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20.09.2018

Soon, Quick Brown Fox (QBF) could become a secret work place that destroys writers blocks. There are enough plug points for even the biggest slackers to do something, anything, and enough space to sit far away from a chatty picnic table and focus.

But, we say soon because even though all the important elements are in the right place, it may be a while before QBF becomes the go-to spot for a good fix at a decent price; it's officially open but the fox still has miles to go. More art needs to go up, more plants can be brought in, and many little design details need to be sorted. But to their credit, the owners are the first to own up this work-in-progress status, and vow to remain quiet till all their teeth are sharpened. We know this is how business works, but we quite like QBF here, as it is now – tucked away, familial, and frequented only by the sons of the Dhan Mill soil. There is one besides us on this Tuesday afternoon, except a table full of Odd Birds in the corner.

Since we’re not doing too much to guard the secret, we’ll spill some more deliciously roasted beans. QBF is right next to Claymen, our favourite clay ground in Delhi and is an artisanal cafe, much like Blue Tokai, JugMug and other independent coffee shops. It stems from the QBC coffee brand that has for quite a few years, caffeinated customers at various Delhi joints, including sleepy, long-haired musicians at Piano Man.

While of course now the guys have expanded from beans to brunches, the coffee still rules the roost, evident in the upfront product placement in the café, and the fact that coffee (not food) announces itself on the first page of the menu.

One of the owners, Vaibhav, is superbly present while we’re at QBF; he greets us, shows us around, and even takes us to the back where his prize – a gold and black Probat coffee roaster, the size of a small elephant – stands proudly in a room still fragrant with yesterday’s grind.

Vaibhav talks us through the coffee list, which features a decent but not intimidating range of coffee. He also gives us a quick 101, sorting out the difference between Arabica and Robusta (takeaway: you always want the first) and the fact that third wave coffee is much like first wave, but with transparency, and a deeper focus on the farmers. We like what we hear, and are almost convinced never to feel good about ordering illy again.

Even though we’ve had lunch, the chef joins to tell us what he did with the food menu – simplicity and ease running through both person and his pages. We earmark several items for next time, many of which are on the avocado and toast section. But with our two iced coffees, we need something he insists, and so we settle on a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie.

While we would’ve loved some soy or almond milk options, the coffees are much to our taste: fresh, uplifting, and dark enough to be adult cold coffees, not the cloud white stuff of our childhoods. While we’re no experts, and our noses are far from attuned to the subtleties, its clear to us that this is something much lovelier than mass produced coffee, and its come to us with a much greater degree of care. The stuff gets our approval, purely because its easy, reasonable, and effective – we’ll leave it to the experts to put their noses to work.

A lovely surprise though, is the good-enough-to-be-a-birthday-cake cookie. It comes out tardily but makes up for every minute with a delicate raspberry piping, dreamy meringue, and just damn good chocolate that oozes out when you stab it delicately, straight in its heart.

Getting there: 23A, Dhan Mill Compound, 100 Feet Rd, Chhattarpur, Rs. 800 for two ice coffees, cookies, and free WiFi.

bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.

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