What to eat in Chandni Chowk?

This post is part of What to eat in Walled City OR Old Delhi? series. Chandni Chowk starts from Jain Temple towards the Red Fort and extends till Fatehpuri Masjid on the other end. The entire stretch would be approximately 2km and is dotted with legend after the Legend. There are  outlets in these areas which are institutions and have been around for more than couple of centuries (yes.. CENTURIES) and then there are tourist traps, mediocre food sellers (still better than New Delhi food :P) and McDonald’s.

1. Natraj Dahi Bhalle – One of the most popular and talked about outlet selling Bhalle and Tikki from a corner shop. I have eaten here a couple of times, never really enjoyed the food, but then people around me have gone gaga about it. So better make your own call.

Old Delhi curd based chaat
Natraj ke Dahi Bhalle in Chandni Chowk

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2. Old Famous Jalebi – Have heard lot of mixed reviews about this one, generally bordering on the negative side, however when I ate their jalebis for the first time,a few weeks back, I ended up loving it. Most of the people look for ‘thin’ jalebis as that is their perception of good jalebi and they think if its thick, it’s bad. However it’s an art to make a good jalebi which is thick and according to me, this guy is a master of it. I did taste some Khoya / Paneer in his jalebi for sure. Crisp on the outside, its juicy and succulent on the inside. Just a warning – They come across as arrogant in their behavior, but then I don’t give a damn.

Sweet Indian Delicacy in Old Delhi
Thick, Juicy & Crispy Jalebis from Old & Famous in Chandni Chowk

3. Gali Paranthe Waali – Skip it! it’s a sham, it’s a tourist trap. It’s a black spot on Dilli ke paranthe. The paranthas that they make, are nothing like paranthas are supposed to be or are in our homes or anywhere else. You can go there to try the food item on offer, but then it’s not really delicious and it’s not really Parantha. However in the same street you will get some awesome Nan Khatai being baked on a cart, do try that , plus there are couple of shops selling decent Khurchan, Rabri and Milkcake.

Different Vegetable & Spice Mixes to be filled in the Parantha
Choice of stuffing available for the Parantha.
Dips, sauces and condiments at Gali Paranthe Wali
Aloo Subzi, Kaddu Subzi, Kele waali Meethi Chutney & green Chutney are served with Paranthas
This is how it looks like.
One of the Paranthas at Gali Paranthe Wali
They bake it right on the streets, as fresh as it can get.
Baking fresh Nan khatai at Gali Paranthe Wali
They bake it right on the streets, as fresh as it can get.
Must try these Nan Khatais  at Gali Paranthe Wali

4. Ghante Waala, Annapurna, KunwarJi – Sweet shops that I have heard a lot about, but never got around to trying. But you might want to try or do your own research.

5. Dogra Snack, Outside Gandhi Maidan Parking, PhatPhat Service’s stand – Now this is bit off the trail, but this guy sells some of the yummiest Ram Ladoos (Dal ki pakodi), Bread Pakode and other things like Karele ke pakode (Yes! pakoda made out of Bitter Gourd). Must try.

Dipped in batter and deep fried.. still Bitter gourd
Karela or Bitter Gourd Pakoda at Dogra
You would need those for karela pakodas for sure.
Chutneys and other condiments at Dogra
Dipped in batter and deep fried.. still Bitter gourd
Ram Laddoo at Dogra
Dipped in batter and deep fried.. still Bitter gourd
Bread Pakore at Dogra

6. Haldiram’s / Wahi Ji Wah / McDonald’s – Ignore, unless you want the chain effect.. 😛

7. Ved Prakash Lemon Waale, Near Town Hall – If you are a firang (foreigner :P) you might want to avoid this due to the ice used, or else this is one of the most refreshing  and popular drinks you can have in Indian Summer.

Lemon Soda at Ved Prakash Lemon Waale

8. Shiv Mishthan Bhandar – I have been there once, went there for Halwa Nagori, ended up having Puri, Chhole Bhature and couple of other things. One of the few places where you can savor Halwa-Nagori-Subzi. Plus I have been told that they are well known for their Jalebis as well, you might want to try them out.

Halwa Nagori and Subzi at Shiv Misthan Bhandar
9. Adarsh Bhojanalaya – This one is just off the main lane, in an alley towards your left. It’s more like a dining hall and they only serve a thali (Set Meal, Unlimited portions). The food is sattvik in nature and given the nature of the food is super clean and hygienic. For anyone who has been born and brought up in North India this would come across as the food from their home, however if you are a firang or someone not familiar with routine North Indian food and what to see how and what we eat at home, this is a perfect place to visit.
Thali at Adarsh Bhojanalya

10. Amritsari Lassi Corner – I am not a big sweet lassi fan, though it can be very healthy, still its filling, its full of calories and it puts me to sleep. However I never skip a chance to savor and enjoy an occasional good one. Have tried their basic sweet lassi (I do not believe in flavors) and it’s amongst the better one you can get in Delhi. As they do in Amritsar, these guys put a dollop of butter on your lassi too and then put a spoon on top to show how thick the lassi is as the spoon does not drown in the lassi. Must try if you are a Lassi fan or have never tried it.

Notice how the spoon is affloat on the lassi, though spoon is a super light, but still a cool gimmick.

11. Chaina Ram Sindhi Halwai – Now this location is legendary, bang on the T-Point, in the premises of Fateh Puri Mosque. Besides the location, they have managed to survive 2 centuries (Yup! you read it right). This place is an institution in itself and is a hot favorite for its sweets and other delicacies amongst the discerning audience of Walled city area. The most revered delicacy for me being Karachi Halwa, which they do like none other. I have also enjoyed his Poori-Chhole at breakfast and Paneer pakoda as a snack. Besides that I have savored their Ghevar, Gujiya, burfi etc. – each one manages to impress me.

Different versions of Karachi Halwa at Chaina Ram
Karachi Halwa at Chaina Ram
Paneer Pakoda at Chaina Ram
Paneer Pakoda at Chaina Ram
Suji Halwa at Chaina Ram
Breakfast of Puri Chhole at Chaina Ram
12. Gole Hatti – Right at the entry of khari baoli, it’s an outlet that I have been keen on visiting for couple of years, however got around to doing so few days back. I was expecting them to be serving stuffed Naans, like New Gole Hatti in Patel Nagar (run by same family). However here they have a very limited menu, serving Chhole Bhature, Chhole Kulche, Veg. Pulao, Chhole-Chawal-Palak, Dahi-Bhalle and Ras-Malai. It’s a super old school outlet, must try if you are in the area. Chhole-Palak-Chawal being the highlight for me. If you are a Delhi-hite you might not appreciate their style of serving Chhole Bhature, however I would still ask you to try them, just consider it a different style of having them, which it actually is (from Amritsar and beyond maybe).
Chhole Kulche and Chhole Bhature at Gol Hatti
Chhole Palak Chawal at Gol Hatti
They serve in a Kullad, adds lot of Character.
Chhole Palak Chawal at Gol Hatti
Dahi Bhalle at Gol Hatti

14. Giani Faluda – Another Super legend from the area, best known for its Rabri-Faluda and Dal-Halwa (only in winters, amongst best in New/Old Delhi). I cannot write anything about them which has not already been written. Must try as per me too.

Rabri Faluda at Giani’s
Rabri at at Giani’s
Gajar ka Halwa at at Giani’s

14. Kake-da-Dhaba – Better known for its naans, it sure is very popular in the area. During my couple of visits, I have enjoyed their stuffed naans and paranthas, however have been indifferent to their subzis and main dishes. If I were to recommend something, I would say order Dhurandar or Dhuandhaar Naan (confused between the actual name, however it has been named such as its stuffing is super fiery… :P) and Dal Makhani.

Dal Makhani at Kake-di-Hatti
Naan being served at at Kake-di-Hatti
A full Naan at Kake-di-Hatti
15. Mahalakshmi Sweets – Have only visited them twice, both times hunting for Halwa Nagori which is a breakfast item. Was not able to eat the Halwa Nagori, the first time round, Why? – Because we got there at 9 AM on a winter morning and they were already finished for the day. Then went there again couple of weeks later and just barely managed to get my hands on a few of those Nagoris at 8:30 AM. Was it worth it? HELL YEAH! The best I have ever had.
16. Inderpuri Dhaba – Have been there once, did not like anything that they served, however the day we visited them was a bad day and this place was a compromise for us. However some of my friends have recommended this place for their Dal Makhani. Just saying.
This brings us to the end of this list and just to remind you guys, this is neither comprehensive nor complete, this is just a list of places I have eaten at. There is this Samose waala, this fruit-cream waala, this paranthe waale, that Pulao waala that I am yet to checkout in the area. Plus random Chaat guys, Kanji Vada guys which have also satisfied my taste buds over the years. I hope I can eat and add more info into this post in times to come.
Connect with me on Twitter : @Tweet2Shashank
PS : If you found this post helpful in your explorations, do come back and leave a comment.. 🙂
Food Enthusiasts of Delhi & Shashank Aggarwal own the copyrights of all pictures and content. To use pictures OR content in any way commercially OR non-commercially connect with shashank@foodenthusiastsofdelhi.com.

What to eat in Walled City OR Old Delhi?

Understanding the Area
First things first, when people talk about Chandni Chowk, they often confuse it with all other parts of Old Delhi and vice versa is also true, that is when people talk about Old Delhi, they end up talking about Chandni Chowk itself. So Old Delhi or Walled City or Dilli 6 (Chhe) as it is fondly called in common parlance has multiple streets, areas and bazaars. And then there are Galis, Kuchas and Katras. Some of the popular areas besides Chandni Chowk being – Chawri Bazaar, Jama Masjid, Sitaram Bazaar, Nai Sarak, Lal Kuan, Khari Baoli, Balli Maran, Sadar Bazar etc.

So to rephrase the question or rather it can be rephrased in any form like :


* What to eat in Old Delhi / Walled City / Delhi 6 / Purani Dilli ??
* What to eat in Chandni Chowk / Chawri Bazaar / Any area of walled city ??
* How not be a tourist in Chandni Chowk / Old Delhi / Any other above mentioned area ??

These are the questions that are asked often enough and it is something which is impossible to sum up in a blog post for multiple reasons. First – the sheer variety and plethora of information that is required to cover it and second – till now I have not been able to sample everything that I have heard about and I doubt anyone else has been able to do that as well. But then I decided to take the first baby step and start documenting what I know about or at least of what I have pictures of. The information would be as indicative as possible and most of the locations and spots can be found using google and bit of common sense. So here I am trying to create a photolog and trying to answer ‘What to eat in Chandni Chowk?’

First of all we need to understand bit of social map of the area. There are pockets in walled city which are dominated by Muslim populace and then most of area is being populated by Hindu traders and is largely vegetarian. In my knowledge you get non-vegetarian food only in Jama Masjid (Matia Mahal) and Balli Maran (and Lal Kuan) area. All other areas being largely vegetarian food dominated.
What also needs to be shared is that the commuting between these areas can be daunting, though most can be reached in maximum 15-20 minutes of walk but human, vehicular and ‘other’ traffic makes it a chore. So if you are not going there only for a ‘Hog Session’ you better stick to your bazaar or area for eating. For Easy Navigating I have further divided the information in multiple posts.

Rajdhani – Thali Restaurant : A review by Sahiba Gursahaney

Went to Rajdhani Thali Restaurant in Connaught Place (yet again) because my mom loves the place so much!
Date : 24th May
Time : Dinner
Food at Rajdhani Thali Restaurant

1st picture has the thaali. The kulhad has chhaach and the other glass has aam panna. The little katori on the left has raita. The katori in the middle(slightly bigger one) has daal baati choorma.

The 1st picture in the bottom row has the 3 desserts. The yellow one is aam ras, white one is cham cham, and the third one is lauki ka halwa.

The middle picture in the bottom column is for showing the rice and khichdi.

The last picture in the bottom column is the sauf, mishri, etc.

CONCEPT:
For whoever who’s not well-versed with the concept of Rajdhani, it’s a place which has an ‘all you can eat’ Rajasthani and Gujarati, spread across 3 courses-starters, main course and desserts. food given to you in big maharaja type thaalis with several(6-8) katoris placed inside that big thaali, accompanied by 2 glasses.
The moment you enter, they put a tilak on your forehead. You’re then escorted to your desired seats(desired, if the place isn’t full).
SERVICE:
Their service is their highlight. Servers get you the food at the speed of lightning. The way all the servers and managers communicate with each other if someone asks for anything particular, and the person that is serving that particular thing is not to be seen around, is by snapping their fingers. They snap their fingers to grab the attention of the servers and then give gestures with their hands which always is a ‘number’. So each number denotes each dish/course.
FOOD:
As soon as you sit, a person comes and makes you wash your hands on the table itself. Its a golden coloured ‘Aladdin ka Chirag’ looking container which has water in it.
They then start the service.
First and foremost, you’re given the chutneys-green mint chutney and red saunth ki chutney. This time they even gave raita(don’t give it usually). Then comes the dhokla and an aloo cutlet(I always LOVE the cutlets here, no matter what the filling is). Occasionally, they also give dal bati choorma(which I absolutely ADORE), and this time, to my relief, I did get that!
Then they start giving you the vegetabes.
This time I was served a paneer dish, an aloo dish which had a very thin gravy, almost watery(the aloo dish is their patent, you will always find it in the menu), karele ki subji(slightly sweetened), gatte ki subji, a fine yellow dal, meethi kadhi, a sweet mango dish because of the ongoing mango festival(which is not there otherwise).
For accompaniments they have roasted papad, sliced onions, pickle, pickled green chilli and a red, mildly spicy, chutney.
Rotis were of 3 types-phulka, some parantha(made from something like bajra, but not bajra) and a very hard to pull apart(sakhat) roti. You can put desi ghee on your rotis if you like, and even savour the food with some gur(jaggery).
There’s plain rice and khichdi too, again with the option of putting ghee in it. The khichdi is a very good change from the junk food you eat almost everytime you dine out.
Chhaach was very very good! Though I don’t have curd myself, I can say its good because my mom praised it so much-had 4 glasses herself. Because of the mango festival, we got aam panna with the chhaach too. It was sweet and sour, mixed with masalas. Too sweet for my liking. And a third glass for water.
DESSERTS:
On the weekends they give you unlimited desserts, but during the week you will only be given one portion of any one dessert that you choose. So all those with a sweet tooth, only go on the weekends!
The aam festival gave the most blissful, heavenly and the most gorgeous dessert to this place-AAM RAS!! Spectacular! It was so so so good, so so refreshing, so damn awesome, that I have personally never had a better Indian dessert ever!! I had 4 katoris of that myself!!
Cham cham-a kind of rajbhog, but more stiff.
Lauki ka halwa-very surprising, I know, but surprisingly delicious! 
However good the other desserts might be, nothing beats the aam ras! It took the cake away!!
As you depart, you will find sauf, mishri, etc kept on a side table for you. They also have meetha and saada paan but that has to be paid for. Around 20/- to 30/- for each paan.
PRICE:
All this ‘unlimited’, on a weekend for dinner, including all taxes, was 395. What better can you ask for at this price?
FINAL VERDICT:
For those of you who are hardcore non vegetarians and don’t like veg food, or for those of you who didn’t like the sound of these dishes which you normally get as homemade food too, go here if not for anything else, then just for the experience!!
400 bucks cannot burn a hole in your pocket!
You eat like a king and pay nothing as compared to that!!
A must-try place for everyone!
Written by Sahiba Gursahaney

Simply Fondue – A New Concept

Fondue is something that is not very well known in India and is mostly limited to buffets of 5 star hotels and some of the cafes though in much lesser scale. I personally have tried them couple of times at Mocha in Delhi and once at Cafe Moshe in Mumbai. Liked the concept, however never quite got the hang of it. 

From Wikipedia – Fondue is a Swiss, French, and Italian dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot (caquelon) over a portable stove (réchaud), and eaten by dipping long-stemmed forks with bread into the cheese. It was promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union (Schweizerische Käseunion) in the 1930s but its origins stem from an area that covers Switzerland, France (Rhone Alps) and Italy (Piedmont and Aosta valley).

Since the 1950s, the name “fondue” has been generalized to other dishes in which a food is dipped into a communal pot of hot liquid: chocolate fondue, in which pieces of fruit are dipped into a melted chocolate mixture, and fondue bourguignonne, in which pieces of meat are cooked in hot oil.
When a restaurant called Simply Fondue opened up in Nehru Place, I got pretty excited about it, however never got around to visiting it. So when I got an invite from them to come and have an ‘experience’, I could not help but prioritize a visit to Simply Fondue over other restaurants. However given my limited experience, I asked fellow food lover Anuradha Gupta to join me as she has much better knowledge and experience in fondues than me. 
Simply Fondue positions itself as a a fine dining restaurant, trying to give you a live fondue experience, right on your table. The tables are fitted with induction plates, which are used to make some of the Cheese and Broth fondues right on your table. We were told that they did oil based fondues too but now they have scrapped them from the menu. 
Dippers on the left and other ingredients of the Mexican Salsa Fiesta fondue on the right.
We started with ordering a Cheese based Fondue called Mexican Salsa Fiesta, which was listed as a house specialty  First came the pot on the table, then our very able waiter put some beer into it and let it boil, then went in some garlic followed by some grated Monterey Jack Cheese. It took few minutes for Cheese to melt and once the mix to got a paste like consistency Cajun spice, Red chilli flakes and Salsa were added to it, finally garnishing it with what seemed like cream and some Jalapeno slices. 
Beer coming to a boil
Cheese going into it
Adding spices and Salsa
Ready for Dippers

So far so good, now we were ready to go, however were really disappointed by the meager pieces of fruits and vegetables (dippers) that were served with it. I mean the menu says it serves 2 people and its costs Rs.825 + Taxes, which would work out close to Rs.1100 atleast. And as you can see in the pictures, we had two small pieces of everything, I mean 2 mushrooms, 2 grapes, 2 wedges of carrot so on and so forth. It is very much possible that it is how French eat, but I really wonder what would I do if I like something, there is just so second of anything. Plus we really did not appreciate raw vegetables but then were told by Chef that blanched or cooked vegetables just do not go well with it, so we understood his logic, still not really feeling satisfied. There were options of ordering additional dippers to go with the fondue, at extra charge  of-course, and we chose Chicken Sausages at Rs. 150++ (option of pork sausages and veg dippers was also there), which finally made us appreciate the fondue. 

Chicken Sausages

Moving on to the next course we ordered a Smoked Chipotle Bacon Wrapped Chicken (Rs.445++) and a Greek Salad (Rs.295++). Salad was fresh and really well made, while the Bacon wrapped Chicken was delicious and satisfying. A special mention to Kalamata Olives in the salad, Anuradha found them to be exceptionally good. 

The Greek Salad
Smoked Chipotle Bacon Wrapped Chicken
Smoked Chipotle Bacon Wrapped Chicken

Still hungry and keen on trying other fondues on the menu we decided to go for Entree Fondue and ordered a Cajun Bouillon (Bouillon is french for broth.. :P). Once again a pot was placed on the table with broth in it and brought to boil. We had options of ordering small plates from a selection of Seafood (Rs.425++ per small plate), Chicken (Rs.345++ per small plate) or Vegetables (Rs.315++ per small plate). You have to order atleast 2 small plates with any of the broths (other one being Vegetable Bouillon on the menu). 

Bouillon or Broth coming to a boil

We decided to go with Seafood options – Black Tiger Shrimp, Blackened Basa, Coconut Shrimps, Pecan Crusted River Sole and Mixed Seafood Tortellini were placed in-front of us. Now the amazing thing is that these dippers are all raw and they are cooked right there, on your table. Our waiter dipped the seafood into the boiling broth to cook for a minute or two and then served them straight on our plates. Once again everything was one of each, so cannot really comment on taste, however the experience and broth that we sipped at the end of it was super awesome and very delicious. 

Seafood Dipper that would be cooked in the broth itself.

Anuradha my partner in crime waiting patiently

In goes the dippers.

And out comes the prawns, ready to be served.

Different dips and sauces to go with our dippers 
And now came the moment that Anuradha and me were waiting for, the moment we ordered the Dessert Fondue. They have around a dozen Chocolate Fondues (Rs.845++ each) to choose from and all of them are served with moist Rich Pound Cake, Triple Chocobrownies, Wafers, and Fresh Fruits as dippers. Anuradha didn’t give me a choice on this one and ordered Dark Chocolate fondue called Chocolate Bliss. Though this fondue saw no action of the table unlike two earlier ones, however it proved to be the most blissfull of them all. Accompanied by a glass of Lambrusco Red Sparkling Wine, we were quite thankful that this fondue had 4 of all the dippers, unlike 2 each in earlier ones. And did I say that this one was actually Blissful?? 😛
Dippers for Chocolate Fondue
Chocolate Bliss – Dark Chocolate Fondue
I cannot talk much about the service as we were invited guests, however the waiter serving us seemed to be very well trained and knew his wines quite well. 
But for a place this expensive and food of this class, I really feel that the interiors lack the appeal, even the signage outside look quite ‘tacky’ to me. The induction plate fittings on the tables could have used more finesse as the wire coming down from tables pointed towards ‘jugaad’. I understand that it would have been quite a a task to get that working, but then as the idiom goes – God is in the detail.
Being a middle class Indian, I cannot help but crib about the number of dippers being too less with those fondues, specially at the price they are coming at. I am not someone who would complain about the prices, but then if I was paying for it, number of dippers would have left me with a LOT to be desired.
If I were to put my money into it, I would be going back for their Chocolate Fondue, The Greek Salad as well as the Bacon Wrapped Chicken. That said, the over all quality of food was extraordinary, the experience something that is a must have for any food lover or experience junkie. 
PS : Simply Fondue is an American Chain, with this being their first ever restaurant outside America. 
Simply Fondue

43, Chiranjiv Tower, Near Satyam Cinemas,

Nehru Place, New Delhi, Delhi 110019

Phone: 011 3290 6629
Connect with me on Twitter : @SH_AGer

Best Butter Chicken in Delhi – By Rajeev Gulati

After sampling 13 restaurants across Delhi, and spending more than Rs 13,000 each jury member, the jury has concluded …

BUTTER CHICKEN HUNT RESULTS

 (Conducted by DGC – Delhi Gourmet Club)

After sampling 13 restaurants across Delhi, and spending more than Rs 13,000 each jury member (because we followed the old-fashioned tasting panel rule of ordering the dish being tested at the end of an entire meal, rather than tasting only that dish and nothing else), the jury has concluded that INVITATION, Ashok Vihar, and MUGHAL MAHAL, Rajendra Place, are joint winners of the Certificate of Excellence.

Their butter chicken preparations are classics: the quality of the tomato used is perfect, so the gravy is neither too sour nor too sweet; the butter and cream have been intelligently deployed so as not to smother the masala; and the chicken hasn’t just been dunked into a pre-assembled gravy, but taken out of a tandoor and then added, its smokiness and juices adding character to the gravy.

Here are the detailed results in order of ranking (THE SCORES ARE OUT OF 50 and we judged according to the following parameters:

● Presentation
● Serving Temperature
● Quality of Chicken
● Taste of Gravy
● Quality of Accompaniments

Individual Scores :

Invitation: 38.5
Mughal Mahal: 37.75
Moti Mahal (GK-I): 35.5
Mini Mughal (GK-II): 32.5
Havemore (Pandara Road): 30
Kwality (CP): 29
Chicken Inn (Pandara Road): 28.25
Embassy (CP): 28
Minar (GK-I): 25.8
Dhaba (Rajouri Garden): 24.5
Moti Mahal (Malchal Marg): 21.5
Minar (CP): 20.25
Bhape da Hotel (CP): 15.5

We must profusely thank our most consistent jury members:

Atul Mohan; Vikram Bali; Puneeta Chadha Khanna; Vivek Vaid; Rajeev Gulati; Avininder Singh; Siddharth Gupta; Rocky Mohan.

Atul Sikand and Sanjiv K. Singh retired hurt after the first round.

We must also thank Sumit Goyal of Food & Nightlife Magazine and Pawan Soni of Indian Food Freak from joining us on the opening night and validating our judging process.

Written by Rajeev Gulati

Rollmaal – Missing Maal – A review by Rajeev Gulati

ROLLMAAL

Location – 28-A, Below Cafe Mocha, Def Col Market, New Delhi
Type – Fast Food. Self Service. Kaathi Rolls
The decor is very unconventional. Lights (inadequate & dim for the type of outlet) are made of old (waste) metal ‘Bhompu Type’ loud speakers, seats made with concrete slabs, partitioning done with waste tin barrels & containers, use of worn out glass, air con system matching stained to look old etc. It might appear funky in first look but appears cheap in prolonged subsequent looks.
The seating is inadequate with seating space for @ 20 people only. The design of plastic chairs looks cheap and is extremely uncomfortable. The concrete seating on the other side of the table is even worse. Remember, it’s a self service outlet with order placement on ground level and seating at basement. Customers who’ve already ordered their food, stand almost on your head with their order slips (along with the oversized food service intimation pagers) in their hand… waiting or rather almost forcing you (with their stares) to finish your food ASAP and vacate. In my opinion, RollMaal would have been a far better setup with standing tables only.
But let’s leave the ambience & looks aside. We primarily went to RollMaal for food only. We tried 4 types of Rolls…
● Chettinad Southy Chicken
● Multani Chicken Tikka
● Rollu Tawa Masala
● Bombay Style Chicken Franky
Almost all the outer wraps (outer paranthas) tasted similar. However these were described differently in menu. These were mostly made of thick layer of Atta. Somewhat under cooked to some extent. Some of our ordered rolls were with egg as per menu, but egg was least felt in visibility and taste.
Fillings consist of very less real meat or chicken and consist mostly of onion tomato masala. There was an overdose of selective spices depending on the type of roll, which virtually over-powered all other ingredient of the filling. Also mutton in the rolls was chewy and we discarded it. Not to forget… portion / roll size are small, if not tiny.
Their signature drink “Rollu’s ReMix” was recommended by the staff but it turned out to be a simple “Goli Wala Lemon” mixed with some local “Shikanji Masala” served in a small cheap type paper tumbler. The drink was warm. No separate ice was served, despite twice asked for.
We also ordered Keema pao, which had 2 pao buns served with it but Keema (warm, not hot) was not even enough for one pao. Keema was served in a thin plastic cup, similar to the size and quality of a small cup of commercially sold ice cream. It’s obvious that if this is their standard packing for Keema, then they’ll never be serving it piping hot as the chosen container is suitable only for warm and not hot contents.
They gave us @ 5ml of green chatani in a tiny plastic container (Excessive use of Plastic… shows they’re not considerate towards environment). Also being served complimentary was an alien stuff called “Choor Choor Papad” in a similar tiny 5ml plastic container. It was some sort of crushed Papad or khakhra and had a strange sweet salted taste. The quantity was not enough for a single tasting bite. How it could compliment a kathi roll… at least I couldn’t understand.
The quantity / size of accomplishments shown in pictures at websites is almost double of what is actually been served. Also there’s a large number of positive reviews for an outlet which is not even two month old. I don’t say these reviews are not genuine but I’m surprised with the contrast between what others have written and what I experienced. Luck, or should I say, bad luck.
The entire concept of designing your own rolls at RollMaal is unique, innovative, novel and very good but execution is imperfect. Had I got these rolls at a roadside Calcutta / Patna Roll Cart at prices (remember the taxes also) @ 60% to 70% cheaper than these, I had nothing to complain about. I never said and don’t say that RollMaal is BAD but I’m Not impressed either. Neither with taste & nor with the value for money. I would say, It’s the murder of my high expectations. RollMaal has nothing in it which can urge me to visit them, again.
P.S. – I was accompanied by my son, who’s a great fan of rolls and has had rolls at almost all the worthy outlets of Delhi. Incidentally, he shared the same views individually.
Also, immediately after visiting RollMaal and experiencing such large order for 2 persons, we still went to “Aap Ki Khatir” and had a Mutton Seekh Roll as dessert.
Written by Rajeev Gulati