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Fig at Malcha’s Eco-Warrior Attitude is Worth Every Fig

For the conscious diner looking for delish meals, the newly opened Fig at Malcha is the perfect amalgamation that will be hard to top.

LF Says: ★★★★.5

Fig at Malcha
 
For fans of the Fig at Museo, here's some good news – Fig at Malcha is now open. This unassuming ‘conscious café’, often overlooked in favour of snazzier outlets, has had a steady fan following, often travelling great distances (and time) to reach Museo, located in a corner of the National Capital Region, albeit close to many of its target customers.
 
Of course, the core values of the former outlet have carried over. The reasons its earlier outpost is sought after holds true here too – a conscious café collective that inspires flavourful, healthy, ethical and plant-forward cuisine. What’s different?
 
Located in the capital's hotspot near Lutyens Delhi, Fig at Malcha is not exactly a replica of its cousin. “We look at each property in terms of who it serves, and what it offers,” says founder Manish Yadav. “Fig at Museo is nestled in a museum so the theme was undermined and we built a simple café that meets the need. The Malcha Marg property is in a premium market in central Delhi where we had to match the heritage and prestige. The economics for this property are very different and so is the audience. We've created a space where people in the area felt comfortable and inspired, just like the artworks by the art advising firm, Artery. With a showcase of artworks like contemporary, digital and photographs by emerging artists, Artery is one such aspect of the Malcha Marg property that nobody else is offering in the market. We are targeting the local neighbourhood and diplomats at the Malcha outlet. Eventually, the word will spread out to other areas.”

Manish Yadav of Fig
Manish Yadav, Owner-Founder of Fig.


“The main inspiration behind Fig was to give people food that can be consumed every day and did not feel like restaurant food.”

Fig at Malcha’s eco-contemporary vibe is visible in a curated menu based on high-quality, seasonal produce from local farms, 100% GMO-free meat, cage-free eggs as well as a Parisian style in-house bakery that bakes fresh breads and pastries every morning and evening, and ‘farm-to-cup’ specialty coffee.
 
“The main inspiration behind Fig was to give people food that can be consumed every day and did not feel like restaurant food,” says Mr. Yadav, who is mentioned as an ‘ex-finance professional, a diehard gourmand passionate about fresh, healthy eating, a dedicated coffee connoisseur’. “Back in 2016, it was extremely hard to educate the audience on why a meal at a restaurant can be good for them. It is only by being consistent we have been able to establish that authority.”

Earth-friendly

Mr. Yadav’s persistent pursuit of being sustainable already has a loyal following. “We have taken a very selfish approach to sustainability,” he says. “I believe the only way we can succeed is by ensuring that the practices that we and our partners follow are sustainable and responsible. Most of our ingredients are either organic or artisanal, and they are grown in small batches. Customer education is a long and tiring process. We have to ensure that the food is delicious and easy on their bodies for them to understand its value. Sustainability is a valid interest area but consumers do not make decisions purely on it. It helps to be sustainable for your own good.” Responsible practices are at the core of the cafè’s design and operations, including a minimum waste kitchen.

Thai Chili Steamed Fish Fig at malcha
Thai Chili Steamed Fish at Fig at Malcha.


Attention to detail is apparent for those who care to look. “We source locally as far as possible, use the freshest of ingredients, use cooking methods that preserve nutrients; we’ve also detailed the café environment to complement the experience – a purifying air system, transient lighting that is automated for efficiency and landscaped interiors across the duplex structure,” says Mr. Yadav.
 
Of course, all this comes at a premium. “We have very carefully created and crafted every detail of our offerings that makes a meal at Fig a holistic experience,” stresses Mr. Yadav. “We have 14 chefs with 5 specialist chefs who are experts in their respective cuisines such as Thai, Japanese, French etc. Our pâtissier and boulanger hold the fort in the bakery.” Many of the chefs have backgrounds in India’s top hospitality names.
 
If you missed it for some inexplicable reason, well the 130-odd item food menu will challenge your ability to choose. Some of the most requested dishes are Avocado Toast, French Fold Omelette, Turkish Eggs, Smoothie Bowls, Hydroponic Salads, Massaman Curry, Polenta Gnocchi, and Vegan Banana Chocolate Finger. Oh, there’s lots more to explore from and salivate over.

…the 130-odd item food menu will challenge your ability to choose. Some of the most requested dishes are Avocado Toast, French Fold Omelette, Turkish Eggs, Smoothie Bowls, Hydroponic Salads, Massaman Curry, Polenta Gnocchi, and Vegan Banana Chocolate Finger.

Massaman Curry Fig at malcha
Massaman Curry at Fig at Malcha.


The food itself is superlative. Of the range of dishes we tried as a table, each successive dish led to appreciative ooohs and satisfied aaahs. The Turkish Mezze platter, available in vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, was a great starter. Then there was the arrestingly plated Shakshouka, while the Summer Rolls (rice paper rolls, soy chilli dip and plum ginger sauce, with veggies in this case) were also an excellent option for the calorie counters. Beer Battered Fish and Chips, is also highly recommended, especially with the mushy peas. The Spinach Feta Chicken was a superlative combo, though fair warning, finishing it may cause to repose right there, especially as it came with a generous helping of veggies. Excellent soups are on offer – I went for the chicken and avocado. There are desserts, but one has to wonder who has the space to have them! 
 
Mr. Yadav says he is noticing a change where people are preferring small multiple portions offering variety than ordering a full-blown meal. “They want the complete experience of the restaurants during a visit. The inquisitiveness around ingredients and their health benefits is also very evident. We are questioned a lot about what we use in our dishes a lot. Consumer awareness in our category is noticeably high.”
 
Of course, there are challenges. Rentals and licensing are always a challenge, Mr. Yadav mentions. “Sourcing is still the biggest challenge since we work directly with a lot of our supply partners. Finding the right partners is a challenge. We could not find a reliable coffee partner for two years until we partnered with Marc’s coffee from Auroville. We have built our niche with an audience that is evolved and understands our philosophy. Building the same trust in Delhi is what we are excited.”

Smoked Salmon Avocado Salad Fig at malcha

Smoked Salmon & Avocado Salad at Fig at Malcha.


Coffee and comfort

Coffee is at the heart of the experience. Fig at Malcha aspires to stimulate a sophisticated and social coffee culture in the capital. “Every cup of coffee at Fig can be traced back to the farmer,” explains Mr. Yadav, the coffee connoisseur, whose exacting standards are replicated here. “Our goal is to brew outstanding coffee while supporting livelihoods, practicing sustainable agriculture, and making the value of Indian coffees recognized.”
 
The interiors are noteworthy too. Subdued pastels, with furniture whose minimalism harks back to Japanese design and Nordic lifestyle, the space seems to emit calming waves as soon as you are ensconced in the artsy premises. The 60-year-old structure has been reinvented with contemporary architecture, whilst maintaining the age-old charm of the elements around.
 
The café has a rectilinear layout with pillars and beams creating a unique visual appeal and overcoming the challenges of restoring a heritage property. The floor-to-ceiling windows let natural light work its charm. Through automation, the lighting is optimised for efficiency, allowing close conversations to continue as one descends into a comfortable dining experience. Textures on the walls pay homage to intellectual surface design. Indoor landscaping across the duplex structure creates an environment of intimacy that ensnares the solid wood furniture made by hand, and the manually laid seamless concrete floor.

Coffee is at the heart of the experience. Fig at Malcha aspires to stimulate a sophisticated and social coffee culture in the capital. 

Chocolate Tart Fig at malcha
Chocolate Tart at Fig at Malcha.


Oh, do yourself a favour and let Fig’s charm work its magic and make any day brighter for you.
 
LF Says: ★★★★.5

Coordinates: 3/48, Malcha Marg Market, Dharam Marg, Block C, Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, Delhi, India

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