Blue Tokai (New Delhi) – peacock, lycra and concrete

Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters

Just off Hauz Khas Road, 15A, next to State Bank of India and part of Big Fat Sandwich

Blue Tokai flat whiteFlat white – IRP 120 (c£1.50) – 9.25 am Sunday and 10.15 am Tuesday, July

The flat white:  A proper, creamy, caffeiney flat white that scores a destination 8/10, which gets bonus points for being the only hipster/middle class coffee for potentially quite an enormous radius (I honestly do cringe at how snobby and uncompromising that sounds).  They roast their own coffee and it’s very good.

Interior:  wood, metal, concrete, white and dark grey – true hipster materials and colours.

General vibe:  not pretentious, a hipster haven without the hipsters.

“Ooo, that’s nice” features:  cool art work and indoor plants that, unlike mine, radiate greenery and lushness.

Blue Tokai Coffee RoastersOther customers:  very mixed.  Solo laptoppers, lycra-clad cyclists, loud (but funny) lunching ladies, well-dressed local student types and flat white seeking expats (or visitors, like me).

Staff:  Lacking excessive enthusiasm and friendliness, probably horrified by how much some people will pay for a caffeine fix versus their salaries.

Toilet:  bijoux but functioning, so long as you have your own loo paper or good directional instinct for the water hose/jet bottom cleaner.

Exterior:  Concrete, greenery, cool “Blue Tokai” sign and massive “Big Fat Sandwich” sign.  Not immediately apparent that BFS doorway is also BT entrance.

Shoreditch rating:  6/10.  Aesthetically, it would fit in ok, though appealing slightly less to the Scandi Minimalisters and Industrialists.  Big Fat Sandwich didn’t match though, but in London the café would probably be so busy they wouldn’t need to share the space with another business.  I’d go to admire the artwork and contemplate how they kept their plants looking so full of life, as well as for the coffee, but it wouldn’t be a favourite.  I really do think their logo is great though, with the peacock, but I don’t like the blue of the background on the exterior café sign; that really shouldn’t bother me!  Incidentally, “tokai” is an ancient word from the Malabar/coffee region referring to the peacock’s plume of feathers.

Ease of finding café without Google Maps and GPS:  zero to one if you’re heading down Hauz Khas from Green Park Metro; you might stand a better chance in the other direction or from the side road the café is actually on.  It’s a couple of doors off Hauz Khas Road, which I wasn’t expecting, the address being 15A Hauz Khas Road.  I walked past it, completely oblivious of its whereabouts despite being on high alert, largely due to it being a bit further to walk from Green Park Metro Station than I expected and my suffering in the heat and humidity and lack of caffeine prior to arrival.

Ease of finding café with Google Maps and GPS:  Not bad if you note the banks and other shops and buildings around Blue Tokai and have full confidence in the exact location of the Google Maps Blue Tokai pin, but I got distracted by Big Fat Sandwich and couldn’t grasp that Blue Tokai was within Big Fat Sandwich as Big Fat Sandwich just didn’t sound flat white enough.

Exterior Blue Tokai

Things to do around the area:  There are plenty of small shops around, but nothing immediately obvious to seek out within a ten-minute walking radius.  Hauz Khas Village and Park is further to walk than a map might make you think, especially when it’s monsoon season hot and humid.  20 rupees will get you to the Village and Park by auto rickshaw.  The roads around Nightingale Lane are nice to walk up, lots of interesting houses and “old stuff”, there’s a lot to see between the main road and Hauz Khas Village and Park and there are even some unexpectedly phallic statues around a white temple, Shri Jagannath Mandir, on the road leading directly into Hauz Khas Village.


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