Local Knowledge, Delhi

The Lodhi

The Lodhi

Hotelier Robyn Bickford shows us the secrets of Delhi, India.

I first arrived in Delhi  from Athens in 1984 on a reconnaissance trip to re-establish the New Zealand High Commission. The Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, was assassinated two days later. From my hotel I watched as riots broke out and chaos descended. It was a fiery beginning to what has turned out to be a magical Indian journey over the past 32 years. 

The thing I've grown to love most about this city is its ability to challenge all one's emotions and senses every day and in every way. I never know what each day will bring.

Best time of year to visit is October and November - after the monsoon and before the fogs and greyness of December and January.

Best coffee? Cafe Lota at the National Crafts Museum, with its wonderful range of prime south Indian estate coffees.

Favourite street food?  How could you choose just one? The lanes of Old Delhi have food stalls every few inches. I love the sweet shops. Kebabs. Anything from a tandoor. Hot breads. Lassi in a terracotta cup. The best spot for a business lunch is The Lodhi, for regional Indian, a sandwich or contemporary Asian.

Cocktails? Again, at The Lodhi, at the Elan bar. Sazerac with Peychaud and Angostura bitters, absinthe and rye is my heavy-duty cocktail.

Something cultural? Don't miss Bikaner House, a stunning addition to the city's cultural life in the restored city palace of the maharajas of Bikaner (Pandara Rd, India Gate). Until recently it was used as the bus terminal for Rajasthan Buses. Now it hosts all sorts of cultural activities and there's the most fantastic décor store called Vayu.

And shopping? Good Earth is my favourite for homewares, décor, clothes and really wonderful designs, run by Anita Lal and her daughter Simran.

When the pace of life becomes overwhelming I run away to Rajasthan, usually to Raas in Jodhpur, or to the amazing annual World Sacred Spirit Festival in Nagaur. Or to Shakti Himalaya's amazing village houses in Ladakh.

Bickford is the outgoing general manager of The Lodhi, Delhi, formerly Aman New Delhi.


Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Louvre Abu Dhabi opens
28.11.2017
Three of the best Italian villas with views
14.11.2017
Inside Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa
07.11.2017
World view: Weligama Bay, Sri Lanka
24.10.2017
Welsh summer cabins inspired by myths and legends
20.10.2017
Three of the best ski lodges in Colorado
17.10.2017
The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Listen
Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

Living colour

Christine Manfield’s passion for the subcontinent is an endu...

Mumbai eating guide

Dive into the bustling, exhilarating streets of Mumbai and h...

Travel to Morocco and India with GT's editors

In collaboration with luxury travel specialist Abercrombie &...

Chasing Bengal tigers in India's Madhya Pradesh

On the trail of the elusive Bengal tiger in India’s Madhya P...

Chasing chaat

Plunging into the labyrinth of Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, Su...

Hyderabad with chef Anjum Anand

British chef Anjum Anand hits Hyderabad to discover the city...