27 June - 3 July 2014 #713

Orange Café

Someplace Else by Matt Miller

For an ambience and décor that enhances an establishment there are two rules of thumb: make a subtle, tough to pinpoint atmosphere, or make it memorable. There is nothing subtle about Orange Café. The walls are orange. Parts of the windows are orange. Even the water canteen is wrapped in an orange covering. Only missing was a room full of Dutch nationals in orange gear watching highlights of Robin Van Persie’s spectacular diving header.

But when the expected food at typical lunchtime eateries is virtually standardised, particularly those which serve students primarily, standing out is half the battle. I ordered an orange juice to start—to blend in. The large selection of momos, chowmein, fried rice and snacks are standard, so ordering from the Orange Specials section was the obvious course of action.

Waiting a healthy amount of time for the sampling of orange specialties allowed for time to notice the other elements of the ambiance and décor.

PICS: BASIL EDWARD TEO

Many restaurants labeled ‘café’, don’t feel welcoming to patrons killing time or getting work done. There were a few people with their laptops using the free Wifi in the seating area with low tables and more common bench-style seating. For a snack and cold drink it is a reasonable place to sit and work undisturbed, if you like the music selection.

A heavy meal of Katy Perry served the hungry customers at our table, and they were ready to roar if they didn’t get their food quickly. And then like a firework, the chicken momo sizzler (Rs 220) erupted to our table, temporarily drowning out the pop superstar. The noisy dish smelled like popcorn near the end of its timer, and steam billowed up from the table. The chicken filling was moist and flavourful, complemented by the slightly browned exterior.

The chicken sizzler (Rs 230) was similarly tasty, but sizzler’s rarely live up to their noisy hype and loud price tag. The thin noodles accompanying each were rather dry and bland, but the main attraction should always carry the show.

In the chicken mood, the special chicken wings (Rs 190) were nothing out of the ordinary. The crispy fried outside and dark meat was tasty, and had no need for the hot sauce on the side. But raving about only four chicken wings per order is an especially difficult task.

The last dish turned out to be the best. The simple kakara aaloo (Rs 90) snack was fried into thin wedges. They were delightfully crispy, but had enough potato in the thin cut covered in the savory sauce to still be easily picked up with each poke from a toothpick.

Unless you’re fascinated by the bright colour, Orange Café is not a cross town destination, but it’s worth stopping by for students and professionals looking for a snack at a welcoming location. It is just up the hill from Hotel Himalaya.

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