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Jamie’s Italian

Jamie’s Italian

By Prakriti Bhat

When a celebrated name like Jamie Oliver is associated to a brand, we expect something different, something unique. And Jamie’s Italian does just that. It welcomes you to the world of Italian cuisine which goes beyond Pizzas and the usual Penne pasta. Some might find it a bit “too Italian”, but single cuisine restaurants are catching up fast in today’s times and this is one such place which serves an authentic Italian fare without being corrupted by Indian flavours. It really is ‘authentic’ in the true sense of the word. Unlike Jamie’s Pizzeria, none of the dishes are influenced by Indian cuisine.

The place stands among stalwarts like Kylin and faces stiff competition but I am pretty sure it’s going to make a place for itself. The ambience is quite impressive with colourful chandeliers and well-lit interiors. Small blackboards display the daily specials and Jamie’s cookbooks are up for sale. With a seating capacity of almost 100 people, it is more spacious than the Pizzeria. Right at the entrance is a pasta station where you can watch the chefs at work, preparing fresh pasta. A large bar counter churns a bevy of alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages with impeccable presentation. Cans of Pomodoro sauce were used to set up a wooden blank on which the dishes were placed. I was quite fascinated with this innovative arrangement.

Penne ArrabiataSuperfood Salad was a healthy start to the meal with avocadoes and beets. The crunchy veggies bore testimony to the freshness of the ingredients. Grilled Chicken Puttanesca was simply grilled chicken cooked in tomato and chilli sauce. Though it was well cooked and succulent, it failed to make a mark. Rigatoni Pomodorro came as a pleasant surprise. I am not a big fan of tangy red sauce pastas but this one had me asking for more. Perhaps the mascarpone and mozzarella balanced the tangy flavor making it truly delicious. And the best part was the crunchy herby breadcrumbs which were not just used to garnish but actually mixed with the sauce and permeated into every inch of the dish. Every bite was a crunchy and scrumptious ride.

The next dish to arrive was Tagliatelle Bolognese. The meat based Bolognese is, without any doubt, one of the most famous sauces for pastas. I was greatly amused by the pasta which was ribbon shaped like fettuccine but frilled at the edges. The meat and pasta, both were well cooked. Both, the Rigatoni and Tagliatelle were al dente, meaning that the pasta was firm to bite. The Honeycomb Cannelloni trio had three varieties of fillings- spinach and ricotta, pumpkin, and mashed aubergine. For dessert, we were presented with a classic, Christmas pudding with brandy sauce and vanilla ice cream which was a part of their daily special menu. This totally got us into a christmasy mood!

Jamie’s Italian will not disappoint you with its Cocktails and Mocktails. Each drink is presented with finesse and complements your meal. Rossini Spritz came in a champagne flute with a slice of strawberry on the rim while the Rosemary and Lychee Sophia was served in a cocktail glass with a sprig of fresh rosemary. As mentioned before, the presentation was flawless.

This place works well for family get-togethers as well as a hangout spot for the young. The USP of Jamie’s Italian is its authentic Italian flavours and seafood. This place cannot be missed!

Address- 3rd floor, Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj

Cost for two- Rs. 1500

Contact No.- 01133107718

 

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Baldev Dhaba

Keema Mutton at Baldev Dhaba

By Anubhav Sapra

Where – GTB Nagar Bus Depot

Sweden se aaya mera dost! My foodie friend, who is also a neighbor, runs an Indian food truck in Sweden. Ever year, around Diwali, he visits his family in Delhi. However, more than this, I believe his visit is more about experimenting at newly opened eateries and catching up with the old ones. The other day, we met and discussed the food in Delhi at great length. After a brief question-answer session, he took me to ‘Baldev Dhaba’ at GTB Nagar Bus Depot.

The place is rustic. The dhaba is on the pavement. At one end, stands Baldev and his brother Kishan with a big Patila of keema mutton and at the other, are the benches. It was great to see the hungry souls, majority being bus and auto drivers, sitting and screaming with rejoice, for a plate of keema mutton and tandoori rotis. This place made me recall another eatery that used to be in Ghanta Ghar by the name of ‘Moti Dhaba’ where we used to devour keema gravy with innumerable rotis. Unfortunately, Moti Dhaba is closed but Baldev is running in full force.

The dhaba was started in 1960 by Late Narayan Das Sachdeva and later his two sons Baldev and Kishan took over it and introduced the most popular dish, ‘Keema Mutton’ in 1974.

IMG_20151106_140413The keema mutton is priced at Rs 140- 2 pieces of mutton in a small plate are served with rotis. After gobbling up over 10 rotis, all we had to pay was a meager Rs. 30. Over a plate of mutton, Baldev sprinkles some homemade garam masala and serves it straight to the soul with crispy tandoori rotis. Even though the gravy appears to be very spicy, being bright red in color, the spices were just right. The red colour is just a result of the tomatoes used to make this flavourful dish. The minced mutton gravy with pieces of mutton on bones was excellent.

Baldev dhaba also has vegetarian dishes- chana dal, matar paneer, kadi, rajma – all priced at Rs 20 for half a plate and the rotis are Rs 3 per piece.

I mopped the plate filled with gravy and came home satisfied discussing with my foodie friend about the myriad of new options in the food market. In the coming days, I am sure we are going to explore more! And eat even more!

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Kashmiri Kebab Wala

Kashmiri Kebab Wala

By Anubhav Sapra

Where – T-point Phatak Teliya, Turkman Gate

The raging debate on ‘intolerance’ in the country has taken the country by storm. However, far away in foodie land what remains unaffected is the food of Old Delhi. Such  a relief! The buff kebabs are grilled to be savoured by the food lovers of Delhi without any discrimination.

A family from East Pulwama, Kashmir has been selling buff kebabs for the past 74 years in Turkman Gate, at a temporary set up, near the scrap market. Every winter, towards the end of November, this family travels to Delhi to sell kashmiri kebabs, just for four months. The shop which is open between 12 noon to 10 pm is located at the T-point of Phatak Teliya, Turkman Gate.

IMG_20151129_192131Started by Ghulam Mohd, the little shack is now run by the father son duo- Md. Yusuf and Md. Bilal. His other two sons- Mustafa and Sameer sell the same Kashmiri kebabs at Motor Market, opposite Jama Masjid. Md. Yusuf sits besides the scrap of photostat machines with a grill and a small fan to churn the buff kebabs. While Bilal puts the minced meat over the skewer, Yusuf grills it to perfection.

From young to old, Yusuf seems to be everyone’s favourite. The bond is so strong that any localite, if in Kashmir, stays at Yusuf’s place. When I reached there, I saw a kid relishing kebabs straight from the skewers. Within few minutes, another man came who asked this kid to recognize Yusuf bhai. I have captured the joy of this little one relishing kebabs in a video as well (obviously, with his due assent and the guardian’s consent to it). In the words of Yusuf, it is the “mohabbat” of the locals here that acts as a pull for his family to come every year in the winters.

IMG_20151129_191852The kebab is a bit different from the regular ones we get on the streets of Old Delhi. The keema is red in colour, not finely grounded, and contains fewer spices. Md Yusuf brings his own spices from Kashmir; in fact even the garlic and ginger are brought from Kashmir. The kebab is not soft or melt-in-mouth kind, but it is flavoured with finesse. I loved it to the core and for a moment, I could relate myself with the little boy who stood there relishing kebabs straight from the skewer. If I was an Old Delhi child, that would be me! A plate which costs Rs 10 is served with radish and green coriander sauce. One can always ask for Romali roll which is just Rs 13 per roll. A seekh kebab is rolled on a romali roti, doused with chutney and slices of radish to create a bundle of happiness.

There is another Kashmiri Kebab wala who sits at Bulbuli Khana in Jama Masjid. He works as a peon in a school in Kashmir and will be here in Delhi in another week to grill kebabs for the locals. Eagerly awaiting his arrival as I dream of kebabs!

 

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MAGGI MANIA @ WOODBOX CAFÉ

MAGGI MANIA @ WOODBOX CAFÉ

By Prakriti Bhat

The return of Maggi is perhaps the most trending topic on social media. After a hiatus of almost 5 months, it is back with a bang. From schools and colleges to offices everybody seems to be asking the same question, “Maggi khayi?” Kids are rejoicing the grand comeback and companies like snapdeal are making it accessible to people across the country. It’s a boon for hostellers and the perfect companion for late night study plans. What’s not to like? It’s easy, quick and economical.

Screenshot_2015-11-26-12-48-19-1-1Wood Box Café has come up with a Maggi Mania festival to celebrate its comeback. A specially curated menu for the same whips up some innovative dishes like Maggi Bhel, Maggi Nachos, Maggi Sizzler etc. Chef Chandan took us through the menu while Mr. Nitin explained the concept behind the fest. Being a huge Maggi fan myself, I was excited to try out their delicacies. The Garlic and Cheese Maggi, though low on garlic, was loaded with veggies and topped with cheese. It was a welcome delight. Peri Peri Maggi was a smooth and delectable ride. Though it wasn’t really spicy, it was quite creamy and the flavor was quite impressive.

Other dishes included Maggi bhel, Maggi Sizzler, Maggi Pizza and Maggi Salad with a vinaigrette dressing. The lineup of dishes is quite remarkable.