Posted on



Prakriti Bhat

Greater Kailash (GK) is popular for being a shopper’s paradise. When you get bored with the repetitiveness of Sarojini Nagar and Lajpat Nagar, GK is the way to level up. And let’s admit, after all that wandering and searching for the perfect objects of desire, shopping makes us all hungry. Saffron is highly valued for its exquisite flavor. Zaffran, Urdu for saffron tries to do the same by giving their customers a pleasant dining experience. While the GK 1, N block market houses many cafes and multi cuisine restaurants, Zaffran specializes in Mughlai and North Indian cuisine.

DSC_0072Zaffran has been running the show since the last 14 years and has a loyal clientele. With a calm and serene ambience it works perfectly as a date spot as well as for official meetings. The music does not go beyond a certain level and leaves room for jovial conversations. This branch has been the oldest while the one in CP is a recent addition.

DSC_0101Brown seems to be the dominant hue of the interiors with wooden floors and cane upholstery. The décor is very aesthetic and elegant. An eclectic menu printed on a bulky wooden board brings to you the best of Mughlai and North Indian dishes. Bhatti Ka Paneer was a platter of char grilled cottage cheese cubes and had a distinct smoky flavor. The Paneer was soft and well marinated. Paneer Malai Seekh; the name intrigued me and I decided to give it a try. Mashed Paneer was shaped like a Seekh Kebab with bread crumbs acting as the binding element. These were very dry and even the chutney could not save it.

The lineup of Non Vegetarian starters was quite impressive too. Raunak e Seekh Kebab was basically a fancy name for Dohra Kebab. Mutton Kebabs were wrapped in a blanket of minced chicken. I wouldn’t say they were the best Kebabs I’ve had, but certainly much better than other restaurants. Besides the colourful symmetry created by two kinds of meat made the platter click-worthy. Murgh Chili Mili was essentially Chicken Tikka. Extremely succulent and slightly charred on the surface, it was one of my favourites here. Kashmiri Chicken Tikka was a big disappointment. Not marinated well, it was dry from inside and therefore became the only dish to require a knife along with the fork. There was nothing ‘Kashmiri’ about it.

The main course was simple with Mutton Roganjosh, Makki Kumbh Masala and Garlic Naan. The Roganjosh did not stand true to its cultural roots. The mutton is not supposed to be very soft, which was the case here. The meat disintegrated very easily and the texture did not correspond to that of an authentic Kashmiri Roganjosh, Makki Kumbh Masala was a simple yet delectable dish of corn and mushrooms cooked in an orange gravy, akin to Shahi Paneer. Slightly sweet and tangy, it was rich in flavor. The Garlic Naan acted as the perfect accompaniment to both the dishes.

DSC_0106We ended the meal on a sweet note with an earthen bowl of Phirni which looked beautiful and had a smooth and velvety texture. While Phirni is usually white in colour, Zaffran adds a twist to this classic Indian pudding by using Saffron which gives it a tinge of yellow. Each bowl is topped with chopped nuts. You can also pick up a drink from their sundry bar menu. An LIIT or Cosmopolitan is sure to lift up your ‘spirits’. Quite literally!

For a classy meal after that rigorous shopping session, trust Zaffran to satiate your hunger and taste buds.

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.
Posted on

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+

IMG_5747    IMG_5759

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.
Posted on

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 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.
Posted on

Bhaijaan Kebabs

Bhaijaan Kebabs

By Anubhav Sapra

Last Sunday, Delhi Food Walks conducted its first community food walk of 2015 – the Kebab and Biryani Trail in Old Delhi. The food walk started with galouti kebabs and ended with the famous sutli kebabs of Bazar Matia Mahal. The highlight of the kebab trail was Bhaijaan Kebabs. The name of the shop itself will arouse the curiosity of anyone visiting the shop. When I first visited the shop, I was expecting a well-built, husky fan of the Bollywood star Salman Khan. However, I met the rather gracious owner, Mohd. Shamim, who started selling kebabs three years back just out of his passion and love for kebabs. The shop is run by his son, Ubaid, and his cousins, Javed and Ameen.

WP_20150110_18_43_17_ProLet me tell you the location and directions to reach his shop. Keep walking straight in Bazar Matia Mahal until you reach Chitli Qabar Chowk, then take a right turn from there, and ask anyone the directions to the famous Flora Bakery. Bhaijaan Kebabs are right opposite Flora Bakery. The complete address is shop no. 2202, Bazar Chitli Qabar, Opp. Flora Bakery, Delhi-6. The shop is closed on Tuesdays. You can contact Bhaijaan Kebabs on the following numbers – 9811020272, 9899145777.

The shop is named Bhaijaan (literally, brother) Kebabs because the age difference among the siblings in Mohd. Shamim’s family was not much and everyone in the family started calling him “bhaijaan”. Bhaijaan, originally a contractor for painting work, used to invite his family and friends for daawat back at home. His kebabs were so delectable that the guests who tasted his kebabs in dawaats convinced him to take his passion of cooking to the next level and open a kebab shop. He opened a small shop selling chicken shami kebabs in a narrow alley in Chitli Qabar.

WP_20150110_18_31_22_ProAn interesting part of the most of food joints in Old Delhi is that they specialize in a particular dish and pass the recipes from one generation to the next without tweaking the recipes. Keeping alive the Old Delhi tradition, Bhaijaan Kebabs sells only one kind of kebabs – shami kebabs. The keema of shami kebabs are made with chane ki daal, dried red chillies, green chillies, and Bhaijaan’s secret spices. A piece of kebab costs Rs. 10 and a kg of keema for shami kebabs is Rs. 200. The kebabs are half fried and kept in a glass box. On order, the shami kebabs are deep fried, chaat masala is sprinkled over it, and is served with green chutney and onion in a dona. The kebabs are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The uniqueness of his kebabs are the fibres which one can experience in the first bite. The taste of the kebabs was delicious, and the spices and whole red chillies added to the interesting mix of flavours.

The kebab lovers moved in to another lane of Chitli Qabar for sutli kebabs after relishing the taste of Bhaijaan’s fibrous shami kebabs.

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.
Posted on

Purani Dilli’s Al Karam – Purani Dilli in Gurgaon

Purani Dilli’s Al Karam – Purani Dilli in Gurgaon

By Anubhav Sapra

“Ek seekh kebab, ek nahari, ek korma, ek keema naan, ek shahi tukda…” and the sounds are still echoing in my ears. I visit Bazar Matia Mahal in the lanes of Jama Masjid, situated in Purani Dilli, almost four times in a week and these words echo every night when I go to sleep. For me, it was a bit unusual to hear the same words in the kitchen of a restaurant in Gurgaon. At one point of time, I thought I was again in an eatery in Matia Mahal.

I visited Purani Dilli’s Al Karam restaurant in Gurgaon the previous evening. The complete address is A-133, Supermart 1, DLF Phase 4, Gurgaon.  Another branch of the same restaurant is in Satya Niketan. Even after attending the much hyped launch of Burger King in the morning, I was more excited to visit Al Karam’s to savour its kebabs and biryani. Indeed, the evening turned out to be “foodilicious”. The entrance of the restaurant greets you with a kebab stand, which was indeed very welcoming to a foodie like me. I reached at the very time the kebabchis were setting up the skewers to grill the kebabs. Within minutes, I was overjoyed to see the kebabs rolling.

While most restaurants in Delhi are run by the names of big chefs, Varun, the proud owner of the restaurant graciously introduced to me his kebabchi, Naushad, shagird of Lallu Kebabchi and Kallan Bawarchi in Jama Masjid. Naushad has also briefly worked in a kebab corner in Daryaganj for one and a half years before joining Al Karam’s. I had a short interaction with Naushad as he was leaving for a catering order in Gurgaon, but it still elevated my expectations. The journey of Al Karam’s started from Bazar Matia Mahal in Jama Masjid, where Varun met Umez Khan, the owner of Al Karam’s in Jama Masjid and both of them together set up Purani Dilli’s Al Karam in Gurgaon in November 2013.

WP_20141108_18_32_46_ProI left it completely to Varun to introduce me to the menu and my food journey began with gilafi kebab (Rs. 230), minced mutton kebabs in a crisp coating of beans, green chilies, and paneer. The kebabs were tossed with butter and cream and I liked them, however, I must admit I like my kebabs served with green chutney and onions, and nothing else. I have had gilafi kebabs with a coating of capsicum at another place but Al Karam’s has a very different taste altogether. Another type of kebabs I had at Al Karam’s was achari kebab (Rs. 230). This was an interesting mix of the mirch masala of pickles in minced mutton and was full of flavours.

WP_20141108_19_24_02_ProIn curries, I had hakeemi chicken tikka (Rs. 500) and changezi chicken (Rs. 500). Both of them again had an unusual taste. Hakeemi chicken consisted of pieces of roasted chicken mixed with loads of Nutralite butter, cream, crushed brown onions, and topped with slices of ginger. The brown crispy onions added a nice flavour to the chicken. Changezi chicken, in Varun’s words was “daandedar”, in the sense that it had “daanas” of brown onion in the gravy. I also had mutton biryani with the gravy of korma. The rice of the biryani was long and flavourful, and the mutton pieces were soft enough while leaving the bones.

In desserts, shahi tukda made with ghee and topped with cashew nuts is a must try. In Bazar Matia Mahal, shahi tukda has toppings of green and red cherries, which I always remove to get the real taste of shahi tukda. This was my kind of shahi tukda, simple and delicious.

The food journey ended with interesting discussions with Varun about the best places to eat nahari, paaya, korma, and biryani in Old Delhi, Zakir Nagar, and Lucknow, where DFW is next heading to, on the 22nd and the 23rd of November. I could not try one third of the menu but I am going to visit Al Karam’s again to meet the bawarchis and kebabchis, and taste the remaining dishes in the menu, which I am sure would be excellent.

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.
Posted on

Veda Café

Veda Café

By Aisha Bhattacharya

 When do Delhiites openly hunt for and request suggestions for a ‘good Indian restaurant’? Obviously, when NRI relatives are coming over from America (Amreeka) or Europe (You-rope) and we want them to see that Indian food has evolved beyond butter chicken and dal makhani. Though in our heart of hearts we know they would rather India is exactly as they left it but we want to show them India has progressed too. So what better way to show them than to take them to a restaurant that has a jazzy take on Indian food? Veda Café is exactly that.

Located on the first floor of the swanky DLF Promenade Mall, Veda Café has comfy seating (that is soft on the rear unlike college canteen benches), unobtrusive music (you can actually hear yourself think in there) and scrumptious food. Like most youngsters in Delhi I too duck into an international brand food outlet for the sake of truth in the statement, “I don’t eat Indian food outside of my home.” But, now I seriously wish I’d eaten at Veda before that day.

We had a reservation for 1 pm and were there on the dot. The manager was not on shift but a server quickly seated us and served us water and handed over the menus. The restaurant was quiet and had only one other table occupied at the time which was fine by me as I would be doing a lot of talking and asking questions which gets difficult on a busy day. Our server – Harish, suggested we try some signature cocktails and mocktails. We gave in and asked him to bring two each.

William TellBeverages (Cocktails):

  1.  Strawberry and Mint Lemonade – beautifully matched flavours that had me sipping with great gusto. Chilled and tasty with a light kick of alcohol so that you don’t smell like an alcoholic when you’re done with it.
  2. Fruit Mojito – a regular Mojito with watermelon and apple chunks. Very refreshing and light on a hot summer day.

Beverages (Mocktails):

  1. William Tell – the most popular mocktail on the menu according to the staff. Apple and smoked cinnamon made it feel a little wintery. A tad sweet for my palette but tasty nevertheless.
  2. Fruit Diet – peach & apricot flavours blended with crushed ice served in a martini glass. Tasted like slush we used to drink as kids. Only back then there were just two favours – orange and cola. The drink took me back to my childhood with its frozen sweetness but as an adult I felt a little more could be done to it. A guaranteed winner with the kids, I think.

By the time our drinks were served another 7-8 people had walked in and occupied 3 tables. I could see that there was still a section out there that enjoys restaurants with soft background music and conversation. The overall feel of the restaurant is easygoing and not fussy at all. It’s the kind of place you can spend a couple of hours in without being disturbed by children running amok and people screaming profanities in general conversation.

The first dish to arrive was the Palak ki Chaat. Crisp batter-fried whole leaves of spinach topped with tamarind chutney, sev and a drizzle of yoghurt. It was such a wonderful take on chaat and spinach pakodas. It was truly delicious in every way possible. Harish was very accommodating when I told him we couldn’t possibly eat full plates of everything so it would be great if we could get a platter with 2 pieces of each dish on it. He arranged with the chef and we received one vegetarian and one non-vegetarian platter.

Veg Platter - Starters Vegetarian Platter:

  1. Tandoori Malai Broccoli: Light and flavourful. A good variation to the regular red masala tandoori gobhi.
  2. Chutney Paneer Tikka – generous pieces of succulent paneer which had a layer of mint chutney inside. I loved it.
  3. Fruit Seekh Kebab: It was supposedly made with apple, pineapple and pears but tasted like a regular vegetable seekh to me.
  4. Manchurian Cauliflower: Now don’t judge. I did and I was sorely mistaken. This is a seriously good dish! A surprising yes to a dish I wouldn’t normally order. If you’re a vegetarian you should definitely try this one dish.
  5. Stuffed Peshawari Aloo – a tandoori aloo stuffed with the usual dry fruit mixture.
  6. Dahi ka kebab: it is their most popular vegetarian starter and I expected it to be more than it is. A tad bit sweet for me but the texture is spot on.
  7. Pudine matar ki shammi: this was a veggie version of the shammi kebab. Quite nice.
  8. Hara bhara kebab with chick peas: this tasted similar to the matar ki shammi just that it had some chhole on top.
  9. Sev the Kurkuri: Delicious, cheesy mushroom wrapped in a spring roll sheet and covered with sev, the deep fried (that’s why it goes from being just tasty to finger lickin’ good).

Non-Veg Platter - Staters Non-vegetarian Platter:

  1. Amritsari Fish and Chips: I thought this was a great way to create a global dish – fish & chips meet Amritsari macchhi. I’m a huge fan of both and frankly this was some amazing cooking. Fresh fish (which is so hard to find in Delhi) and a light batter that made me want a whole plate to eat by myself.
  2. Chicken seekh kebab: no surprises here, soft chicken and light flavours.
  3. Sigri Tikka: the traditional red chicken tikka – again perfectly cooked and well balanaced flavours.
  4. Murgh Malai Tikka: the tikka I was told is marinated with cream cheese and eggplant. I couldn’t taste the eggplant but the cream cheese makes a good impression on the palette.
  5. Burrah Kebab: just one word – YUM! I haven’t had such good burrah kebab in ages. Most places it isn’t soft enough or there is more bone less meat. This was perfect in every way – juicy, well spiced, the right bone to meat ratio and it was cooked to melt in your mouth.
  6. Sakora Murgh Tikka: a chicken tikka marinated in cheese, cardamom powder and coriander. A delicious combination of flavours that keep you going back for more.
  7. Mutton seekh kebab: pretty standard Delhi fare.
  8. Veda Grill chicken: this is your regular Tandoori chicken on the bone. Again well balanced and perfectly cooked.

For main course we ordered only a few items with Malabar parantha and multi grain roti, because after all that there was no way we could eat full portions in any case. We tried their top selling items:

  1. Murgh Hara Pyaz which was a chicken dish cooked in spring onions, very delicious.
  2. Jodhpuri Paneer – fresh paneer with red chillies and some peppers. This was a fabulous alternative to the usual kadhai paneer and shahi paneer that most Indian restaurants offer.
  3. Butter chicken: we only tried the gravy because we couldn’t eat more chicken and I have to say any north Indian would be happy with that butter chicken
  4. Nihari gosht: only gravy again but my oh my, what a gravy! I couldn’t stop myself from eating all of it and given a chance I would have licked the bowl clean.

IMG_20141007_144157 And last but not the least (ever) – desserts:

  1. Shahi Tukda: warm soft bread, soft fresh rabri and a perfect flavour balance. The sliced almonds on top gave the dish a beautiful textural contrast to the softness of the bread and rabri. Almost making it look like an Indian version of the quintessential brownie.
  2. Bombay falooda: a tall glass with crushed ice and rose syrup topped with falooda and then kulfi with Basil seeds on top. Such a vibrant dessert and so typically Bombay!
  3. Jaggery and toasted coconut ice cream: the ice cream is made in house and is quite nice.

Overall I have to say this was one of the most intense eating sessions I have ever had. There were lots of beautifully balanced flavours, perfectly cooked meats and seamless service. We were so impressed with the Nihari that we asked to meet the chef. Chef Bhure Lal was kind enough to come and meet us and I have to admit his humility and openness to learn are amazing. He has a brilliant understanding of food and flavours and it is so apparent in the food served at Veda. It was an honour to meet him, really.

I don’t think you need any more convincing about the food at Veda cafe. So if you’re wandering about the DLF mall and don’t get space at the other outlets, give Veda a try. You might just find your new go-to place for food.


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.
Posted on

A Royal Affair

A Royal Affair
By Saira Mujtaba
A cool breeze with the moon radiantly shining behind the curtain of clouds set the right mood to treat the tastebuds with a sumptuous dinner. So, the natural choice was to head towards the ongoing Awadhi Food Festival at Courtyard Marriott in Sushant Lok, Gurgaon. The plush interiors failed to grab my attention because there was nothing on my mind but- FOOD!!
I was cordially greeted by the staff who were dressed in gold and silver anarkalis (which was more mughlai than the Awadhi angarkhas) but nontheless the warm hospitality made up for that. The decor  was colourful and splendid with multi-coloured embroidered umbrellas and punkahs hanging from the ceiling. The aroma was overwhelming and my mouth was already salivating with each breath but patiently waiting for Chef Amit de rigeur. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait much and Chef Amit with his smiling face was right there.
I preferred to take a tour of the buffet and then later decide on what would I choose to have on my platter. But first Chef Amit made a point that the ongoing festival would serve around 100 different dishes spread across 12 days till October 15th! Whoa!! That was indeed impressive. The hors d’ouevre for that night’s Awadhi dastarkhwan had something for both vegetarians as well as non-veg lovers. Harey Matar ki Tikki was a pleasant aberration from the usual aaloo cutlets, while Reshami Kebabs were our very own Shami Kebabs with a fancy name and there were also Kali Mirch ke chote Aaloo and Chicken Shikampori. There were also two kinds of soups namely, Kaddu ka Shorba and Macchi Tamatar Shorba. Chef Amit wasted no time  in cruising us through the main course which had some delightful delicacies. Many known to me already but some that I chanced upon for the very first time. There was Keema Kaleji ka, Nargisi Kofte, Subz Anjeer ke Kofte, Chicken Kali Mirch, Laung Bahaar ki Machchli, Nahari and of course, the Dumpukht Biryani along with its vegetarian variant.
“I have learned the nitty-gritties of Awadhi cuisine from my guru Shri Imtiaz Qureshi Saab. Obviously I have kept in mind that people have become very health conscious these days and therefore I haven’t added desi ghee in abundance but yes, the Awadhi flavours are intact,” quips Chef Amit Dash.
Murgh Galawat kebab.With my mouth already drooling, I couldn’t wait an iota of a second to dig into the Awadhi dastarkhwan. The appetizers  on my platter were Harey Matar ki Tikki, Chicken Shikampori, Reshami Kebab and Kali Mirch ke Chote Aaloo. I chose to start with the veg snacks as being a die-hard fan of non-veg, I wanted the taste of the kebabs to linger on. Kali Mirch ke Chote Aaloo were appropriately cooked with the skin intact. You could either bite into it or just pop the entire aaloo at one go. I chose the latter so that the black pepper and the mild spices came as a whole along with the taste of potato. The Harey Matar Ki Tikki surprisingly wowed me. The green peas were smoothly mashed into a patty that were crispy on the outside and were fried exactly how a tikki should ideally be- golden brown on the outside that enters the palette of your mouth with a crunch. Chicken Shikampori was the usual chicken seekh kebab. The spices were mild but coupled with the green chutney, it did indeed makes you yearn for another piece. However, the Reshami Kebab failed to impress me. The minced meat wasn’t juicy and I had to replace the first kebab which was overcooked on one side. The second that came was undercooked and broke while taking onto my plate. I had to go back to Harey Matar Ki Tikki so that its flavourful taste lingered for a while.
Moving on to the next course, I chose Subz Anjeer ke Kofte, Chicken Kali Mirch and Nargisi Kofte. I had never heard nor had Anjeer ke kofte on an Awadhi Dastarkhwan. But the mild spices and the subtle sweetness of Anjeer (figs) with its grainy texture indeed was a delight for a vegetarian food lover. Chicken Kali Mirch too had a mild gravy but the chicken was soft and tender. With every bite the strong aroma of black pepper engulfed the senses and there was a subtle taste of the dry fruit paste that added the Awadhi royalty to the food. However, the queen of the platter title would go to Nargisi Kofte. The minced meat had absorbed the garam masala and covering the boiled egg, it indeed enamoured the senses. The minced meat was succulent, just how I prefer my koftas (I simply abhor dry koftas) and the cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices blended exotically in the gravy as well as the minced meat. I wanted to have more of it, but also had to save room for the ultimate Awadhi Biryani which Chef Amit had prepared in the typical Awadhi style in which the rice and the gravy with the meat is alternately placed in layers and then kept on ‘dum’, hence called Dumpukht.

Dum Biryani

For me the biryani was a litmus test of Awadhi cuisine and I was immensely gratified to find the flavours intact and the chicken and the rice were not broken. The ‘dum’ style of cooking allows the rice to absorb the juices of the meat and the spices so that with every bite, one feels the aroma and flavour of spices, unlike other variants in which one only gets the flavour of the biryani on eating the meat while the rice remains untouched by it. But Chef Amit had indeed done a great job in bringing out the authentic taste from the kitchens of Awadh. The Biryani tempted me to have another helping with my hand but again my urban dining ettiquette held me back.
Thande Gulaab ki KheerI was full to the brim but the tempting Thande Gulab Ki Kheer and Chef’s special, Nizam Ki Nazaakat was eagerly awaited to satiate my sweet tooth. The Kheer had fresh desi gulab petals and what I loved the most was unlike the usual gulab kheer. The petals were shredded and were not overpowering the taste of the kheer (which happens when whole rose petals are added). The consistency was apt, neither too thick like a pudding nor very watery. Without much ado, I moved on to the Chef’s special- Nizam Ki Nazaakat. I must admit, I was enamoured with the very first bite. The liquified rabri worked amazingly well with the mini gulab jamuns and boondis that floated lazingly. It had a silky touch to it and the gulab jamuns in every bite left me yearning for more. Though I believe that a dash of almond flakes would have brought it a level higher, but of course, not everyone is as reckless about one’s health as I when it comes to food! And Chef Amit rightly knows that.
So all you foodies out there, make sure to mark a day on your calendar to visit the Awadhi Food Festival at Courtyard Marriott to indulge yourself in Royalty!
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.
Posted on

Kebab Gali

August 30, 2014

Kebab Gali

By Anubhav Sapra


Of late, I have been trying to experience and understand the journey of kebabs in India. And I was quite fortunate to receive a call from Kebab Gali, a small restaurant located in Yusuf Sarai, to try out different varieties of kebabs. The name Kebab Gali raised my curiosity and expectations, as it resembles the name of a by-lane in Jama Masjid, Gali Kebabian.

The restaurant is owned by Deepak, who also owns an electronic goods shop in Lajpat Rai Market. His passion for kebabs made him open Kebab Gali, 1st Floor, No.12, Yusuf Sarai Community Centre, next to Green Park Metro Station, Yusuf Sarai, New Delhi, Delhi-110049. You can contact him on 011-41629911.

10570462_710083155742235_3161271911800089883_nI started with galauti kebabs priced at Rs 195 , one of the softest kebabs that literally melt in the mouth. The galauti and the similarly priced kakori kebabs are served with warqi parantha. Other kebabs which I had at Kebab Gali were dohra kebab (Rs. 195), a combination of chicken and mutton seekh kebab, and kalmi kebab (Rs. 195) which were chicken drumsticks cooked in a tandoor, chicken gilafi kebab (Rs. 185), minced mutton kebabs in a crisp coating of capsicum, and lastly, tomato, onion and chicken malai kebab. The kebabs I liked the most were chicken malai, galauti, kakori and gilafi kebabs.

20140825_191121Kebab Gali also offers Awadhi style dum biryanis – Awadhi chicken biryani, Awadhi mutton biryani, Awadhi anda dum biryani, and Awadhi vegetarian biryani. Biryani is served with salan and raita. Dum biryani is cooked with layers of marinated chicken and rice, sealed off in a utensil with dough, on low heat so that the aroma of spices and flavors remain intact. Kebab Gali offers “Biryani Party Packs” starting from 4 pieces at Rs. 385 to 110 pieces at Rs. 8800.

Kebab Gali also has interesting curries to offer – chicken rara and mutton rara, dhaba meat curry, malabari chicken, mutton nahari and lal maas. I tried each one of them, but they failed to impress me.

Although the name of the restaurant is Kebab Gali, I am surely going to visit again for the Awadhi chicken and mutton dum biryani.


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.
Posted on

Dana Choga’s Kitchen

June 06, 2014

Dana Choga’s Kitchen

By Anubhav Sapra

The weather has become really harsh these days, with the temperature reaching 46 degrees, breaking the record of 16 years. The rise in temperature and the sudden weather changes have become the cause of an onslaught of seasonal diseases. Last weekend, I was down with viral fever and severe body pain and my doctor advised me to be on antibiotic medication for 5 days. The taste buds stop sensing food when one is on medication but this is precisely the time when one yearns for spicy food. After recovering from the fever, I decided to satiate my dead taste buds by visiting Dana Choga’s recently opened 9th outlet in Delhi’s Punjabi Bagh.

The original Dana Choga was a fine dining restaurant established in 1994 by Deepak and AmitaChandhok. Inspired by its success, Dana Choga’s Kitchen was founded in November 2012 by their son Anukul Chandhok at Sohna Road, Gurgaon. They aspire to open 100 outlets in the next 5 years to serve the major cities, and be recognized as the face of North Indian cuisine across the country. The interesting part about DCK is their promise to deliver food at your doorsteps within 45 minutes, and if not delivered, the food is free! An even more fascinating aspect about this outlet is its slew of catchy slogans that adorn its interiors. Here are a few of them – ‘Soya Achari Tikka – So ya, we make the best tikka in town’, ‘Murg Reshmi Kebab – Meat that melts in your tongue, no haddi in this kebab’, ‘Matar Mushroom – Jannat ke khumb, Rest in peas!’

20140528_205733I started my food journey with DCK’s recommended starters, Murgh Reshmi Kebab and Soya Achari Tikka. The much-acclaimed Murgh Reshmi Kebabs were not up to the mark.The outer layer of egg overpowered the taste of the Chicken. Nevertheless, the Soya Achari tikkas were absolutely delicious. I then tried a non-veg kebab platter- Murgh Tandoori, Murgh Seekh Kebab and Murgh Malai Tikka. The Murgh Seekh Kebab is worth trying- it has a nice texture, is flavorful, tender and juicy. In curries, I had Chicken Chatkara, Rogan Josh, Rara Gosht and Punjabi Chicken Curry. Chicken Chatkara had a nice tangy flavor. Rara Gosht reminded me of Gullu meat wala in MalkaGanj, where the gravy is made with minced mutton. It went well with Rampuri Parantha- a type of parantha made with chilli flakes. I ended my food journey on a sweet note with Desi Fudge which is Rabri with dates balls and choco chips, an interesting dessert indeed. To quench your thirst in this scorching heat, DCK has interesting drinks on offer- Mango Magic- Aam Panna and Refreshing Java- a Jamun( blackberry) based drink.

Good news for the foodies of North Delhi, they are opening another outlet in Kingsway Camp on 20th June. I hope my foodie friend Subhash, who is a kebab freak and lives in Kingsway Camp, is reading this blog.

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.