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Ek Pyaali ‘Tandoori Chai’ dila do

One word, a thousand emotions. Chai. A cup of Chai is perhaps the most indispensable item in the Indian kitchen. It binds together the household like nothing else.
It is not uncommon to see a hot brewing cup calm a rather heated conversation or how easily conversations flow over cups of Chai. Perhaps that’s the magic of this drink.
Chai or tea leaves are cultivated extensively in our country and every state offers a very unqiue type of chai. Like its sourcing, it also has a variety of preparation styles. An insanely different style is the one I shall elaborate on. It’s the Tandoori chai.
‘Alpha’ss Tandoori Chai’ in Mukherjee Nagar seems to be the talk around town for introducing an innovative yet extremely tasty version of this staple household favorite. Open from 9 in the morning till late in the evening (11 PM), the shop is happily satisfying the caffeine cravings of its many customers.
The roots of this unconventional idea of having chai being made in a tandoor stemmed from a rather everyday conversation between friends. They wondered that if something like the popular street food-momos could be made in a tandoori style,then why not the beloved Chai?

The name of the shop is unique as proclaimed by one of the shop owners. It is an acronym for the names of all the people who started the shop.
The Kulhad, a traditional earthen pot is a popular dish used to serve Chai. The process involves baking this dish in the Tandoor and pouring half cooked Chai in this. The hot Kulhad then diffuses a rather smokey tinge to the Chai and this is how this beverage gets it’s unique taste. Although the shop is in it’s nascent stages,it has been getting a great amount of recognition and has already established a broad base of loyal customers.

What makes this a must visit stall while exploring the food scene in Delhi?
A. It is the only place in Delhi that serves this sort of preparation B. the theatrics of making this chai. It’s an experience in itself to witness its creation and lastly, and perhaps the most obvious one,its chai!

So come and enjoy this extraordinary Chai at the NBT Flavors Fest on 20th and 21st October’18, at Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Delhi.

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Hanami Summer Menu

Hanami Summer Menu

Japan’s Hanami festival celebrates the ephemeral season of cherry blossoms. Guppy by ai, the most celebrated Japanese restaurant in Delhi, recreates the magic of the Hanami Festival (25th April to 30th May) through its dishes by introducing a special menu that captures its essence. Known for his culinary expertise, Chef Vikram spearheads the kitchen at Guppy by ai.

Away from the sweltering heat of Delhi, the food journey started with cold sweet Corn and Avocado soup, enriched with soy milk. The soup is served with salt and a slice of lemon, which adde a distinct texture to the soup. It is truly refreshing.

The menu has been thoughtfully curated with soups and salads as special vegan dishes. The 3 melon salad with Yubari, musk and watermelon looks simple yet the umeboshi plum dressing makes it truly delicious. Umeboshi are fermented pickles made from young, barely ripe ume, a sour Japanese fruit that’s a cross between an apricot and a plum.

Guppy by ai Summer Menu - Mango and Avocado Cream Cheese RollJapanese food would be incomplete without Sushi and Sashimi. For me, the highlight of the menu is the Mango and Avocado Cream Cheese Roll. Made with Alphonso mango, cream cheese, tanuki tempura fritters and kimchi, the roll is unique and flavoursome. The roll also has a similar variant with tuna. Another king size roll was the Hanami thick sushi roll combined with black and white rice with sakura dembu, tuna, salmon, crab, yellowtail and cucumber.

In the cold noodles – the 3 different variants are cold hiyashi tantanmen (home-made ramen noodles, served chilled with sesame flavoured pork broth, spicy ground pork meat and fresh vegetables), Hiyashi tanuki cha saba (chilled green tea flavoured buckwheat noodles, topped with tanuki tempura fritters, wasabi, grated radish served with a soy flavoured dashi broth. The Hiyash tanuki cha saba is the only vegetarian  option in the noodles menu. The third option is Hiyashi somen (Japanese, thin angel hair wheat noodles topped with crab sticks, prawns, seaweed, cucumber and melon, served chilled with a ginger flavoured dashi broth).

Guppy by ai Summer Menu- Mango and Liquorice with Coconut IcecreamThe Hanami cocktail menu has excellent refreshing cocktails like Sendai a mix of vodka, fresh kiwi, fresh melon and lime. Plum Blossom made with sochu, umeshu fresh plum and lime and Umetini with ingredients like sake, umeshu and gold leaf.

The food journey ended on a Mangolicious note a dessert with fresh Mango, liquorice and coconut ice-cream!

Address- 28, Main Market, Lodhi Colony, New Delhi

Timings: 12 to 3.30 and 7pm to 1am

Lunch for two: Rs. 1300

Dinner for two: Rs. 1800

For Reservation – 01124690005 / 6, +919650185005


Anubhav Sapra
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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Kids Culinaire 2016

Kids Culinaire

“After an overwhelming response last year, the festival of Healthy and Happy food – Kids Culinaire, is back with lots more to offer.

An initiative of Pilcrow Communication, Kids Culinaire is India’s first and only fun food festival for children. The idea was born out of a need felt by the founders of Pilcrow, Ratika van Noord Bhatnagar and Rohini Mathur, to revive the days when malls, mobile games, internet devices didn’t exist and families enjoyed quality time together, picnics and the outdoors.

Kids Culinaire has therefore been planned keeping parents, caregivers and little ones in mind and is full of fun workshops, interesting information, exciting activities and cool contests. The idea is not to say  “don’t eat fast food” or “don’t eat cookies”, the focus is on balance and to get the children interact with food in a fun way so they are able to make healthier choices. Through this festival, the hope is to raise awareness about some relevant concerns around food today such as lifestyle diseases, food allergies, proper hygiene, recycling, etc..

AdvertisementThe 1st edition of Kids Culinaire in February 2015 saw families come together as a wonderful bonding experience. The several happy photographs of parents taking their children through the food tours and showing them the various wonderful elements that make up the food groups. Watching chef Ranveer Brar milk the cow at the dairy section was a special treat. Leafing through pictures of parents and grandparents cheering on children during contests, or listening to a story together under a tree, or just sitting and eating together as a family, made us very proud to have brought this event to life, adds the founders of Kids Culinaire.

This year, the organisers have introduced some interesting new activities while retaining the most popular zones from last year.  At the Demo and Contest area, they welcome back Chef Saransh Goila, India’s youngest celebrity chef,  Food Blogger Smita Srivastava, author of Fun Foods for Fussy Eaters, and introduce Amrita Raichand, model and chef of popular TV show “Mummy ka Magic”. The story telling gets more interactive with Kathashaala, a storytelling institute which specializes in the use of performing arts. Food tours and the Fun Zone get bigger and better, and an engaging and relevant activity called “from Garbage to Garden” has been introduced with fun workshops on creating composte from kitchen waste and growing your own vegetable garden, conducted by Edible Routes. Entry to the event is ticketed to ensure a safer environment for families with children, but participation in these fun activities is free once inside.

The 2nd edition of Kids Culinaire is planned on 20th and 21st February at PSOI gardens, Nehru Park, Chanakyapuri. 

Partners- Delhi Times, Mcvities, Nutella, Philips, Tropicana 100%, Quaker, Aquafina, Creambell, Fortis, NDTV Foods, Event Faqs, Delhi Events, Delhi Food Walks, Kathashala, Wordswork and the Altitude Store.

Anubhav Sapra
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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Daawat-e-Maghrib @ Singh Sahib

By Anubhav Sapra

Food knows no boundaries. It connects people across globe. I was at the Eros, the other day to be a part of the Pakistani Food Festival named Dawat-e-maghrib, where I had a privilege to share the table with one of the celebrity chefs of Pakistan, Gulzar Hussain. We had such an intense discussion around food that I took him across Old Delhi, the very next day, to sample some of the local dishes of Bazar Matia Mahal in Jama Masjid.

 To be clear, Singh Sahib Restaurant at Eros Hotel is hosting a ten-day Pakistani Food Festival, Dawat-e-maghrib till 25th September. The chefs – Chef Gulzar and Chef Naseem from Pakistan has come to Delhi to showcase the delicacies straight from the land of Pakistan – Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan and Karanchi. This seems to me a not-to-miss-out thing.

Chef Gulzar Hussain is a well known name in Pakistan. Chef Gulzar took his professional training from Japan and worked there for about 12 years and married a Japanese lady. He has also spent years with his family in Thailand and gained expertise in Thai food too. He finally settled in Karachi, Pakistan and opened a Thai restaurant. He also started his TV career with his morning show on a famous TV channel, HUM TV and till date he has worked in almost all the famous cooking channels in Pakistan. His recipes are famous all over Pakistan and he is loved by millions of food lovers (Source: Zaiqa).

IMG_20150917_004821I must admit that it was one of the most memorable meals of my life. The food was truly delectable. I started with the famed chapli kebab of Pakistan- the flat kebabs made with whole spices. In India, the focus is more on making the kebabs tender such that they simply melt in mouth. Whereas, the chapli kebabs, I sampled in the festival were coarse in texture and the use of whole spices seem to have added a different taste to it. The raw spices especially the coriander seeds blended well with the meat.  Another starter, chargah- whole spring chicken, double cooked, steamed and later fried with spices was delicious too. Lahori fish fry was worth trying- the surmai fish is first marinated with lahori spices and later deep fried. Other dishes in the starters were murgh boti and malai mushrooms.

In the main course, I had mutton nahari which appeared to be quite distinct from the Delhi one. This dish was a little spicier and the mutton pieces were bigger in size. The gravy was excellent and had a stew-like consistency. Chef Gulzar revealed that nahari and siri paya is a popular breakfast dish in Pakistan. The same dishes are still popular in Old Delhi- nahari, magaz/bheja and nalli. That brings our Old Delhi food culture a bit closer to Pakistan. Macchli salan was yet another dish cooked with ajwain and methi.

A vegetarian dish, aloo ki katliyan became one of my favourites.  It was a dry preparation of potato with tomato, cumin and turmeric. The recipe seemed to be really simple but the dish was flavourful. The biryani was again full of flavours- memoni biryani – an extremely spicy biryani developed by memons of Gujarat-Sindh region. It is cooked in akhni style. In desserts, pethay ka halwa, sheer khorma, and lab-e-shireen – rich Pakistani custard with fresh cut fruits and dry nuts were served.

Anubhav Sapra
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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Flavours of Thailand

Flavours of Thailand

By Priyali Prakash

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With the ever increasing exposure to different cuisines from all over the world, Indians are experimenting with their choices even more and Thai cuisine has definitely stood out as one of the favourites. Keeping this in mind, Blooms Restaurant of Eros International, Nehru Place has come up with a Thai Food Festival.

With an exotic buffet of colourful vegetables and succulent meats laid out on a boat-shaped table decorated with antiques inspired by Thai way of living, Blooms has gone out of their way to invite Chef Mhee from Chiang Mai restaurant, Gurgaon to showcase an authenticity of flavours in the food being served during this festival.

While the Naam Takrai, the lemongrass cooler served as the welcome drink comes across as a little too sweet, the following appetisers specially Som Tam, raw papaya salad with a fish sauce dressing and dry shrimp, garlic, chilli, lime and palm sugar is a delicious start to the meal. The mince chicken salad with spring onions is quite minty in flavour.

The Po Pai Thod, vegetable spring rolls can easily pass off as our regular spring rolls whereas Koong Pun Ooy, prawns with sugarcane is a sure shot winner among the snacks. The dish does not have the peculiar smell that goes with maximum prawn dishes and tastes amazing at the same time, which makes it stand out from the other dishes.

The chicken and tofu Satay comes with a tangy cucumber salad and choice of peanut butter and sweet chilli sauce as side dips. Other starters include Thod Man Plan, fish cakes and Thod Man Khao Phod, corn cakes.

The mains include the Thai favourite, Phad thai noodles which have a sweetish tinge to them. Also served for the mains is steamed rice infused with fresh herbs. The Pla Nueng Ma Nao, lemon steamed fish is the best of the lot. Conventionally a street food in Thailand, this steamed fish comes with a tangy lemon sauce and chillies- simple yet full of flavours. The fish is soft and steamed to perfection. Phad Phak Ruam Mitr, the stir fried mixed vegetables are a good option for vegetarians, considering that there aren’t really many vegetarian options. The Phad Nam Prik Pow Kae, lamb stir with Thai chilli paste tastes a lot like our desi lamb chilli.

Goong Samun Prai, sweet and sour tamarind prawns with crispy thai herbs makes a refreshing dish. The curries are a little somewhat coconutty in flavour- both the Soya chop Penang curry and the mixed vegetables in yellow curry.

In desserts, Tub Tim Krob  (Sweetened crispy water chestnuts in sweet coconut milk with crushed ice) and Klauy Buad Chee (Banana in warm sweet coconut milk) were amazing to end the food journey.

Word of Caution: Most of the dishes have a dominating taste and aroma of ginger and lemongrass. Make sure that you don’t have a problem with too much of these very strong flavours.

 The festival is on till April 19th at Eros Hotel, Nehru Place


Anubhav Sapra
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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Sanjha Chulha Food Exhibition

Sanjha Chulha Food Exhibition

By Anubhav Sapra


Years ago, Marshall McLuhan aptly remarked world as a ‘global village’. Quite evident, as it is today, the seamless exchanges of ideas, culture, people and of course food, across borders. People have migrated from one region to another for various reasons. With them, travelled the food culture. This has also lead to the heterogenisation of food culture. And offcourse, its evolution.  There seems to be no such thing as local food now, the food being eaten in one part of the globe is easily available in another part. South Asia is one region where eating habits in most of the countries shares a lot of commonality.

To promote the cross cultural collaborations between nine South Asian Countries, a movement titled “Sasian Journey”, has been led by the Asian Heritage Foundation and Self Employed Women’s Association, in collaboration with prominent NGOs of the region in engagement with the Smithsonian Institution, USA. They are hosting Lotus Bazar, the flagship market development package conceived for deserving artists, artisans, cooperatives and cultural enterprises through design let interventions. The Lotus Bazar has also on offer- South Asia’s first food festival- Sanjha Chulha, which literally means Common Kitchen. The festival has been curated by food critic and scholar Dr. Pushpesh Pant to promote the incredible variety of local and regional cuisines of South Asia showcasing the diversity of culinary art. The dishes are cooked by the in-house team of The Ashok Hotel led by the Executive Chef, Mr. Lumba.

The Menu from different countries are-


  • Murgh Rehana with Naan/Parantha
  • Gulnar Biryani with Raita/Salad
  • Dum Gosht Biryani with Raita/Salad
  • Stuffed Gulab Jamun

Sri Lanka:

  • Kukul Mas Curry (Chicken flavored with coconut milk, curry leaves, black pepper & Gigi paste) with Kaha Bhaat  (Yellow Rice tempered with mustard seeds & curry leaves )
  • Kukul Mas Curry with Pol Roti(Coconut Flavoured grilled roti)


  • Anda Keema Kaleji Naan/Parantha
  • Soya Keema Kaleji Naan/Parantha
  • Paneer Peshawari with Naan/Parantha


  • Afghani Shorva (Thin Mutton preparation) with Afgani Naan

Nepal / Bhutan:

  • Veg Thupka(Veg Stew topped with noodles)
  • Veg Momos with Dip(Chilli Garlic)
  • Chicken Momos with Dip(Chilli Garlic)


  • Sarson Maach (Mustard Flavored fish curry)with steamed rice

Dessert Menu

  • Mishti Doi from Bangladesh
  • Stuffed Gulab Jamun from India
  • Tila Kufi from Indian Subcontinent
  • Phirni from Pakistan

In the Evening the festival has nice combination of snacks, from 3pm to 7pm

  • Samosa with Mint Chutney
  • Fried Vegetable Wontons
  • Chicken Momos with Dips
  • Vegetable Momos with Dips

The festival is on till 31st March at The Lilly Pool Lawn at The Ashok, Chanakyapuri and entry is free.

Anubhav Sapra
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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Palate Mini: Satiating the taste buds of Delhiites

Palate Mini: Satiating the taste buds of Delhiites

By Priyali Prakash

11064344_950772831599975_1047692751_oThe Palate Food Festival organised in November 2014 by Aditi Kapoor and Ruchi Sibal, in association with NDMC, was a hugely successful event. The organisers followed it up with the ongoing ‘Palate Mini’, a miniature version of the original fest, as the name suggests.

Palate Mini has been running for two days and will end on March 15. The festival is being held in Nehru Park in Chanakyapuri, Delhi. The indecisive weather, fluctuating between sunny and cloudy and cool of winter winds and the warmth of summer, is the perfect time for an outdoor celebration of food. With the picturesque setting amidst vivid flowers that mark the season of spring, this festival is rightly being called the ‘Spring Fest’.

Palate Mini gives Delhiites a chance to taste some of the best desserts in town, ranging from cupcakes and fresh nitro ice creams to waffles and apple pies. The best thing about this fest is that not only it gives established restaurants a chance to showcase their products, market zone vendors are also given the opportunity to reach out to the general public and promote their delicacies.

We have the famous Elma’s pronouncing its superiority in the realm of desserts ‘like a boss’, but we also have the Sinful Bites selling very pretty looking mini cupcakes and brownies, which also taste as amazing as they look. Meanwhile, the Leela Palace is using this platform to launch their new bakery. The usual customer will definitely find himself spoilt for choice.

Apart from desserts, other parts of the meal in varying cuisines have also been taken care of.  Sakae Sushi is offering authentic sushi experience while Hyderabad House promises to take you on a journey of exquisite Hyderabadi experience through their delectable food. Fat Lulu’s is here with their pizzas and so is Royal China, aiming to give us a taste of authentic Chinese food.

Apart from a wide variety of options to choose from, this place also has organic fruits and vegetables, fresh juices, homemade dips and pickles and even crockery for sale. There is also an activity corner for little kids.

As the organisers call it, this festival aims to provide a ‘complete community experience’ and looking at the ever increasing crowd in this park, we can surely say that they are quite successful in their endeavour.


Anubhav Sapra
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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Kebab Garh Festival @ Barbeque Nation

Kebab Garh Festival @ Barbeque Nation

By Anubhav Sapra

Being a kebab freak, I dare not miss any opportunity to be at any of the kebab festivals happening anywhere in Delhi. And this time it is Barbeque Nation hosting a Kebab Garh festival in all its outlets in Delhi till 8th March, where kebab lovers can savour a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian kebabs.

Bharwan Murg TangariBarbeque Nation has never disappointed me. I was there a few months back when they hosted Pat Chapman Grills, the world festival featuring amazing grills at their outlet in Noida. And this time, I was more than just overwhelmed to taste every kebab being served in the Kebab Garh festival. I started with the Bharwan Tangri – the leg of chicken stuffed with cheese, jalapeno, salt, and pepper. It was grilled to perfection. Next was Teen Mirchi Prawns – prawns with green chillies, black pepper, and red chilli flakes. This dish was simply delectable. Having three different kinds of chillies, it was not that hot and spicy and went well with the garlic mayonnaise. Another kebab, although named the Mughlai Tali Machi, was similar to Amritsari fish and had a nice flavor of ajwain in it.

In the vegetarian section, I tried the Hariyali Kebab – a mixture of all that was green – spinach, coriander, mint, green chillies. However, the best kebab in the vegetarian section was the karela kebab – small pieces of karela stuffed with cottage cheese, lentils, and cheese. This was just cooked the right way, peeled first, then boiled, and later kept in cold water. Before I could take out the karela kebab from the skewer, the chef warned saying, “It has a bitter taste.” Keeping aside the Chef’s warning, I ate them all straight from the skewers. It was delicious without much bitterness, crisp from the outside and soft on the inside. To cater to the momos eating generation, the festival also has tandoori momos with cheese balls, named Naye Nawab ki Pasand and is served with mint chutney.

The Diwan-e-Shakahari main course for vegetarians has Akbari Paneer, the Badshahi Baingan, and the Shahi Mattar Mushroom, etc. The Diwan-e-Mansahari main course for non-vegetarians consists of dishes like Murg Lababdaar, Mutton Shah Pasanda, Nizam Fish curry, etc.

BBQN 7th Nov14162Barbeque Nation has also launched Kulfi Nation. With a basic mix of six variants – four with sticks – figs, strawberry, mangoes, and paan, and two without sticks – malai, and kesar pista, one can create their favourite toppings. As the summer is approaching, it is indeed going to be a big relief for kebab lovers to savour the succulent kebabs on the table and end the meal with kulfi.

Meal for two: Rs 1600

Outlets: Janakpuri, Connaught Place and Jangpura

Anubhav Sapra
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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Market Café’s all-new Winter Menu

Market Café’s all-new Winter Menu

By Anubhav Sapra


Recently, I was invited to review the winter special menu of Market Café, a multi cuisine restaurant in Khan Market. Market Café is well known for its Mexican and Mediterranean cuisine. It has a nice terrace where one can bask in the sun, and experience the incomparable view of the lush greenery around.

WP_20150123_14_12_09_ProI started my food journey with a hot piping roasted pumpkin and beetroot soup served with their in-house baked bread, lightly buttered and toasted. The soup was thick and had a nice texture with small pieces of roasted pumpkin in it. I also tasted the zesty chicken soup, which had the right tinge of lemon with some little chicken chunks.

WP_20150123_14_28_32_ProOn Mr. Ajay’s recommendation, the restaurant manager, I was served Asparagus Cigar Rolls and Mumbai Street Sandwich. The Mumbai Street Sandwich was stuffed with potatoes, peas, cucumber, onions, and tomatoes. The insides of both the breads were wrapped evenly with coriander and mint chutney. I loved the way the Mumbai Street Sandwich was made, with sweet and savory chutney, which was a nice combination indeed. It seemed that the chef made it the way I liked. The other starter, the Asparagus Cigar Rolls were a bit of a disappointment. The oil overpowered the crust and cheese seemed to have mixed itself well with the oil.

WP_20150123_15_25_18_ProIn the main course, I was served the London fish and chips, which consisted of crumbed fried fish fillet served with tartar sauce. Although fried, it was light and delicious, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The taste was simply awesome. Chicken parmesan was another dish. The sight of it was heavenly. It seemed to have a breaded base and a fried chicken breast layered with tomato sauce, further topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. The chicken was juicy and soft with all the ingredients in right amount. Till the time I could taste another dish, I was quite full but could not resist my carnivore instinct and straightaway, asked for lamb chops with three pepper sauce. The grilled lamb chop was tossed with cayenne white pepper, paprika, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Yet another dish served was the Pesto Delight, a pizza with my favourite pesto sauce. The aroma of it was enough to feed my senses. Thin crust pizza was wrapped in pesto sauce, served with farm vegetables, and was topped with mozzarella cheese. However, the crust being thin was also crispier.

WP_20150123_15_49_00_ProI rounded off my food journey with the all the three signature desserts of Market Café – Tiramisu, Philadelphia Cheesecake, and Gooey Chocolate. It was indeed a great treat for my taste buds.

Also included in the winter menu is the barbeque on the terrace. The winter menu has a wide array of other delectable dishes and is available till March 31st, 2015, everyday from 12 noon to 12 midnight. Bask in the sun this winter. Go on to have a wonderful lunch on Market café’s terrace!

Address: 8, Khan Market

M-40, FF, GK-2, Main Market.

Cost of meal for 2 – Rs. 1400.

Anubhav Sapra
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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Shahjahanabad ki Sair

Shahjahanabad ki Sair

By Anubhav Sapra

I met Osama Jalali, the famous food critic, a few days back in the alleys of Chitli Qabar, where he shared about the Shahjahanabad ki Sair Food Festival at Ssence, The Suryaa Hotel, from the 19th of December to the 21st of December.

There are many reasons to go to Shahjahanabad ki Sair at Suryaa Hotel, the first being that the food is cooked by Nazish Jalali, mother of Osama Jalali, who hails from Rampur and knows all the ins and outs of Rampur and Old Delhi cuisines. Secondly, Osama Jalali, who himself was born in Old Delhi, has curated the food festival. Thirdly, the spices and ingredients have been picked straight from Old Delhi; fourthly, to interact with Nazish Jalali and Osama Jalali, to understand the food preparations; fifthly, the food is served in copper utensils, which has its own charm of the old city. Sixthly, not much oil and ghee has been used in the cooking, keeping in mind the clientele of the hotel. Seventhly, the sair (literally, the journey, of Old Delhi food) can be enjoyed at one place in the cold winter of Delhi. Lastly, the best food cooked in the world is always by mothers in the home kitchen and has to be exceptionally good.

WP_20141214_20_27_14_ProThe sair at Shahjahanabad started with chicken seekh kebab and kache keeme ke kebab. In the main course, I was served aloo gosht, chicken korma, saag kofta, mutton nahari, hari mirch ka keema, and mutton biryani. All of them were excellent in taste, especially hari mirch ka keema, which has a nice flavour of green chillis but can be handled easily even if one does not like the spicy food preparations. The mutton biryani is cooked in the dum style and served with red chillis chutney. Most of the biryani sellers in Old Delhi use a special kind of rice called “sella” (par boiled) rice. I have seen the most famous biryani seller in Haveli Azam Khan draining out the excess water from the rice on a piece of cloth. That shows the rice will always retain its shape even if it is over cooked and water can be added if it is undercooked. The art of cooking biryani is in basmati rice, neither overcooked nor undercooked. Nazish has done justice to the biryani by retaining the shape, texture, flavours of the spices and tenderness of the meat.

WP_20141214_20_36_36_ProI rounded off my meal with Zarda, sweet flavourful rice with khoya, raisins, cashews, cherries and ghee. Throughout the sair, I never felt like I was sitting in a fine dining, high end place, as the interaction with Osama Jalali about the bawarchis, khansamas, and the food revolved around Shahjahanabad.

The menu works on a rotational basis with different kebabs and curries every day. So, if you want to get the feel of the home cooked style food of Shahjahanabad, visit Suryaa hotel before the 21st of December between 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. The price per person is Rs. 1950 for the entire buffet.

WP_20141214_19_49_31_Pro WP_20141214_20_18_59_Pro

Anubhav Sapra
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.