I barely ever visit Shahpur Jat. And this despite living 2 minutes away. I went to a few boutiques a bunch of times while shopping for my wedding trousseau; and I have gone all of 2 times for a meal at The PotBelly Rooftop Café and Kitchen. Beyond that; I am a complete SPJ novice.
Shahpur Jat is an urban village in the Siri Fort area of South Delhi; the remains of Delhi’s third city of the Khilji dynasty. A few years ago, there was hardly anything here; just a few odd stores scattered about. Today, the place is emerging for certain. It is in fact in the middle of a transformation. As my brother and I walked through the winding maze, the dust from the restoration work tickled our noses, and there were broken stones and rubble everywhere; but despite this, the potential was almost discernible.
The purpose of our visit was to explore the Shahpur Jat Open house, in its third installment apparently. The idea of this Open House was to celebrate New Delhi’s Most Creative Area for Fashion, Design, Home Décor, Art, Food & Music. Usually closed on Sundays, Shahpur Jat has been hosting these Open Houses since last year; with a whole lot of participating stores, boutiques, restaurants, galleries, etc, throwing open their doors to visitors this past Sunday.
Not only were there discounts and special offers at most of the stores we walked into; but there were colourful Kiosks lining the lanes; and there were street artists. Like these.
The narrow lanes of the village are confusing and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t get lost more than once. But each participating store had copies of these specially designed maps to guide us perplexed visitors.
We built up quite an appetite meandering through the lanes, but there were a whole lot of food kiosks and pop-up Bake Sales to keep us going.
This colourful reindeer was welcoming passersby into the Wishing Chair.
Aah, The Wishing Chair. Why have I never been here before? A collection of some of the most wonderfully fun home accessories I have ever seen under one roof. I bought gifts for my mother, as well as a Karva Chauth* gift for my mother-in-law.
At the back of The Wishing Chair is located The Mad Teapot, their in-house cafe, which ordinarily stocks vegetarian food items with cute fairy-tale names such as the Enchanted Forest Salad, Moon-face Madness, and The Naughty Pixie. But for the Open House, it was host to a Pop-Up Bake Sale. We tried a chocolate cupcake with Vanilla frosting from here.
Along with a Cranberry Iced-Tea.
Taking a break from the first course, we explored some more of the stores; eventually making our way to Les Parisiennes.
I had heard so much about the Café here, all good things. But I’ll be honest. I was a bit disappointed with the food. The place is fantastic, it feels like you are stepping into a different world altogether, it is so very multi-cultural. Housed in a Haveli (private mansion), it is one part vintage boutique, one part French Café. I browsed through the colourful clothes and funky jewellery in the store at the front, and then made my way to the cafe at the back, where my brother had luckily managed to get us a table.
The Cafe was packed and old-school. You have to hover around, observe the progress of fellow patrons’ through their meal, and grab a table for yourself the moment someone vacates. Their menu differs every day, and perhaps it was an extraordinarily busy afternoon for them, but the food was completely cold and the service was quite slow (they also pretty much forgot to return my Credit Card at the end of the meal, till I had to walk up to the counter and remind them myself).
I really did not enjoy the Vegetables and Gouda Sandwich. But they were selling like hot cakes so maybe I should just accept the fact that I personally do not like Baguettes.
This Quiche however, with zucchini and ricotta, was actually quite nice.
And I had a cup of coffee to go with it.
It was a day well spent: shopping, eating, exploring and enjoying with my brother; he was visiting after many many months and it was a great way to catch up.
If you want to attend the next Open House, follow the page here to stay updated.
* Karva Chauth is an annual festival celebrated in North India by Hindu women, in which married women fast from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands.