UCH Rewind’s momentous milestone is being celebrated with a change in menu with a lot of new additions. Some of these unique recipes date back decades.
One of Delhi’s most iconic restaurant brands – United Coffee House Rewind has completed five years in the business, and is proudly celebrating this fact. On the occasion, Managing Director of the brand, Akash Kalra shares, “The timeless legacy of the United Coffee House, a culinary landmark located in the heart of Delhi for over 80 years, finds a modern tribute in UCH Rewind. Our brand has persevered through the challenging times of the pandemic, and has come out stronger. Now, UCH Rewind invites you to resume your relationship with the brand.”
This momentous milestone is being celebrated with a change in menu with a lot of new additions. Though originally known for offering the Capital’s finest European classics like the Tomato Fish, Chicken a la Kiev, Mushroom Stroganoff, Coq Au Vin and Fillets De Sole ‘Meunier’ as well as traditional regional (North Indian) treasures and Oriental dishes, UCH Rewind’s new menu carries this tradition forward through its elaborate selection of over 400 dishes. Some of these unique recipes date back decades. The large selection of dishes, each created from recipes carefully preserved and guarded over decades, have attracted a steady clientele that stays loyal to the brand over the years.
Kalra, the third generation proprietor of the brand says, “United Coffee House has seen subsequent generations of families visit the restaurant, whether for special occasions or just for a meal out, and they return with their kids and grandkids. We’ve seen potential in-laws bond over dishes as they discuss matrimony, and those same couples return later with their own kids. I believe we remain popular since we retain everything from restaurant favourites like our tomato fish and sizzlers, to our wood-fired oven pizza to our wide selection of regional Indian dishes, and plethora of desserts, accompanied by wines and washed down with bespoke blends of tea.”
For Kalra, UCH Rewind is an amalgamation of classic cuisines from around the world presented with a contemporary flair. He attributes this to the great story behind the establishment. The flagship United Coffee House eatery opened in Connaught Place, New Delhi in 1942, yet it was in the late 1930s that Lala Hans Raj opened the novelty restaurant that became a sensation, Named ‘Esplanade’, it was a 24-hour restaurant where Allied soldiers posted in the Capital ate and enjoyed their free time before departing for the battlefields of World War II.
“In 1942, Lala Hans Raj, a man with an appreciation for the finer things in life as well as someone who knew a good thing when he saw one, ventured into a high vaulted grocery store, cloistered among the colonnades of Connaught Place, and had a vision. Purchasing the store, Lala Hans Raj set about creating his idea of an idyllic café, a place where people of the world could come together to dine as well as converse.
This was helped in no small way by United Coffee House’s extensive and eclectic menu, which collated culinary delicacies from across the world so that everyone from anywhere in the world would find something to enjoy, whether something familiar or something new. Perhaps equally as important was the café’s offering of signature coffee blends, each reflecting a different time and place in the beverage’s storied world history,” says Kalra.
He goes on to highlight that if World War II American soldiers who dined at the Esplanade helped UCH perfect its American offerings, Hans Raj’s British-educated son Gandharv Kumar ushered in its Classic Continental fare, introducing Delhi to dishes that are now ubiquitous such as the likes of sizzlers and grills.
United Coffee House is also responsible for popularising Chinese and Japanese fare. The original UCH holds a special place in the culinary landscape of Delhi, and UCH Rewind has made the brand even more accessible. Kalra shares with candour, “UCH Rewind is the company’s own celebration of that legacy, offering every person from every geography and every generation of every family, a dining experience in chic retro settings with flavours that are timeless.
The greatest pleasure we get from serving our guests is that we can order something for every generation of the family, no matter what their taste buds are looking for. From the meatiest options to vegan, from old classics to new takes, there is something for everybody to enjoy.”
So whether it’s a chilled beer and classic pub fare or mainstay meals from around the world, finished off with a bespoke coffee blend made just for you, UCH Rewind invites you to taste the best of classic cuisines in the most contemporary of ways.”
UCH Rewind boasts a wide array of items to choose from. Starting with soup and salads, one can move on to small sharing plates and large sharing plates. While the former allows you to enjoy many dishes at one go without filling up, they also provide a unique and quirky presentation. The latter are meant for bigger groups and those who are keen to try multiple gastronomical experiences. Appetizers range from tikkas to Chinese finger foods.
The selection that is known as ‘Signatures’ will likely have you swooning with nostalgia. Kalra says with a smile, “They bring a renewed meaning to the concept of ‘home food served out of home’. In the main course, one has a plethora of regional Indian choices ranging from Punjabi to Konkani and everything in between. There are Bowl meals that are pocket friendly and served quickly, besides promoting group dining. Continental Mains include comfort classics like Risotto, Lasagna, Pasta, and Sizzlers etc. Rewind carries forward many a culinary traditional and due to the colonial influences, the savories section presents delightful British club food with comfort classics from Gymkhana, Cricket Club and others like pies, rolls, cutlets, chops, schnitzels and more. Closer rooted to Indian food in the savories section is popular street food or what we call ‘chaat’, but again it represents various regions of India, for a wholesome experience. An all-day breakfast section with multiple egg preparations, waffles, and crepes will also appeal to many. The dessert’s section is tantalizing with classic baked Alaska, brulees, sundaes, gulab bomb, apple pie, and cheesecake among others.”
There are 50 kinds of tea and coffee blends on offer, and one can also try some unique cocktails like Royal Indian Fashion, Polo Collins, Bengal Presidency Margarita etc. or the signatures like Viceroy’s Toast, United Sazerac, The English Breakfast to name a few. This ensures that all patrons are spoilt for choice.
“At Rewind, we create experiences that are based on your memoirs – a place when you connect with the past but live the present. United Coffee House was always an experiential restaurant, a rendezvous place. UCH Rewind presents the same vibe and provides different experiences at different times of the day,” ends Kalra.
Noor Anand Chawla pens lifestyle articles for various publications and her blog www.nooranandchawla.com.