In a line: Praise-worthy additions to the menu at Dhaba by Claridges.
Cuisine: North Indian
Price for two: Rs. 1600(approx)
Location: Epicuria, Nehru Place
Must haves: Lawrence road ki tikki, macchi ki tikki, chicken chaamp, dal dhaba, double ka meetha
Think makki ki roti with sarson da saag, luscious and creamy dal makhni, crisp and flakey kulchas with hot choley or desi ghee made pinnis.
You know you are in for a culinary treat that is doused in calories and will push you to work out twice as hard, but would be worth it!
A state that is synonymous with food, Punjab has endless delicacies at its disposal, of which a few have got into the limelight, while the others are still hidden. With a mission to explore the offerings of Punjab, Chef Ravi Saxena of Dhaba by Claridges went on a culinary trip, travelling his way through the sleepy by-lanes of Amritsar to bustling bus stops in Patiala, to bring us the real flavours of this beautiful state.
With waiters clad in traditional dresses to walls which have quirky posters to huge truck tires and cutting chai glasses for lamps, Dhaba by Claridges has left no leaf unturned to bring together an ambience that is reminiscent of a Dhaba in Punjab, but only a better version of it.
The menu boasts of a number of dishes, of which a few clearly stand out, making them a must have when visiting this restaurant. I was impressed to see that vegetarians, who generally end up unsatisfied because of the limited options available, have a great selection to choose from. Be it the simple and delicious tawa bhindi masala, that had deep fried lady fingers tossed with masalas or the spicy, sweet and sour tandoori ananas. The mildly spiced and saffron flavoured dhaba paneer tikka can be opted by those who do not appreciate a lot of spices in their meal.
The carnivore in me was more than satisfied with the spiced Lawrence road ki tikki, that was made with minced mutton along with chana dal. This melt-in-mouth tawa cooked tikki was topped with curd, tamarind chutney and green coriander chutney. The macchi di tikki too tasted great and had a beautiful undertone of green chillies and coriander. Chicken lovers rejoice, as the tawa chicken champ in the menu is the dish for you. Flattened baby chicken marinated generously in curd and spices, cooked perfectly on a hot tawa tasted so good that all I needed was some hot roomali rotis and I would have been good to go.
For the mains, their much talked about Dal Dhaba had to be ordered and I made no exception to that. Creamy and delicious dal makhni, this quintessential North Indian dal has been nailed by the Chef here. Other than this, I tried the unusual yet delicious combination of a curry pakora and chicken, in the form of kadhi chicken. Succulent pieces of chicken cooked in a curd based curry that was tempered with dried red chillies. Balti meat consisted of morsels of perfectly cooked mutton in a deep crimson colored gravy, which had a burst of spices and paired well with hot laccha paranthas.
The meal ended on an extra sweet note with the double ka meetha. Even though I am not a very big fan of Indian desserts, this combination of shahi tukda along with vanilla ice cream and warm gulab jamun in an earthen pot tasted so good that it was demolished by me in a few seconds. The phirni tasted good, but double ka meetha is what I’d any day prefer!
Confession: Overall, the new menu launched by Dhaba by Claridges has an interesting array of options to choose from. From dishes with a little twist to authentic preparations, everything has been paid attention, which reflects in the final product. Needless to say, it is the perfect place to visit for a family dinner.
Value for money: 4/5