On a chilly February evening, my partner and I decided to dip our toes in the expansive and luxurious culinary offerings at Ambawatta One, a dining/shopping complex in Mehrauli that is dimly lit by warm bulbs, the perfect setting for an intimate dinner. Our destination - Kakapo.
The elegant restaurant and bar strikes you with its stunning decor, to which a faux tree, right in the centre of the space, adds a mystical vibe. The branches, from which hang small lamps, joins the different elements of the resto-bar its floor to ceiling windows, plush sofas and chairs, and a gorgeous bar add depth, leading us to our corner for the evening on its outdoor terrace that mimics that warmth inside in spite of the bone-chilling winters we were knee deep in.
Kakapo, which opened its doors to patrons in 2020, is the brainchild of Randeep Singh Bajaj, Tanushree and Arushi Gupta. Named after a rare nocturnal bird from New Zealand by the same name, it is evident that the restaurant takes inspiration from nature, from its interiors to its international cuisine. We ordered drinks from the bar - I opted for Rosemary, a nippy Rose rum drink infused with avocado and sapodilla puree and rosemary pomegranate cordial while my partner took a liking to Coffee, a whiskey with amaro (a homemade herbal liquor) and coffee kombucha. I was delighted to find the server come to our table and light up twigs in my glass, leaving the drink fragrant with notes of rosemary.
At Kakapo, chef Honey Mishra whips up one delicious plate of food after another, starting with a palate cleanser made of Banana, Kale and Beetroot chips with a hung-curd cream. As we skim the menu while sipping on our drinks, dishes like Jerk Spiced Quail, Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls and Norwegian Salmon Ceviche piqued our interest. The first to arrive was Crispy Chicken Dimsums, dipped in a chilli broth that was the right kind of sweet and spicy. We also dug into Beer Battered Fish and Chips - the crunchy exterior hides the perfect blend of flavours. At Kakapo, the cynosure of the menu are their signature sushi rolls, which are lactose free. We take our pick, Ebi Tempura, and the succulent prawns, rolled into maki rolls, sing on our palate. For those who like their sushi sans protein, there are Shiitake, Asparagus, Cucumber and Avocado sushi on the offer as well.
For mains, we opt for Pork Short Ribs, done well on a bourbon barbeque and served with blooming onions, which is quite filling. Peking Duck, which lost to the pork ribs by a small margin when it came down to choosing one, is also a hit with patrons here. The mains left us satiated, but our kind server convinced us to stretch ourselves and sample their blueberry cheesecake, which in hindsight was the least impressive offering on the table. Nonetheless, the resto-bar won us over with its hospitality, and a definitive menu which is a melting pot of asian cuisine influences.
A beautiful addition to the quaint lanes of Mehrauli, Kakapo&rsquos eclectic cocktails, imaginative appetisers and a luxurious open space make it a worthy competitor to pan-asian restaurants in the capital.