Who would’ve ever thought that a blend of AC and deep freezing tech would rule the world of cafes at one point in time? At least, in the 1950s, when everything was purely luxury, people would never believe that this two will be integrals in cafes. Actually, no! There was (read is) one place in Delhi which had both, and the best part is it still remains young forever and for always. United Coffee House has stood out its art with wonderful décor.
History behind the making of United Coffee House in Delhi
When India was almost to touch the realm of freedom, Lala Hans Raj Kalra visited a grocery store which was up for sale. Let’s remind you that it was a time when Mahatma Gandhi heralded Quit India Movement, which resulted in people’s uncertainty of owning shops and doing business. Raj Kalra was informed that some of the shops were up for sale. Being an owner of ‘24*7’ restaurant named ‘Esplanade’; he went to a grocery, where he stopped and could not resist himself from feeling amazed.
No sooner than later, his dream of opening the first cafe in Delhi got real. He bought the grocery which earlier catered to families who presided over steel frame of British Raj. The new place was his latest addition to his reputation; he was not only the manufacturer of country liquor, owner of a booze shop located in Chandni Chowk, but also the owner of Esplanade.
Esplanade vs. UCH: Which is better?
When Esplanade served mainly the American cuisines with live music, UCH in Delhi sang high praises of Indian delights. Of course, Esplanade used to be a paradise before setting your life in battlefields. Remember, it is a restaurant of the time when the Burma-China war took away lives of many. Just to get set go, GIs took their Indian Girlfriends and enjoyed last day of comfort at Esplanade. Anyone visiting Delhi during this time would certainly not believe the fact that the world was entirely at war.
On the other side of the coin, there is the UCH – the outcome of shattered India right after Quit India Movement. As already said, because the businessmen were all in utter confusion, they all aimed at selling their shops. In this manner, UCH came into being. It was much more a refreshing experience a gala time in the midst of AC and deep cooling equipment.
Introducing the menu card
The 3,500sqft cafe no sooner than later won praises for the quality of cheese balls it delivers to customers. The keema samosa was another must-try platter that any Indian would love pampering their taste buds with! Other options included Nargisi koftas, railway mutton curry, and more!
Attracting an eclectic mob, it was a united hub where artists, writers, journalists, to actors and actress came under one umbrella. It was a time in Delhi where people considered that ‘Marriages were made at UCH in Delhi’ and not in heaven! The menu got a continental touch after Gandharv Kuma (his son) introduced Chicken Pepper Steak. After returning from Britain for his higher studies, He also added a range of sizzlers in different styles.
Meet the new owner –
Meet Akash Kalra, the grandson of late Lala Hans Raj. They say tragedy happens to teach us something. Maybe, that is the reason why he could not go abroad for higher studies. Lala Hans Raj’s legacy was given to his son, who passed away 7 years after his father. 17-year old Akash Kalra ended up carrying huge burdensome responsibilities.
But, in a way, he liked it too! Even now, he likes starting off his day by visiting the café and ending his day there and returning home. He prides in calling the café the first to house AC in Delhi alongside deep cooling equipment. He has recently opened two more counterparts – one in DLF Mall and other in Cyber Hub (Gurgaon). So, when are you visiting the United Coffee House in Delhi?