“Let the darkness not intimidate you, it whispers words of fear as it is ignorant and unsure. Light a candle and the whisper will disappear”
Located in the thriving streets of Khan Market, Café Illuminatii instantly draws your attention with the bright yellow boards that adorn its entrance. The café’s ornate candlelit staircase leads you to an even more opulent and beautiful candle shop. Filled will scintillating aromas and a setup that’ll take you back to the 18th Century, the shop is home to numerous hand made candles.
Further up the stairs is the cozy and pleasant café. Owned by Ms Sabaah S Sheikh, Café Illuminatii is an eclectic blend of 18th Century Europe and the modern day café with a beautifully amalgamated menu that offers Kashmiri, Moroccan, Lebanese and Italian cuisines accompanied with delicious American finger food. The café entices the palates with a fine selection of authentic dishes right from the valleys of Kashmir to the alleys of Lebanon.
Drawing inspiration from the Renaissance Era, the café was started by Ms. Sheikh to accompany her candle store, traces of which are palpable in the air and layout of the café as well. With a beautiful collection of scented and decorative candles, Café Illuminatii is a treat for all your senses. The place takes its name from the 18th century enlightenment group wherein people discussed topics that were taboo or otherwise unacceptable by the Church. Playing on that, Sheikh has beautifully fostered a space that gives you the feeling of being in a whole other era, a different time. And who wouldn’t like that – especially with such delicious food, refreshing drinks and a blissful atmosphere?
The air of the place is calm and relaxed, perfect for a romantic tête-à-tête with your beau or to kickback with some shisha along with your folks. With an air-conditioned outdoor seating, this place gives you the best of both worlds.
Rapidly gaining fame for of its finger licking good food, Illuminatii is hands down the best Kashmiri spread that we’ve treated our taste buds to! The Kashmiri specials on the menu include a well-done Tabak Maaz, soft and delicious Kashmiri Roti, a rich Nadroo Yakhni (lotus stem in spiced yogurt gravy) and a mouthwatering Haak. If that doesn’t get you going – really? – binge out on their delicious Dum Biryani and the almost sinfully good Rogan Josh (succulent mutton chunks cooked in hot Kashmiri spices). Top that off with one of their delectable desserts (Psst! When in doubt, go for the Chocolate Mousse or the Bannoffee Pie). With a huge selection for finger-food fanatics and experimental foodies as well this place is a harmonious mélange of Europe, the Middle East and India.
Delicious summer drinks that include specials like the Cucumber Lemon Cooler and a beautiful love child of the Iced Tea and Kashmiri Kahwa – the Kahwa Ice Tea, accompany the food wonderfully. But that’s just the skin melting summer half of the year! The Illuminatii is a go-to place if you want to sit back with some hot chocolate and a book or unwind with a glass of red over a romantic candle lit fare on a winter evening. Don’t worry about the chills though; the café will be more than happy to offer a cozy blanket on the terrace. A dream come true, isn’t it?
What We Had:
Juicy and chewy goat ribs season with salt, pepper and spices; served with a side of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and onion.
Kashmiri Roti, Haak & Rice
Haak is a traditional Kashmiri spinach preparation with a delicious mustard flavoured gravy, This was served with Kashmiri Roti, which is fluffed up flatbread made of wheat and flour, garnished with fresh sesame seeds; and rice.
Cucumber Lemon Cooler
A refreshing blend of cucumber, lemons and crushed ice topped of with some scintillating rock salt and spices.
Kahwa Ice Tea
A mind blowing mix of traditional Kashmiri Kahwa – a hot drink made of crushed almonds and cinnamons – and refreshing iced tea to beat the heat!
A delicious three-layer no bake pie with the summery flavour of bananas, the crunch of biscotti and nuts topped off with a layer of fresh whipped cream.
Café Illuminatii is by far the most romantic goth affair the capital has seen so far and we’ll light a candle to that!
Find the café nestled on the 2nd floor of Shop No. 18 in the bustling inner lanes of Khan Market, New Delhi and reach them at 011 33105984.