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Koyla Kebab

When One Door Closes another Opens

By Anubhav Sapra

In the past couple of years I have taken refuge in Old Delhi. The waft of the meaty fragrant kebabs draws me in to the alleyways of Matia Mahal. But this time I decided to explore, skip the hustle and bustle of ‘purani dilli’ and traverse across the city. The rain gave me an excuse to flee from the old to the new. I landed at one of the upscale markets of South Delhi- Defence Colony, which for me has always been synonymous with Swagath, the south Indian restaurant and Salim Kebabs.

Salim Kebabs, the reason why I come to Defence colony. There was something special about that place, may it be Javed bhai who owns the eatery or the bubble of nostalgia that surrounds the restaurant. It was disheartening to come to know that it had shut down.  But thankfully I was saved by Koyla Kebabs.

IMG_5744Koyla Kebabs had a lot on their plate, literally. Malai tikka and tandoori chicken, both succulent pieces of heaven, then came the mutton kakori kebab and Galaouti Kebab the former was so soft that it fell right of the skewer while the latter would melt in your mouth like butter. The Kakoris were served with a crisp Warqi paratha making it a perfect combination in terms of textures.

The best part is that all the non-vegetarian kebabs have their vegetarian counterparts. Vegetable Kakori, Galaouti, Tandoori Soya Tikka, Paneer Malai Tikka and the list goes on and on. What makes their food different from any other Kebab joint is the way they cook their biryani, rather than having your traditional mutton or chicken options you can request for any kebab or boti to be combined with you rice and served, quite untraditional yet scrumptious. The addition of chat masala to their kebabs provides that perfect tang and makes your mouth water for more.

 They have introduced the Keema Naan which is Naan dough stuffed with mince and chopped onions and cooked in a scalding hot tandoor served with onion rings and mint chutney.

The journey to Defence Colony has been well worthwhile; the palatable food gives you an excuse to visit this area anytime.

Address- Shop no.3, next to Popular Medicos, Defence Colony

Cost for two- Rs.500+

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Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.
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Happiness with icing

HAPPINESS WITH ICING

By Prakriti Bhat

Baking is very different from cooking, not just in concept but also because of the techniques. In cooking, you can add spices as per your convenience. You can deviate from the recipe and even if something goes wrong with the spices, you can always redo or fix it. But once a cake is baked, that’s it. No more changes. How do I know this? Because while ‘trying’ to make a coffee mug cake, one of the ingredients read “All Purpose Flour”, I mistook it for Wheat flour and the product was a big mug of mess. In my defence, I was only 16 and knew nothing about cookery or baking!

Since that day I am in awe of all bakers. Baking requires extreme skill, patience and precision. Anika Banga, a home baker possesses all these qualities and that is what makes her brand, Happiness with Icing, a successful venture. In August 2015, Anika decided to become a home baker and got her first bulk order during the Rakhi season. Since then, there has been no looking back. She is based in Faridabad and does mostly wedding and birthday orders, the ones that are placed in bulk. Her baked goods range from cheesecakes and mousse jars to chocolate pops and muffins.

DSC_0068Recently I got a chance to sample a few products from ‘Happiness With Icing’. The Choco Walnut Cake was one of my favourites. Not too sweet and perfectly soft and spongy. 350 gms cost Rs. 350 and 750 gms cost Rs. 500. This one vanished within a minute since it was too hard to resist! The Chocolate Muffin met a similar fate and was lapped up in a jiffy. After the ones from Defence Bakery, it was definitely the best chocolate muffin I’ve had till date. However, the Banana Muffin was not much to my liking. It was a bit hard and had a peculiar taste.

The chocolate pops were pretty little spheres of goodness. With tiny stars stuck on the pops, they were too pretty to bite into. Both, the white chocolate and the regular ones were equally good. Though they need to be refrigerated but before you dig in, make sure you wait for 2 minutes after they have been taken out or else they will be too hard. Each pop costs 70 bucks. The Belgium Chocolate Mousse Jar missed the mark. The characteristic airy texture of a mousse was not attained. One Mousse Jar costs Rs.250.

DSC_0078I tried 4 flavours of the no-bake Cheesecake Jars. The Nutella Cheesecake was my favourite. Open the jar and you’re welcomed by 3 small choco cigars used to embellish the Cheesecake. Only setback is that the wafers lose their crispiness because of being dipped in the cheesecake. Else than that, it is perfect in taste and texture. Grabbing the second spot was the Blueberry Cheesecake Jar. The silky smooth texture makes you fall in love with it. It will be a sin to not clear up every inch of the jar! The Strawberry Cheesecake Jar had a very fruity flavor, akin to fruit jam. The Mango Cheesecake jar actually had bits of mango mixed in the cream mixture. For all the mango lovers, this is a must try! Each of these cheesecakes had a base of cookie crumble. They are priced at Rs. 300 per jar. If ordered in bulk, each jar costs Rs. 250.

None of Anika’s products contain any preservatives and have a shelf life of 7-10 products. I must appreciate the beautiful packaging. The boxes are extremely sturdy and the cute ribbons and nets make it hard to desecrate the packing. For your dose of sugar, Happiness with Icing deserves a chance.

Contact No.- 9910076516

Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.
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Kennedy’s

KENNEDY’S

By Prakriti Bhat

West Delhi is full of culinary treats that often go unnoticed. When one talks of Street Food, the brain conjures images of Chaat, Momos, Kebabs, Chaap and what not! Areas like Chandni Chowk, Bengali Market and Connaught Place are more than often supposed to come up in such foodie daydreams. Going by ethnic geography, West Delhi has a majority of Punjabi population. Food is an integral part of their culture and every Delhite delights in the glory of Punjabi khana. Therefore, it comes as no shock that West Delhi has several street food joints, given the Punjabis’ love for food.

Momos
Momos

West Patel Nagar is not very popular when it comes to food, with hardly any options but Kennedys has definitely changed that. It is a paradise for all foodies out there and acts as a one stop shop for street food. The co-owner Mr. Piyush Kennedy told us the story behind the name. His grandfather, an admirer of J.F. Kennedy named his son after the great leader. It was then added as Mr. Piyush’s surname by his father and that’s how the shop got its name. They initially started as a Shawarma shop but the high demand for Chowmein in the neighbourhood made them add it to their menu. Since then there has been no looking back.

A trip to Kennedys is incomplete without ordering their dips. Each dip comes at an affordable price of Rs.10. The flavours range from Chipotle, Mustard, Mint Mayo to Tandoori Mayo and Salsa. Most of their dishes are given a twist by playing around with sauces and dips. Tandoori Shawarma was made by using Tandoori Mayo on one side of the roll. It wasn’t very great, but worth a try. Fusion Fried Momos were simply fried Momos topped with 4 kinds of dips like Plain Mayo, Mint Mayo and Salsa.

DSC_0140Chicken Orly is Kennedy’s take on the famous Fish n Chips. This one is made with chicken which is batter fried until a beautiful golden crisp texture is attained. No chips or fries are served alongside which is a major departure from the traditional fish n chips. Chilli Chicken Burger brings together American and Chinese cuisine in a mouthwatering combo. Chunks of chilli chicken are placed between the burger buns to give you a spicy and saucy treat. Another gem here is their Dahi Ke Sholay called Curd Bomb. A mixture of hung curd and a few chopped veggies is placed on a piece of bread and rolled in a Harvest Bread wrapper to give it the traditional shape. It truly is a bomb of goodness in your mouth.

The chicken combo comes with two types of chicken. One is chilli chicken while the other one is chilli chicken tossed in a creamy sauce. It is a tsunami of flavours and textures in your mouth as the chilli sauce and creamy sauce blend together in perfect harmony. The Creamy Chilli Chaap was disappointing. One of the characteristic features of a chaap is its melt-in-your-mouth texture. But here the chaap is fried which gives it a hard exterior. However, the sauce in which it is prepared is delicious. The Butter Chicken Pasta was definitely my favourite here. Loaded with buttery richness in every mouthful, this dish is a must try here. My only complaint is the lack of chicken shreds in the pasta; it’s too less.

Overall, Kennedy’s is a place that definitely deserves your time, money and tummy space. There is no seating area so if you are living in Patel Nagar, they have a home delivery service or you could just opt for a takeaway.

Address- B-1, West Patel Nagar

Cost for two- Rs.400

Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.
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Jordan Food Festival

JORDAN FOOD FESTIVAL AT ZERZURA

By Prakriti Bhat

Delhi is an amalgamation of cultures. As a Delhite, I feel proud of the diversity we have and our acceptance of different cultures and traditions. This is quite evident from the wide variety of cuisines this city offers. From Japanese to African and European, the world is served to us on a platter, quite literally. Every food lover is on the lookout for new flavours and new cuisines. The ongoing Jordan Food Festival in Zerzura is sure to help one on such an expedition.

Zerzura is known to serve some lip smacking Middle Eastern delicacies. The ongoing Jordan Food Festival here focuses on bringing Jordan’s cuisine to the Indian palate. I was fortunate to be a part of their Bloggers Meet where I got to sample their dishes. The ambience is beautiful. Going by the lore, Zerzura was a mystical city, supposed to be located near Libya. A camel rider Hamid Keila is thought to be the first person whose experience of the ‘white city’ was recorded. While the city of Zerzura continues to remain sheathed in an envelope of mystery, this restaurant gives you a glimpse of the fascinating cuisine that might have been served there!

DSC_0018Jordanian Cuisine involves the recurrent use of a few key ingredients like dried yoghurt (jameed), lamb and olive oil. We began our meal with the Non-Veg Mezze Platter from the regular menu. The platter consisted of Hummus (chickpea based dip) with olive oil, Baba-ganoush (eggplant based dip) and Cacik (yoghurt based dip). Other items in the platter included Tabouleh (salad made with parsley, mint, onion and lime), Kibbeh, Chicken wings and lamb tarts. Each of the dips was brilliant, whether eaten separately or with Pita bread. I could not pick a favourite! The Chicken wings were quite succulent and well spiced. The little Ankara style lamb tarts are like a blessing to your taste buds. Properly baked, these were definitely one of my favourites. The vegetarian variant was equally delicious with cottage cheese as the filling.

DSC_0005The Lamb Kibbeh was so good that we ordered a separate platter of it. These are essentially Lamb cutlets made with minced meat; crunchy on the outside and soft from within. The Bedouin Pizza derives its name from a nomadic tribe found in the Arabian and Syrian deserts. Instead of Pizzas, they look like Quesadillas but are sealed from the curved edge. Spiced and ground lamb is used as a filling. This became another of my favourites. The non-veg Fatayar had a filling of minced lamb whereas the Vegetarian one had Spinach. The non vegetarian version was very dry as compared to the vegetarian one. Fatayar is to Arabs as Samosa is to Indians!

DSC_0019We started our main course with the national dish of Jordan, Mansaf. Jameed is dry yoghurt prepared with sheep or goat’s milk. This is used to make a broth in which the lamb is cooked and then served with rice. The dish is topped with nuts and caramelized onions. Traditionally, Mansaf was served in a big platter from which many people would eat together and thus it propagated a sense of community. Here, it came with a delectable gravy and braised eggplant. The flavor was very similar to the Kashmiri Yakhni. Another dish from the special menu was Maqluba which literally translates to “upside down”. Rice, lamb and vegetables are cooked in a small pot and served upside down on a plate. This was similar to our regular Biryani.

Zerzura disappoints with its drinks. The Jaffa Orange and Date Mojito failed to strike a balance between its ingredients and tasted extremely sour towards the end. The Cold Coffee was very basic, akin to what we make at home. From the special menu we were served Kanafeh as a dessert. The crust is made of fried vermicelli and the mascarpone cheese adds smoothness to this dessert which disintegrates instantly in your mouth. Thankfully, it is not too sweet. Baklava is one of the most popular Turkish desserts and is made with a layer of chopped nuts placed between two delicate and crisp layers of dough which is then baked. Honey is poured from top to soak the layers and make it soft. I found it to be too sweet for my liking though.

The festival is on till 30th June. Don’t miss it!

Address- Qutab Hotel, Near Qatwariya Sarai Marg, Qutab Institutional Area

Cost for two- Rs. 3400

Contact No. – 01133106108

Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.
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Tea Trails

TEA TRAILS

By Prakriti Bhat

While Delhi is full of restaurants, pubs and cafes, there are places that tend to stand out in a crowd. With its pleasant ambience and concept, Tea Trails Bistro creates an aura of tranquility in the midst of the ever bustling Connaught Place. Done up in hues of white, aqua blue and green with wooden upholstery, it is one of those rare places in CP which bespeaks comfort and has a languid demeanour. Tea Trails is a well known name in Mumbai from where the saga began in 2013. Since then the franchise has successfully opened up many branches in Hyderabad Chennai and Mumbai itself.

IMG_4823The menu comprises of over 80 varieties of teas ranging from Green Tea, Black Tea and Herbal Tea to Tea Mocktails. The USP of this place is the use of tea leaves in their food as well. Fermented tea leaves are used as a garnishing ingredient in some of their dishes like bruschettas and salads. Another unique quality of this place is that they use whole tea leaves in preparing all their teas rather than using condensed forms like powder or tea bags. This brings out the flavor properly and the quality of the end product is not compromised.

Gazpacho, a Spanish cold soup is served as a welcome drink here. Fresh cubes of tomato, black pepper and finely chopped coriander blend in to give you a taste of Spain. This was served in shot glasses. All their teas are served in an extremely organized manner with a kettle, tea cup and plate, small spoon and a Palmiers cookie (which was amazing). Each tray also has a sandglass as the servers explained that a good Green tea like Kehwa requires a steeping time of about 2 minutes while Black Teas require 4 minutes. In contrast to Green tea which is bland but healthy, Black tea is not very healthy but has a strong flavor. The Kehwa was good but I did not relish the Black Tea which had a distinct smoky flavor.

IMG_4830Amongst the Chais, I tried the 5 spices chai which was definitely my favourite among all the hot variants. Made with spices like Cardamom, Cloves and Ginger, it was served in a glass cup with a Palmier cookie. Every spice made its presence felt. It would be the ideal choice for a relaxed winter evening. Amongst the cold teas, you must definitely try their Litchi Bubble tea which is like a pop of flavour in your mouth. While Sangrias are usually made with wine, Tea Trails has introduced a Tea Sangria made with herbal tea and Cranberry juice with small pieces of apple floating on the top.

Gulkand Bun Maska is basically an Iranian Snack where a fruity bun is buttered with Gulkand Maska. It is light on the stomach. Eggs Kejriwal is a popular snack in Mumbai. The name comes from Mr. Daya Prasad Kejriwal who would bring a snack of Pav and Omelette to the gymkhana. A lightly fried Omelette is placed on a buttered Pav and sprinkled with finely chopped onions, green chilies and red chilli powder. It is delicious and quite filling as well. The Green Tea Bruschetta, one of their specialties is made with onions, bell peppers and fermented green tea leaves. For the health freaks there’s Burmese Tea Salad prepared with Lettuce, nuts and fermented tea leaves. It tastes best with the dressing that comes with it.

IMG_4842Vada Pav was definitely the highlight of our meal. A fluffy vada made with boiled and mildly spiced potatoes was pressed between Pav breads smeared with green chutney. Smoked Chicken Sandwich had a distinct flavor of the barbeque sauce used for dressing the chicken. Among Desserts you have to try their Choco Chip Muffin which is quite big and mouth watering. The Dutch Truffle comes with a scoop of Vanilla Ice cream on top and the combo is delightful. Plating for both the desserts is pretty impressive.

If you like to have your cuppa in solitude, Tea Trails is the place to be.

Address- Shop 9, Scindia House, Opposite N Block, CP

Cost for two- Rs. 850 (approx)

Contact No. – 01133106292

Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.