy my meal with so much action going on!
For the main course I went with homemade Ravioli di Fungi, she just wanted some mushrooms. While we were waiting for the dishes she would pick up her knife and fork and tell me how she would cut the mushrooms. Her actions were the stuff of nightmares. I dissuaded her somehow in the end. The plan was to use only the fork.
I was so tired by now that I didn’t even click any pictures of the main course. On one of her runs she picked a toothpick from a side table which had sugar and such stuff. She ate a few of her mushrooms with the toothpick. I was fine with it. About my Ravioli di Fungi, the pasta cheese and mushrooms we excellent. For one woman the portion was quite big, I could not finish it all.
My hopes increased when we reached the dessert stage without breaking anything. However when her ice-cream arrived in that delicate looking flute my concentration from the excellent cheesecake was gone. She then decided to eat the ice-cream too with a toothpick. I managed to find some reserve of patience and convince her once again to use a spoon. She did finish one scoop. I eventually got around to eating my cheesecake. I could only once lick the spoon before she was ready to go.
Thanking our server we took our leave, you can only imagine my relief. We actually made it outside without breaking anything! Cafe 88 is a beautiful place with good food. But it is certainly not a place for a small kid who believes in imitating a baby bull!