Where to eat North Indian or Mughlai in Delhi? 28 places you Must Try!

We all know how popular North Indian & Mughlai cuisines are, and despite their fame, Delhi remains their home by default. The city is full of thousands of food joints and for a tourist or new comer to the city it might be a challenge to find best examples of our kebabs, curries and Butter Chicken. Here is a list of 28 places across all locations and price points to help making a choice easier.

We all know how popular North Indian & Mughlai cuisines are, and despite their fame, Delhi remains their home by default. The city is full of thousands of food joints and for a tourist or new comer to the city it might be a challenge to find best examples of our kebabs, curries and Butter Chicken. Here is a list of 28 places across all locations and price points to help making a choice easier.

This list is complied and shared by Rajeev Gulati

Thought of sharing my comment made on a post for rest of Eatlo members who might not have been following the post….

For Delhi and strictly for North Indian or Mughlai cuisine, my suggestions would be in following order…..

■ For Price : higher to lower

■ For Multiple suggestions : In order of more liked to lesser liked

Curry at Ashok & Ashok in Sadar Bazaar

1. Any one of following in 5 Star Category

● Dumpukht at ITC Maurya

● Bukhara at ITC Maurya

● Masala Art at Taj Palace

● Jamawar at Leela Palace Hotel

2. Any one of following in extraordinary food category – Non 5 star

● Indian Accent

● Setz at Emporio Mall

● Gulati’s Spice Market at Saket

● Chor Bizzare at Broadway hotel situated at Asaf Ali Road

3. Any one of following in Unlimited Indian Food Category

● The Great Kabab Factory at Radisson Blu Mahipal Pur

● Made in Punjab Restaurant at Cyber Hub (Lunch unlimited, Dinner A La Carte)

● Indian Grill Room at Suncity Golf course Road Gurgaon

● Bar Be Que Nation at Janak Puri

● Pirates of Grills at various locations

4. Any one of following in Regular Restaurant Category

● Kwality Restaurant at C.P.

● Gulati’s at Pandara Road

● Havemore at Pandara Road

● Invitation Restaurant Ashok Vihar

● Embassy Restaurant at C.P.

5. Any one of following in Dhaba Category

● New Khalsa Restaurant at Mayapuri
● Khurana Restaurant at Gaffar Market Karol Bagh
● Ajit Khalsa Dhaba at Chattar Pur
● Ashok & Ashok at Sadar Bazar or Zee Corner at East Patel Nagar – But for their Mutton & Chicken Curry only

6. Any one of following in Roadside Takeaway for having food in car Category

● Al Kausar at Chanakya Puri or RK Puram

● Al Kakori at Punjabi Bagh

● Blue Water Grill at Punjabi Bagh

● Entire Restaurants complex market at Rajouri Garden opposite Surya Hotel

● Kay’s Bar Be Que at Rajouri Garden or Ashok Vihar

● Saleems at various locations

Our Members would add more in these categories from their preferences. Please add your comments to the blog.

These are strictly my choices and are bound to be different than individual choices of our members.

 

Monkey Bar – A Quirky Breakfast

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I say I agree because that is when I eat my Chhole Bhature, Chhole Puri and kachori. Well, mostly. But then if you have to eat out in the morning the options are very limited, specially in non-traditional food. From top of my mind I can only think of All American Diner in Indian Habitat Center (which I am not much of a fan of) and coffee shops of star hotels that host breakfast buffets. 
When I got an invite from newly opened Monkey Bar in Vasant Kunj to sample their breakfast menu, I was excited, excited to know finally someone was focusing on the most important meal of the day. They started off with a special menu for Saturday and Sundays, which was available from 9 am to 1 pm. However now they serve it on Sundays only and that too from 10 am to 12:30 pm. My 2 cents would say that 10 am is too late to start a breakfast and it should start by 8 am if not earlier. That said I am not an industry expert, however I am sure it would have a lot to do with the actual demand and/or operational challenges faced by management. 
This morning me and my partner in crime Anuradha Gupta landed at the doorstep of Monkey Bar at 10:30 AM and the first look of the building took me by surprise. The restaurant is a glass pyramid, with essentially means a glass roof which is quite high. Giving it a feel that is like none another that I have experienced before. Even though we were indoors, it felt like open air, with filtered sunlight pouring in adding to the blissful feel of the morning. 

Multiple seating levels
Lot of natural light
Decent crowd for a Sunday noon.

The menu was quite refreshing, it was nice to see someone not going the usual cliched western breakfast way – eggs, sausages, bacon, potatos, breads, coffee, juices, but actually trying to innovate using the cliched items and then adding their own twist and quirkiness to it. The only downside – not much selection for vegetarians, specially the eggless types. 

I needed a strong coffee to kick start my system and Anuradha ordered a fresh watermelon juice. My french press was served with some milk on the side, however this morning I wanted to stay on the dark side and the coffee did not disappoint me at all. From aroma to taste, I had no reason to complain. Anuradha seemed quite happy too, knowing how tough a cookie she is to crack, I am assuming the juice was upto the mark in freshness as well as taste. 

Fresh Watermelon Juice
French Press Coffee
Star of the day for me : The Breakfast Slider
We started off by ordering a ‘Breakfast Slider’ which can be described as a Sandwich / Burger in what menu said was Louisiana style Biscuit. It had slices of smoked mozzarella, their house-made sausage patty (beef), poached egg, bacon, topped with loads of Hollandaise sauce. As much as I am trying to find a better and more descriptive word, Orgasmic is the only adjective that is coming to my mind. The best part : The bread used (Louisiana style biscuit) in the slider. One of the best bakery items that I have ever tasted, lovely texture which accentuated the taste of all the awesome ingrediends of the slider. Do not be deceived by its small size, it was VERY scrumptious and would be sufficient for an average breakfast all by itself. 

Breakfast Slider – One Side look
Breakfast Slider – Other side look – Loads of Hollandaise Sauce

Anuradha decided to go vegetarian today and ordered a combo called “GARDEN OF FIVE SENSES” which as per the menu had Mushroom rolls, Veg croquttes, hash browns, fetta stuffed tomatos, house-made baked beans, tomato chutney & toast. Hash browns were unedible, Mushroom rolls felt like a spring roll & I do not remember any fetta in my tomatos. Bakeds beans were delicious though small in portion, bread was freshly baked and one of the better ones you will have, tomato chutney was surprisingly yummy & croquttes were very well made, crispy and tasty. A confusing combo, I would rather not spend Rs. 450 (approx) + taxes on it. 

Garden of Five Senses

Stuffed Mushrooms, Croquettes and Tomato Chutney
Hash Browns, Mushroom Rolls, Grilled Onion and Tomatos
Another look at the Garden of Five Senses

Did I mention that they serve Cocktails in the breakfast? Yup specialy designed menu of 5 cocktails which they start serving at 11 am (Bar & exise regulations issues I would assume). We started by ordering a ‘Mary Pops In’ which is their take on the classic Bloody Mary and a ‘Chandon Mimosa’which was a Chandon Brut and Orange Juice. Mary Pops In had a nice smokey floavour and when we opend the the jar we were pleasantly surprised. As the morning progressed we sampled all the 5 cocktails on the menu other three being :

Chandon Mimosa
Jade Mojito
Mary Pops In
Once upon a time in Mexico 
Leprechaun’s Vice

– JADE MOJITO – Which had Green Apples, Mint and Rum as per the menu, however we felt some monin syrup in it too. The Apple in it was actually fresh and fun to bite into.  

– LEPRECHAUN’S VICE – Jameson Irish Whiskey, French Press Black Coffee, topped with Cream 
– ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO – Spiced Hot Chocolate with Dark Rum : Loved the drink, just the kind I appeciate. It came in a kullahd style chai cup (made of china though) which was quite funny and out of place. I think it would taste and feel better in some other glass. Also it was served without any stirrer, which is needed with this drink as the Chocolate sauce would always settle at the bottom and would need stirring to keep the concoction going the way it is supposed to go.  
None of the drinks gave us any reasons to complain and we were quite impressed by the quality of coctails. Quirky and delicious. Pefect start for a Sunday.. 😉
Our love for their breads continuted with ‘Bialy’ & ‘Toast to France’. The Menu describes Bialy as a New York style Jewish Bagel but much more gratifying. It comes with cream cheese and I got some smoked salmon added to it. It tasted good with salmon in it, however it tasted much better without the salmon. And yes, it was much more satisfying than any other bagel that I have ever had (though I have not had much :P). Toast to France as the name suggests, was much like frech toast but with a different bread, which again was the star of the show. Loved the way it looked! Giant portion, squishy bread and that tiny bottle to pour the syrup. The menu describes is as a Challah soaked in milk, eggs, wine, cinnamon, orange zest, honey and vanilla. Pan-fried and served  with house syrup.

Bialy – With Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese
Salmon and Cream Cheese
Toast to France 

Trying another dish in vegetarian selction we ordered MURTABAK, to call it a close relative of a Besan ka Chilla stuffed with Paneer Bhurji would be wrong. It was not a close relative but Besan ka Chilla stuffed with Paneer Bhurji itself. For someone like me its a very traditional dish we associate with our homes and to my pleasant surprise it tasted exactly as it would taste in home. The Paneer stuffed inside was very well done, not expected from a fancy ‘gastro-pub’, in a good way:P. It was served with delicious tomoto chutney and Chholey.

Murtabak 
Murtabak – Stuffing of ‘Paneer bhurji’

That brought an end to our breakfast, 50% of it I ate just because I was enjoying the ambiance, and the menu was so interesting that I wanted to try as much as possible. writing this post reminds me that there are still a bunch of things on the menu that sound VERY inviting to me and I guess I would be going back to try them soon enough. Specially those breads, I need to sample more of them.

Even though I should not be commenting on service here, however the staff seemed knowledgable & quite friendly.
Overall had an awesome experience. A must try menu if you enjoy your breakfast or food in general, however if you are a vegetarian, specially the ones who do not eat eggs as well, then visit at your own risk. Did not pay any attention or bothered about the prices as it was invited review for us, however a cursory look at the menu tells me that this place is not too expensive, atleast by the modern standards. A cocktail would cost you Rs.250-350 + taxes here, which I feel is quite reasoable. I would assume that rest of the menu would be priced accordinly too. 

You can connect with me on Twitter : @SH_AGer

Sunday Brunch @ Ssence at Hotel Surya – A review by Rajeev Gulati

Review – Sunday Brunch @ Ssence at Hotel Surya, New Friends Colony, New Delhi.
After a lot of buzz and much of planning, we went to the newly renovated coffee shop at Surya Hotel named Ssence (pronounced Essence) to sample their Sunday Brunch. We were a group of 14 (schoolmates initially but now in our 50’s) and pre-purchased our brunch vouchers through Groupon at a discounted price of Rs.1399 per person all inclusive with unlimited soft beverages. Their Dinner buffet is offered at an identical price whereas the weekday lunch is offered at Rs.999 at the same website (Groupon). However, usual price for Sunday brunch including taxes is @ Rs.2000.
The renovated restaurant has a huge area now combining the earlier coffee shop plus their Indian cuisine restaurant “Seven”. The decor and ambience is very lively and refreshing with use of bright lights and vibrant colors as against the earlier woody décor of their erstwhile coffee shop. It’s well spread and spacious. The entire feel of their coffee shop is with a lot of openness. They also have provision for private dining area for 10 to 12 person.
I was surprised to see the innovative use of cold cabinets (much like the ones in food supermarkets) for buffet display of pickles, dips, salads, cold cuts, smoothies, shots etc. to save space along with convenience to pick & choose. There was an Ice-Well with various salads and at least 10 types juices (fresh and preserved) and other drinks like shakes and sweet / salted lassi. Also on offer was a range of select whole fruits.
They have a see though live kitchen & live counters for many dishes. Food is awesome and fresh. The live counters are interactive and give you lot of options to customize your dish like Lava grill for Veg & Non Veg, live soup counter for soup made as per your taste, live pasta counter, live south Indian food counter, a special section for health food for those who count their calories.
Besides the usual continental & Chinese Cuisine, there was an enyire counter dedicated to fresh Sushi. What surprised us the choice of Indian cuisine which was very selective and special for a buffet. Dishes like Mutton Raan, Gilawati Kabab, Bhatti ka Murg, Fish Tikka etc, are not usually part of a buffet. The taste was surprisingly authentic.
We also got a chance to meet their Director F&B and Executive Chef Sanjay Behl, who took us through the various aspects of their buffet with a lot of enthusiasm. He then introduced us to his Indian cuisine specialty Chef Arif Qureshi, who is from the legendary family of Tundey Kababi from Lucknow and that clarified the reason for such authentic taste of their Mughlai / Indian cuisine.
A special mention of their excellent desserts range and Cold-Stone ice cream, which is a part of their buffet and is a unique experience. We rounded off our brunch with Jasmin Tea / Select Coffee with some fresh cookies.
Service was attentive and fast. I have often experienced problems with removal of used / empty plates from table but we found the service to be spot-on with this aspect too.
By far, this is ‘one of the best’ buffet in town and currently delivers the best VFM amongst all others on offer in Delhi NCR. Would I recommend it…. Certainly yes.

Delhi 6 – Food Delivery Service – Rajeev Gulati’s Experience

Delhi 6 is a food delivery service – as per their Facebook page they claim to bring to your table the royal recipes of Mughals and homemade delicacies of Muslim families from the walled city. Rajeev Gulati shares his experience of the same in this post. Kindly visit their Facebook page for contact and other details. 

I had been hearing lot many reviews about food from Delhi-6 by Shibli Anisand was keen on tasting the same but was not getting an opportunity somehow. Thanks to our friend Vikrant Pawa Ji who invited me over a dinner with delicious food from Delhi-6. Here is my food experience as per individual dish :-
Shaami Kabab – Medium sized Shaami Kababs deep fried to perfection. It was a pleasant surprise to feel the strands of pure mutton in each bite instead of the Shaami made from excessive pounded mutton mixed with lot of Channa Daal usually available at most of new places. I could feel the taste of pure mutton with mild spices and less chilly. Very soft and very good.
Chicken Gola Kabab – These were much like Sootli Kababs but were made with chicken. Delicate Seekh Kababs made with very fine chicken mince (rather pounded) infused with cinnamon and green chilly paste. These were so delicate that had to be wrapped with a thread so that they do not fall off the skewers while cooking. The thread was removed before serving and the taste was great. The kababs were very tender. Green chilly taste was very evident and was complimenting the otherwise bland basic taste of chicken.
Hari Mirchi Keema – Actually it had whole Green & Red chilly along with black pepper corns…. So technically should well be called “Saari Mirchiyon Ka Keema”. I was too pleased to see hand pounded coarse mutton instead of the usually available machine made Keema which almost fails to give you a taste of mutton and tastes more like Soya granules. Presence of three types of chilly was giving a wholesome experience to my taste buds allover, at the tip, middle and end of my tongue. Keema was tender and had adequate pieces of Mutton Nalli (Shanks) added to it to give it the flavors released from bone. Perfect dish.
Fish Curry – I am not a fish curry eater and I prefer my fish to be fried or grilled or steamed but I can assure you that this was made flawlessly. Fish used was Singhara and it was a perfect balance of firmness and tenderness. Firm enough to stay the prices intact and tender enough to melt in mouth. It was cooked in korma style gravy and the spices were kept minimum to compliment the delicate taste of fish.
Shab Degh – This was the dish I was keenly looking for as I was eating it for the first time. It’s a secret art to make a Shab Degh and there not many people, who have the expertise to make it. It’s a korma style dish made of Mutton Kofta balls and medium sized whole Shalgam (Turnips) and it is cooked on DUM. The art is to cook it in such a way as to keep the mutton soft and at the same time to maintain the delicate Shalgam firm enough to retain it’s texture. The spices were kept to minimum to compliment the taste of main ingredients. I cannot compare this dish with any other place as I had it for the first time. Yet I was convinced with their art of cooking this delicate dish.
Mutton Biryani – Long rice grains with each grain separated, partially colored, and with added fragrances, delicate spices and Mutton pieces just rightly cooked. A perfect Biryani. However I expect a little more in the form of rich use of Saffron & Cardamom and lesser use of ghee. A perfect Biryani it was otherwise but still has scope for betterment. I would suggest them to make to varieties of Biryani as the one they are making right now and another more similar to the one served at Dumpukht which is called a Parda Biryani and has only Saffron used as color with very mild fragrant spices and almost no ghee at all. I like my Biryani to be lighter and milder with meat pieces more tender. But then again, that’s my personal choice and that does not takes away the credit of this dish, which was liked by all.
Sheermal, Ghee Chini Roti & Roomali Roti – All three types of breads were made to perfection and I was so very full by this time that I could only taste a piece from all three.
Written by Rajeev Gulati

Litti Chhokha – Bihari delight on Noida streets

Litti Chokha is a dish that not many Dilliwalas know about, to simplify it, I was told that it is like Baati (Dal-Baati-Churma fame) but from Eastern side of India, Bihar to be more specific. But now I know that comparing it with Baati is simplifying it too much. They both are round balls of flour – I guess the similarity ends there. 
Litti soaked in Ghee with Chokha of Aloo and Baigan.

Litti Chokha : The Dry version
I am not an culinary expert and to keep things simple I would describe Litti as a round ball of flour stuffed with some Sattu and then cooked over a grill fired with coal. Or alteast that is what I have eaten mostly, specially in Sector 58 of Noida which is a strong hold of Litti Chhokha sellers. Chokha that we get there is a mix of potato and aubergine as base. However I have been told that it can be be made of Chhole/Chana, Chicken, Mutton etc amongst other things. 
Talking about the ones that we usually get on streets of Noida, they are simple balls of flour which are stuffed with Sattu, which is a powder of grounded pulses, chane ki dal in this case I would assume. Sattu in turn is dry roasted/toasted with garlic, onions, green chilli, coriander, ajwain, jeera and mangrella (Kalongi or Onion seeds) which add lot of flavor to it. Litti is then baked / roasted on a coal fired grill, which makes it quite crispy and crunchy. It can be served dry or dipped in Desi Ghee; which is my favorite way of eating it. When the Desi ghee reaches the core of it then the magic happens for me. The aroma, the flavors are divine enough to captivate all your senses.
Getting roasted on coal fired grill.
A closer look
The Young lad making and serving us. Loved his hospitality and attitude. 
Coming to chokha, usually its the Aloo-Baigan ka mix that these guys serves, however what makes it interesting is the use of 3 chutneys or sauces to spice it up. One is made of mustard seed paste in mustard oil base, the other is red chilli, and the third one is green one with ginger, garlic, coriander and green chillies in it. Usually they mix it as per their standard recipe, however its fun to get it customised by asking him to add more mustard or chilli depending on what your taste is like. Chokha has a very smoky flavor as they roast the aloo and baigan rather than boiling them, plus the after taste of garlic is simply wow. Raw onions and fried green chillies served with it work brilliantly to get your palette ready for the next bite. 
Three Chutneys that go in Chokha, they are not served with the dish as a condiment this is for illustrative purpose only. 
Toasted Sattu that was stuffed in the Litti
I have been eating them for last couple of years in Sector 58 of Noida and have always got varied tastes and quality, however yesterday I encountered a better one from the lot and thought would share the love with fellow foodies. These are small stalls without any names and very little differentiating one from another in identification, however to keep things simple – Go to sector 58 in Noida, look for water tank, when near it ask for gas agency and right outside it would be a guy selling his wares. Remember that the gas agency is on the opposite side of water tank, 50-100 meters ahead of it. To confirm ask who gives Piliye ki dawai (Jaundice Medicine) and that is your guy. Below is the map, with a marker on the Water Tank I am talking about. 


View Larger Map

I think traditionally its a working man’s snack and hence it costs pittance, Rs.20 for 2 desi ghee soaked Litti with Chokha and you get 3 of those Littis for same amount if you prefer the drier version. And as far as I know they make a very healthy snacking option, much healthier than fried OR maida stuff that we usually get on our streets. Right from the brown flour to sattu to chokha, I do not see anything wrong with any of those things. 
Usually they operate from 9 am to 9 pm, however since these are not permanent establishments, the timings may vary. Like yesterday they had to wind up by 7 pm due to pressure by cops. 
All in all, its one of my favorite things to eat, simply because of the flavors. It is a MUST try dish if you like your flavors strong, and for a vegetarian it would be a much welcome addition to the variety of things one can eat and which are on tastier as well as healthier side.  If you have to make a trek to eat it, I would say do it. Its worth it.

Thanks to Anuradha Gupta, though I have written this post, however a major contribution comes from her too.

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