As I was climbing the flight of stairs to a beautiful cafe in Gurugram, OMO, I immediately started recording on my phone. Such is the world that we live in today, a world of social media where anything attractive must make it to the ‘gram’. As a millennial, I’m left with no choice but to hop onto new trends. Talking about trends, one prominent food trend that has taken the world by storm recently is vegetarianism. We see contemporary restaurants and cafes in Delhi NCR adopting vegetarian cuisines by experimenting with seasonal veggies, herbs, and grains, and one such cafe is OMO.
The cafe is tucked between retail stores, tempting restaurants, and cafes in the bustling Galleria Market – which was a bit disorienting for a first timer like me – but once you reach your destination, the cafe tells a different story. OMO exudes an earthy and serene vibe with an ambience featuring a muted colour palette, understated natural elements like wooden furniture, and plenty of indoor plants accentuating the theme of the cafe ‘NATURAL’. The interior of the cafe has an open layout with a live kitchen on one side and on the other side, there is an amazing coffee bar ‘Ngarum’, and a juice bar ‘Wild & Raw’.
The menu at OMO is hundred percent vegetarian and delivers the promise of being directly from “Farm to Fork” by using ingredients that are sourced directly from, and you guessed it, the farm. While the regular cuisine offered at OMO involves a variety of flavours from the European and Sri Lankan region, I was invited to try out the ‘Adventures of Northeast’, a two-week pop-up celebrating authentic flavours of the Northeast India.
The Northeast Pop Up has an a la carte menu with dishes utilising fresh and natural ingredients sourced directly from the farmers and locals of the region. I started off my food sojourn with a Thali Brunch featuring a wide array of Northeastern cuisines. As a North Easterner myself, I can’t help but appreciate how the dishes were beautifully presented in a circular bamboo basket which we locally call ‘Yangkok’ in Manipur. The thali comes with 3 varieties of rice- red rice, black rice, and white sticky rice. If your inclination is towards mildly flavoured dish, then try ‘Ooti’ – white peas cooked with a variety of local greens, ‘Black Gram Salad with Perilla Seeds’, and ‘Local Leaf Salad with Sumac’. If you are the adventurous type, you can try ‘Potato and Pumpkin with Bamboo Shoot’ and ‘Jackfruit in Black Sesame’ paired with any of the three varieties of rice offered. Moreover, if you want to spice up your meal, in that case, you can also try the wide range of chutneys on offer such as – ‘Tree Tomato’, ‘Spring Onion’, ‘Pumpkin’ and ‘Garlic’. I also recommend you taste the garlic and bamboo shoot pickle which was my favourite among the lot.
Next on the offer was ‘Anishi Chow’ which will remind you of ramen. The broth of the chow tastes a bit sour as it was flavoured with Anishi – a Naga delicacy of fermented leaves made into patties and smoked over the fire. The next dish that set my tongue on fire, quite literally, was ‘Singju’ – crunchy fried noodles mixed with local herbs, schezwan pepper, naga chilli and perilla seeds. Thankfully, a refreshing ‘Blueberry and Lavender Lemonade’ came to my rescue right after.
For dessert, we tried ‘Black Rice Kheer’ – a rice pudding made with crunchy black rice and ‘Black Sesame Cake’ served with pineapple and black sesame caramel. Both the desserts had the right amount of sweetness and were delightful.
So, if you don’t mind experimenting with food and would love to try your hands-on some authentic North-Eastern cuisine, you should consider visiting OMO’s Northeast Pop Up, which is already up and running since 30th May 2022.
What: Adventures of North-East
Where: OMO: Soul Food Community, 2nd Floor, Galleria Market, Sector 28, Gurugram
When: 30th May to 12th June, 2022