Green Mantis in New Delhi’s Khan Market strays away from the regular Asian cuisine found in the capital city by offering an-all vegetarian menu, complete with flavours of Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Japan, and more. By Bayar Jain
It’s been long since I’ve visited Khan Market, a popular place in New Delhi where all the latest restaurants, shops, and cafes spring up. One humid afternoon, a signature weather of the capital city, I decide to break this dry spell with a brunch at Green Mantis. And, spoiler alert, it’s a happy respite!
Nestled amid the by-lanes of Khan Market, perched on the first floor, a step into Green Mantis silences the market’s buzz the moment I enter. Wood panelled walls adorned with small, square frames line the stairs; beyond which, at the seating area, colourful fabrics border the walls. The love for all things green is obvious at first glance. Potted plants soar against the corners, upholstered wooden chairs and sofa make the seating, and vibrant nature-inspired paintings stand out against the white bricked wall. And, of course, a prominent green mantis painting, too, completes the cosy space. I choose a seat by the window, from where I can see the buzz below while also soaking in the zen surrounding me.
As is common for any summer meal in Delhi, I begin by ordering drinks: Green Mango Togarashi and Green Apple and Cucumber. While the latter, a ginger-ale-based drink wakes my taste buds with its fruity undertones; the former, for me, emerges victorious. The tangy aam panna drink comes with a umami twist of Japan’s togarashi flakes which lend the concoction a sweet, toasty, almost-Earthy flavour profile. As I sip onto the tart icy-drink, Chef Honey Mishra, Green Mantis’ consulting chef, swerves by for a quick chat.
The USP here, I’m told, is crafting internationally renowned cuisines that celebrate locally-sourced ingredients, and seasonal and organic produce for complete authenticity. “We even make our own in-house variations of fish sauce and oyster sauce, using plant-based ingredients,” Chef Mishra chirps. The friendly staff pitches in. They reveal that while Delhi has many Asian restaurants, almost none of them offer an all-plant menu. Green Mantis, I’m told, wishes to stand out as an exception.
With an alluring introduction such as this, my itch to start sampling their multi-page menu heightens. Chef Mishra, seemingly understanding this want, begins my feast with small plates galore: Laphing, Tibetan cold mung bean rolls with a crunchy peanut butter paste stuffing as a twist; Malaysian Okra, sweet onion sambal stuffed ladyfingers; Saigon Roll, Vietnamese rolls with glass noodles, pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs; Pumpkin Pot Sticker, dim sums stuffed with curried pumpkin and cream cheese; Tiger Roll sushi, a Japanese delicacy encased in mango, avocado, and wakame; Lo Han, a bok choy crystal dumpling stuffed with asparagus, beans, scallions, and edamame; Hanoi Roll, glass noodle fried paper rolls housing banana blossoms; Scallion Potato Pancakes, served with Char siu lotus stem and chilli scallion relish; and Mixed Citrus and Crisp Noodle Salad, a bowl of crisp soba, pomelo, grapefruits, mandarin, chilli lime, and peanuts.
Although the overall flavour profile of each dish swings towards the sweet side, a delicate mix of unique ingredients in each adds to its experimental avatar. My favourites? The Hanoi Roll, for its delicious use of banana blossoms paired with spicy sauces; Mixed Citrus and Crisp Noodle Salad, for its cleverly-crafted tangy flavours cut generously by the crunch of the roasted peanuts and soba noodles that compel me to go for more; and Lo Han, for its thin, translucent yet perfectly-steamed dumpling casing which bites into fresh greens packed with immense flavours.
For mains, an equally-filling—if not more—array of dishes beeline towards my table. The Sri Lankan Pumpkin Stew, served with logs of ground rice layered with coconut, is a happy surprise. The hearty bowl is warming with the interplay of pumpkin and coconut leaving me pleasantly surprised. The Indonesia Jackfruit Rendang, too, creates a similar feeling. The dry curry pairs well with the Roti canai, a flatbread akin to the laccha paratha. The fresh cucumber pickle served as an accompaniment is crunchy, tasty, and flavoursome—both, with the dish and as a stand-alone snack. The Nasi Goreng, a dish from Malaysia, is served true to its nostalgic village style. The spicy mushrooms marry well with the sago cracker, while the fried rice itself is cooked to perfection.
Unsurprisingly, I’m stuffed by now. Unable to make room for even a sip of water, Chef Mishra refuses to let me leave without a taste of their desserts. My sweet tooth gives in. Luckily, the mango and sticky rice pudding is as light and refreshing as can be. Served in a glass, I scoop the cold sugary goodness, savour the flavours of the coconut milk, and slip into a food coma.
Where: Shop number 19, First Floor, Middle Lane, Khan Market
Timings: 12 noon – 10:30 pm
Meal for Two: INR 1,600 (exclusive of taxes)
Call: +91 9999969713