Cute, chic, and casual, Café StayWoke is your neighbourhood café except with state-of-the-art recipes conceptualised by chef and food entrepreneur Tarun Sibal. By Rashima Nagpal
I belong to the crowd that believes that you cannot separate the art from the artist. And that if you’ve known the artist, your experience of the art is going to differ—for better or for worse. In the case of Café StayWoke, it only gets better.
The brainchild of tech graduates Abhinav Aggarwal and Manali Guha, and Chef Tarun Sibal, Café StayWoke is a modern restaurant with a fascinating menu. Think Firdaus—green tea infused with saffron, cardomom, marigold, and coocksomb flowers; asparagus and carrot ribbons salad; ratatouille pav bhaji; ragi upma; olive oil prawns; chicken parmigiana; fried ravioli; and an elaborate breakfast menu of eggs, pancakes and more. Hold on—the almond frappe, turmeric and elaichi doodh, peanut butter malt, and the mango and chilli mojito deserve your attention, too. With such an elaborate menu that is also seasonally evolving, the possibilities at Café StayWoke are endless, really.
Perhaps that’s the idea behind ‘collaborative cuisine’–Sibal’s signature style of cooking. “Fusion is a bastardised word,” he says, “when you’re bringing together two kinds of cuisines, the outcome must stay true to both yet outshine the original idea. It has to be something exemplary.” Without exaggerating, most dishes that I sampled at Café StayWoke turned out to be just that.
Before the food, the millennial setup at Café StayWoke wins your heart. Pops of candy blue, a swing for seating, and murals are just some of the elements that lend the café its happy feeling. A personal favourite is the corner labelled ‘hole to another universe’–a circular window that lets you peek into the restaurant’s kitchen. Better still, get inside to see what’s cooking, like I did!
Turns out, Sibal wasn’t bluffing about his obsessive habits in the kitchen. Not only is it one of the cleanest commercial kitchens I’ve ever come across, Sibal has also carefully designed it to best utilise the compact space. He gets his hands on the fire and cooks us StayWoke’s special biryani fried rice.
Raising the bar of ‘cafe’ food, the “gourmet casual” cuisine at Cafe StayWoke is a step further in the direction of modern gastronomy. But don’t let Sibal’s schmancy words and eccentric look let you believe otherwise; at heart, he’s just a Delhi boy who loves his food. He still likes his poori chole from Chawri Bazar’s Standard Sweets, chole bhature from CL Corner in Moti Nagar, and fondly remembers the chaat from Bittu Tikkiwaala’s original ‘redi’ in Ranibagh, before it formed a brigade. “There was a time when there was no looking further than Café Morrison, Blues, or Turquoise Cottage for a glass of beer in Delhi. But times are always changing,” he adds.
Address: 104, South Point Mall, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon, Haryana-122002
Reservations: +91 7703929965
Hours: 9:00 AM to 10:30 PM