Chhole Bhature at Roshan Di Kulfi

When opportunity presented itself to have breakfast from outside, I thought of giving McDonald’s breakfast menu a try and order in. However they do not deliver in Rajendra Nagar and that is where my office is situated. Going to one of their outlets was an option, however if I have to go out, I would not go out for McDonald’s specifically. For me, they have always been about convenience more than the food. Subway came to mind, and so did Roshan Di Kulfi, which is hardly 5 minutes ride from where I work. And no prizes for guessing where I landed up.
Those who know me, they know that last thing I want to eat before I die is Chhole Bhature. And while god has gifted me with this life, I want to make most of it by sampling as many as I can. Stepping into Roshan Di Kulfi, I could feel the old school ambiance, the seating arrangement that I used to see couple of decades back, waiters in black trousers and white shirts, walls lined up with ceramic tiles, and the place is still a clear favorite with locals. There were several gentlemen in latter halves of their lives, having breakfast and chit chatting over lassi. 
Roshan Di Kulfi’s name pops up every now and then, and it is never for the Kulfi but more often than not, Chhole Bhature. Though they serve a great deal more, and kulfi obviously is their specialty however I decided to commit the blasphemy and not order their kulfi. I started by ordering a plate of Chhole Bahture, which by looks of them looked pretty ordinary, however as I was checking my mails and they were sitting on my table, a whiff of Desi Ghee took my attention, and paying attention to the smell of the food in-front of me, I realized that it was made in Desi ghee. First bite of Bhatura, and it was evident that it was of plain variety (no paneer or aloo stuffed in it), though non greasy from outside; however had a moist feeling from inside, which clearly was from the ghee present there. 
Puri Subzi
Subzi made of mixing Aloo and Chhole
 Overall Chhole Bhature were good, however I would just limit myself to saying that they were ‘good’. After this experience, I can say for sure that making Bhatura’s in Desi ghee is not a good idea, Puri is fine, but not Bhature. Since they were serving Puri Subzi too, I decided to give them a shot. Puris were made of Atta and were of non-crispy variety, the subzi being a mix of Chhole and Aloo. Again, the taste of Subzi was over powered by Desi Ghee and I could hardly taste the spice, but it still went down well. A helping of Dahi (Curd) added to subzi would have helped a lot. Then came the Lassi, in tall steel glass, which definitely is one of the better ones I have had in Delhi. It was quite thick, not too sweet, and went down very well. 
Tall Glass of Lassi
Talking about pricing, though Rs.60 per plate for Chhole Bhature sounds steep, however I will give in to the fact that they actually use Desi Ghee, which is quite an expensive proposition. Paid Rs.40 for lassi and Rs.20 for one Puri I had.
I am definitely going back there to have more of their Puri (with dahi along with subzi this time), however I will not go their specifically for Chhole Bhature, but won’t mind eating them if I am there.
PS : Please pardon the quality of pictures, as they have been shot using a mobile phone camera.

Kake Di Hatti & Giani ka Faluda – A Combo for Ages

A mere mention of name Chandni Chowk in a discussion about food, throws up a long string of names, names of galis, kuchas, joints, eateries etc. Besides some of the equally legendary names, Kake Di Hatti always pops up. I am not much familiar with Fateh Puri Area, except for 2-3 times I have been there in last year or so, however as luck would have it, was never able to visit Kake Di Hatti. And surprisingly, despite such a big name, an average Delhite knows very little about it and its more surprising how little information internet has about it. 

Kake Di Hatti 
After visiting diners for two weeks, the popular demand for next outing was for something Desi, and it had been a while that we visited the walled city. So we decided that it is a good opportunity to sample the goodies offered by Kake Di Hatti, and this Saturday evening, around 17 of us landed at his doorstep. There was a huge crowd of customers at the entrance, most of them for getting the food packed and hardly and seating space visible, however we were guided to first floor. To get there you have to climb some stairs, which also serves as a stockyard for Potatoes and LPG Cylinders amongst other things. The first floor turned out to be quite pleasant, with couple of air conditioners trying very hard to keep things under control, and given the conditions, were doing a half decent job as well. The bare minimal furnishing comprised of highway style wooden table and benches, comfortable… who gives a damn. We were there for a reason and wanted to settle down and start hogging ASAP, few tables were rearranged, stools and benches pulled from here, pushed there, and we were all set.

Riding the Rickshaw, through a glorious looking Chandi Chowk
Fateh Puri Masjid
FEDs, All Set to HOG
A look at the menu, and my mouth was wide open, the prices were unbelievably cheap. Looking at what was being served at other tables, portions seemed to be huge, for a moment I was wondering how can they serve such huge portions of such awesome looking food for this price. But waiter confirmed that what we were seeing on other tables was the actual portion size. 

at the Tandoor
Stuffed naan
Naan – The Actual Size

We started slow, ordering 7 naans (1 naan has reputation of feeding 2 people), couple of Dal Makhanis and Kadhai Paneers. The menu had several varieties of Naan, however what caught our attention first was one that went by ‘Dhuandhaar’ naan, the name itself suggested something that would set things on fire and it did not disappoint. A clear favorite of FEDs, was able to impress one and all, except the ones who were not too comfortable with Chilies. Besides that, Paneer Naan, Aloo Naan, Pyaz Naan, Gobhi Naan, Mix Naan, Mutter Naan are a few that I can recall ordering and having. By the way, all their naans have a base stuffing on Aloo and everything else is added with the base of Aloo only. 

Kadahi Paneer

Dal Makhani

Dal was simply amazing, the way Dal makhani is supposed to be. Shahi Paneer, Kadhai paneer were favorites however we did not enjoy their Mutter Paneer or Malai Kofta (but they were ordered towards the end of the session, so half the Junta was already full). The food was what you would expect from a Punjabi Dhaba of highest standards, portions were extremely generous and service acceptable. At the end of it, we ended up having 15-20 Naans, 4-5 Dal Makhani, 4-5 Shahi Paneer, 3 Kadhahi Paneers, Malai Kofta, Mutter Paneer and Palak Paneer. And the bill really took us by surprise, Rs.1868 in total. 

Chandni Chowk, during rains
Giani Di Hatti

Rabri being added by the measure
Ready to be served

This is how we do it, the crowd you see, everyone if from FED
We stepped out of Kake Di Hatti to a rain soaked, glorious looking Chandni Chowk. And set our sights next door, to Gianni Di Hatti for Rabri Faluda. I have had it before once, and was quite disapponited by it, didn’t find anything special in it and was too sweet for my taste. However this visit was totally different, I planned to have a few spoonfuls only, however couple of mouthfuls later, wanted the entire glass to myself, and so did everyone else. Though I am not a big fan of faludas, however after having had it at Giani’s that day, I am going back for more. 

Stuffed like a Naan
If you care for bit of history, Kake Di Hatti was started in 1940, and is handled by the 4th generation now. As the newspaper article framed and gathering dust in the eatery tells us, current owner is a graduate from Sri Ram College of Commerce and Post Graduate from Delhi School of Economics. Must admit, pretty solid qualification for selling those legendary Naans.

PS : Pics courtesy Harjeev Singh Chadha and Nikhil Garg.

Southie Lunch at Spice Water Trail

Being a South Indian, I dislike eating south Indian food in any form, especially when there are 3 awesome south Indian cooks in my home. I find it puzzling when people PAY to eat south indian food. I personally feel that Upma is the worst creation by mankind and I still cannot believe that an Upma dish won that Indian chef some million dollars (Holy mother of god). My mum too expressed displeasure when she found this out because she is actually capable of dishing out atleast 365 varieties of Upmas to torture me every day of the year.
So IF I HAVE to eat south Indian (read – pestering by friends and me finally relenting) then I insist on eating the authentic. I cannot stand when people drag me to eat Masala Dosa or Upma or worse Idli (ooo god). (There are other things in madrasi khana too, people, apart from masala dosa and idli)
So there have been quite a many decent South Indian outlets which serve decent authentic food. There’s Andhra Bhavan (by far cheapest and best andhra food I have had and being a native of andhra, I can distinguish my gongoora from my aavakaai – i’ll wait until you google).
Then there is Swagath (Gurgaon among other places), Sagar (def col), Tamil Nadu house canteen, Karnataka Bhavan, Saravana Bhawan, Zambar, Zunpowder and I could go and on.
So this weekend I went to eat at a place called Spice Water Trail in GK1 because frankly I was sick of eating Chinese and Italian for lunch. So somehow, in a bout of amnesia, I decided to go with my friend and eat south indian food. It first caught my attention due to its different name and the outside wall which was painted orange. So cool.
First of all, the ambiance. It is, well, south Indian. There are bells and bell shaped things hanging, big wooden pillars in the middle. Quite comfy and totally non-intimidating. I hate places where I feel that I am under dressed. This is completely opposite. Quite warm and nice. The place opens up at 12.30 and serves till 10 in the night, I guess. It plays south Indian instrumental music (violin, mandolin etc), apt for the surroundings. But after looking at me and my friend, they changed the music to  trance. I told them to change it back and thankfully it was back on.
And it serves Mangalorean, Andhra and Tamilian cuisine.
Being vegetarians, we had limited choice but still were determined to make the most of it. So for starters we ordered Vaazhapoo Cutlet (yes i memorized the name). It is banana flower (yes flower) mixed with different kinds of dals and rolled into a cutlet. And as an accompaniment, we had Coconut Water.

For the main course, we ordered a Pumpkin Elliseri (pumpkin in grated coconut curry. Kerala cuisine I think) and Ghee Rice.

The four Chutneys
While we were waiting for our food to arrive, there was papad and 4 most awesomest chutneys to give us company. The papad was rice papad (typical to southie cuisine and quite nice) and the chutneys.. OOOO MY GOOOOOOD. Four most awesome chutneys in front of me in 4 cups. It was sheer brilliance. The first chutney was a coconut chutney, the second was mint and coriander chutney, third was onion chutney and the fourth and the most brilliant of them all, was some kind of dal and tamarind chutney. All these chutneys had so many different flavors going on and neither of them tasted like the other which was so perfect.


While I was wolfing down papad after papad (with the chutneys of course), I reminded myself of the awesome meal that was waiting for me. So I stopped after 2 papads. (or was it 3, I don’t remember).
Papad with chuntney
Soon after our starters came. The banana flower cutlet. It was unlike any other cutlet I have ever eaten. What a beauty. It was super crispy on the outside and soft and brittle on the inside. I was surprised how they managed to fry it without breaking it. Now while eating south Indian food, there are always a million delicate flavours at play and the same goes for this cutlet too. So many spices, flavours inside my mouth. And with the chutneys, it was as if an atom bomb full of delicate and wonderful flavours was blasting inside my mouth. And with a bit of lemon, it became superlative. As soon as I took the first bite, I forgot the outside world (and even my friend for 5 minutes) and concentrated on the plate in front of me.

After finishing the cutlets, came the main course. It was pumpkin (seetafal) in coconut based curry. The pumpkin was cooked to perfection but the pieces retained their original shape. (I love when chefs are able to do that). Again it came with a million flavors but completely different from the ones in the cutlet. This was coconuty and had flavors like dhania (that saabut dhaniya thingy, I asked my mum), and asafoetida (heeng) and curry leaves, mirchi (red one) and other spices. It was a little sweet (because of the pumpkin) a little hot, and a whole lot flavorful.

Banana Flower Cutlet

The Ghee rice was a perfect accompaniment in case you are a rice eater (chef’s recommendation when we were thinking of ordering lemon rice), although aapam would also be perfect with this curry.

While we had a Tamilian starter and a Keralite curry in the main course, we wanted something from Andhra too. So I asked for “Gongoora” an Andhra pickle which went perfectly well with the rice and the curry. The pickle is made from a leaf and it is a little tangy and pickly and with tamarind, it was just brilliant and perfect. (I know, I am running out of adjectives).

Pumpkin  in coconut gravy and ghee rice
Even though the options are limited for vegetarians (as always, Hmmph), but they make special effort for it to be a treat. As for the non vegetarians, I saw two ladies carrying LV bags and wearing stilettos and ordering prawn curry and chicken chettinad and literally licking their hands and plates.
The coconut water was extremely fresh and refreshing and cool. It was as if they were freezing coconuts inside the freezer and took them out when asked. It wasn’t that sweet though, but refreshing enough.
The staff is extremely sweet and ever smiling and will point out if you are ordering too many things with the same flavor. So listen to them when they tell you not to order lemon rice with the pumpkin curry. The price range is modest and the portions are good too. All that we ordered was for Rs. 850 but VAT killed us and the overall bill was for Rs. 1150. Quite decent for 2 people.
I truly enjoyed my tryst with south Indian food for lunch. In case you are bored with the usual bread, burger, roti, paneer, pasta, go try this place for something flavorful and delicate and experience something truly delightful.

Bille de Hatti – Best LASSI in Town. Period.

Since the start of my professional career, I used to visit Bille di Hatti at Kamla Nagar (Near North Campus). For last few years, I used to go to Kamla Nagar quite regularly for work, and Billa was and still is my favored source of nutrition. It is a small shop, but its Puri and Chhole are real good. And the halwa that I used to order with my Puri-Chhole is a delight to have. But the real treat or should I call it the reason to visit the shop is heavenly LASSI ‘malai maar ke’.
Sinful pleasures, Bille ki Lassi, in Tall Steel Glass
I went there this past week and realized one thing: Bille’s food in past years have got a special place in my food menu, a must have even if I am in locality or already stuffed with food. The place though, has changed quite a bit in last few years, it’s now bigger with sitting area inside for the food lovers. But outside it is as it used to be – the busy Kamla Nagar Market. The very smell of heeng on the road or in Market makes you feel hungry.
Puri Chhole being served
In one corner of the shop ‘halwai’ fries Puris in huge kadhais, while in another corner, which is the entrance to the shop and the sitting area, the owner prepares glasses of frothy LASSI. The shop has been around for 60 years, and it serves only three items in the first half – Puri-Chholey (Chholey also have Aloo in them), Halwa and LASSI. And in second half (post 2:30 pm) Samose, Halwa and Lassi.
Puris being made
As mentioned earlier, for me the must have is the LASSI, the guy prepares the lassi in front of you by putting a vessel full of Curd / Dahi, for me the reason for the taste of LASSI lies here only because unlike other vendors in Delhi, they (Bille’s) prepare and keep their curd in traditional ‘Mitti wala bartan’, as it is called in Punjab, rather then aluminum or steel vessels used in other places. The earthen vessel (paraat / bartan) gives the real flavor to the curd. Then the guy puts approx 200 -250 gm of curd, ice cubes and a big quantity of sugar (It might seem a real big quantity for diet conscious people) for one glass and serves it with delicious topping of Malai. They serve Lassi in thick paper glass but the traditional tall steel glasses are still available on demand. Though I have lassi through out the year but in summers it gives a real high when Delhi heat just squeezes you out, more so when your job requires to be on road for a major part of the day.

The shop is situated in the lane opposite to the main market , though the shop is quite famous, it is advised to ask the shop owners in market for the direction rather then a rickshaw-wala or fellow vehicle drivers (the address is 72D, Kamla Nagar). The near by metro station is Pul Bangash or Vishvidhalya.

Lassi, ready for takeaway
Each plate of Puri Sabzi for Rs. 30, a glass of LASSI for Rs. 30, a plate of halwa (very well roasted) for Rs. 20 and the Samosa is for Rs 8 per piece .

If we are looking for some real good Lassi then I would recommend Bille ki LASSI it is a cut above the rest in Delhi, not sure even the shops Chandni Chowk area can match it.

All the pictures come from Shashank’s collection, shot in February 2011.

Chili’s – finally some Mexican in Delhi

I’ve been thinking of writing food reviews for quite a while now & considering how much I eat, it’s not a bad idea at all! So here goes my first food review blog.
Ever since Sanchos shut down (first from south ex & then CP), Delhi is officially devoid of any good Mexican food restaurant. No, Rodeo does not qualify because it serves Dal & Paneer in it’s buffet. And as for Amigo, well a bad experience there (let’s not get into details but it involved an insect) would ensure I never go there again!
So my long wait for cheesy Tacos, Burritos, Enchiladas & Quesadillas finally ended when the American chain Chillis opened it’s shutter at the Ambience Mall in Vasant Kunj.
Firstly, the ambiance: I’d give it a high rating of 8/10 because I felt extremely comfortable there. Plenty of seating space, despite which I’m guessing they are gonna have waiting soon.
Now the Food : The Menu is well focused. In appetizers, go for their Classic Nachos- not as messy as the ones at Hard Rock Cafe(which I think are superb) but tasty in their own way. And dare not forget the Onion Rings & Jalapeno Pepper stack (they were almost over by the time I remembered to take the pic), the yummiest big basket of fried vegetarian appetizer I’ve had.
Classic Nachos Platter
Onion Rings & Jalapeno Pepper Stack
The drinks menu is pretty good too, they serve 4 chilled Beers in a basket for just Rs.500 & for just Rs.100 you get unlimited refills of any soft drink (diet coke, sprite etc)! That’s pretty neat i say, but forget all that & go for their Minty Melon, a mocktail that will blow your mind away, it’s so refreshing & comes in a big martini glass that looks like it belongs to a clown. Very cute :D.
Minty Melon
Now the main course, it is kind of difficult to decide but I chose the classics – Cheese & Mushroom Tacos, the Vegetable Quesadillas, Chicken Fajitas & the Crispy Honey – Chipotle Chicken Crispers. Quite a big order eh? Yes, we were 4 people and we all eat like Monsters. By the way, they give you an option of choosing your tacos Crisp or non-Crisp, I always go for the crisp ones cos, even thought it makes the food messy, it just tastes better!

The tacos were messy and delicious, they don’t go stingy on the cheese or the vegetables inside & I like that. The Quesadillas too, were made to perfection & boy, were they cheesy. Both of these dishes were served with rice & black-beans on the side, true Mexican way. The chicken, OMG the CHICKEN, it was awesome! so crispy and flavorful on the outside & juicy on the inside. The chicken is served with fries and corn-on-cob on the side. I’d actually go back there just for the chicken, no wait, actually i’d go back for a lot of things. Oh & the Fajitas were good too, I can’t write too much about them coz i just had a bite or two & I’m not a big Fajita fan. Over all, I’d give the food a high 8.5/10

Cheese & Mushroom Tacos (Crisp)
Veggie Quesadillas
The service at the place was quick & efficient, most dishes came within 10 minutes of ordering. The portions are BIG & the prices are not. The staff is well informed and makes good suggestions, I personally find that a very good thing.
One extremely wonderful thing about this restaurant is that despite having a full Bar, it still seems like a family restaurant & is very child-friendly. My second visit here was with my 3yr-old niece and the waitress was kind enough to get a baby chair along with an activity kit that contained child-safe crayons & coloring book to keep them entertained. Excellent way to attract families I say!
After visiting the place thrice, I’d strongly recommend this place. Be it for a couple of drinks with buddies, or a fulfilling meal with family after shopping, A good place to unwind!

The Brick House Diner – The new Big Boy of Burger scene in Delhi

UPDATE – 26th January 2012 – The Brick House Diner is no longer in business.

It has been a natural inclination of us FEDs to visit or raid outlets which have an established name including some valued treasures which have reached a legendary status in the food scene and their claims and reputation can never be questioned by any critic or enthusiast. But this time we found ourselves in the mood for some questioning. We thought, with so many new and exciting places springing up around town, why not try and see what they have brought to the party. After-all, it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it, right?

We decided to venture out of our comfort zone and carry out a raid on a brand new and un-heard of place without any expectations what-so-ever. So, our little experiment led us to “The Brick House Diner”. 

This is what you call a burger in all its glory, The Ghost

Since this is a new place, not many had heard of it, and there was just a little if any information available online about it, but their claim of making the “Best Burgers in Delhi” tempted us foodies to go ahead and find out whether their declaration holds any water and how their food appeals to the palate of the FEDs.

 This place is in Satya Niketan and just in the beginning of the little market opposite Venky, look to your left for their neon sign when you take a left turn from Ring Road after Moti Bagh Gurudwara.
The FEDs
Whenever the FED group gets together, the fun- friendly “college canteen-ish” atmosphere is instantly created and this time was no different. We worked our way through the menu which is vast and very expansive. I was a little put-off and confused to see items like Aloo Pranthas and Egg Bhurji on offer. I do love my pranthas but I wouldn’t head to a diner if I ever have a craving for them.

For starters we decided we’ll trust the owner Bhuvnesh, and he got us a sample of a few of his Tapas grilled items. The non-vegetarians had more options to sample but sadly the vegetarian choice was neither varied nor very exciting. We tried the Shrimp, Lamb, Chicken, Pork and Buff. Each of them had a different and distinct marination but the one that stood out for me was the Pork with the Buff being second. The shrimp was passable but the Lamb and the Chicken was avoidable.

The Shrimp Tapas
Pork Tapas
Buff on Skewer
Lamb Tapas
Chicken Tapas
Along-with the starters we sampled two drinks, The Cafe Frappe which is essentially the machine vended Nescafe Frappe with a few additions to make it stronger and less sweet and it was not bad actually. The other was a Litchi flavored Iced Tea which was again alright but the fun part was a nice little “litchi-jello” shot inside the drink which many of us confused for an ice cube. What I observed is that none of us ordered the drinks again with our food and instead preferred the regular soft-drinks, so nothing extra-ordinary in the drinks space. Perhaps some interesting milkshakes would do the trick. 

It was time now to get down to business and do what we were there for, Take on the burgers. 

Once again, there was not much choice available for the vegetarians, and I had started kind of feeling bad for them. But that was only until I was served with “The Ghost”, that’s what they call their biggest burger. It’s this monstrous thing loaded with three large lamb patties, cheese, sautéed mushrooms, a fried egg, fresh lettuce, caramelized onions and, as if that wouldn’t choke an artery, I asked for some extra bacon strips to be put on it as well. The things that we have to do….phew..

After getting over the sheer size of the thing, we figured out the best way to tackle it. Opening your mouth wide enough to get the whole thing in is impossible, but how much ever I did was absolutely wonderful. Their meat patties are fresh and so are the other ingredients. All four of us who opted for this burger were glad that we did. Their patties are not at all greasy and they definitely have got this one right. It got all the marks in my book.
The Ghost
Interestingly, the owner informed us that they are coming up with a Man vs. Food type “The Ghost Challenge” wherein if anyone can finish (get this..) 5 of these burgers within 45 minutes he gets to have his (or her) picture put up on their “Wall of Fame” and the meal is free of charge (not calories) but if, by any chance, you happen to be human and you cannot finish that much food, your picture is put up on the “Wall of Shame” and you have to cough up the money. Feel free to take them up on it.
Another lamb burger that deserves mention is the Baconator which had a single lamb patty and a few strips of bacon plus the other regular toppings. After-all, you can never go wrong with bacon right?

The other non-vegetarians amongst us who were averse to eating red meat naturally opted for the chicken burgers but I frankly didn’t see that much happiness on their faces as there was on the red meat eaters. One of them told me that the Classic Chicken burger was average at best.

Ghost against a regular Burger
Delightful French Fries
Not to be left behind, upon seeing the enormity of the ghost burger, the vegetarians requested a “Veg Ghost” which the owner very graciously attempted but sadly, as it was an impromptu request, it was not a very good one. In fact, they purposely took the Veg Ghost off the tab and insisted on not charging for it as it was not satisfactory. Shashank gave them some of his expert feedback and Bhuvnesh the owner took note and promised to re-work the thing from a scratch.

They do praise their pizzas, and they are different from what I’ve had anywhere as they make the dough with a unique mixture of regular pizza dough and the dough used in Kulcha’s. They are worth trying out and they have a wide variety of toppings on offer.

Veg Harvest Pizza
Pesto-licious Pizza
We tried their pastas and were not disappointed. The non-vegetarians all loved the Ala Carbonara Fettuccine as the plate was wiped off clean, they have got the cream reduction rather perfect on that one. The Spicy Chicken Sausage pasta made with penne and fusilli was also done right as was the Pasta Bolognaise with a marinara base and an interesting mix of seasoning.
Ala Carbonara Fettuccine
Spicy Sausage Pasta
I noticed a few other interesting items on their menu, like the 16oz Rib Eye Stake, which I would have tried but couldn’t because I was stuffed to capacity. 

Bhuvnesh the owner graciously gave us a complementary taste session of his passion fruit puddings in 4-5 different flavors. They were very light and refreshing and were like a healthy alternative to cheesecakes. All of us unanimously voted for the Litchi one as our favorite.

Passion Fruit Puddings
What they have got bang on target is their pricing. Their prices are modest and definitely fall in the Value for Money category. Their biggest burger The Ghost is priced at a modest Rs 300 with the others ranging from Rs 60 to 150. The pastas range is from Rs100 to 200 and the quality that you get is no less than what you get in some of the other snooty high priced restaurants. 
Happy faces with Chef and Owner Bhuvnesh
The fact that stands out most in our experience is the fun that we all had in sampling the different dishes. It is a nice place for a big group of friends to just gather together and have a good laugh. The thing most appreciable is the willingness of the owner to constantly get a feedback so he can go back and improve his food. Being new there are quite a few areas which need improvement and he sure seems up to the task.

The thing that will make me go back to the Brick House Diner is definitely the burger, but moreover it will be the laid-back non-commercial unpretentiousness of the place.

I would rate the Brick House Diner a 3 out of 5 with a strong potential to improve further.

UPDATE – 26th January 2012 – The Brick House Diner is no longer in business.

My First Food Raid – The Brick House Diner – A Vegetarian’s Perspective

UPDATE – 26th January 2012 – The Brick House Diner is no longer in business.
So today was the day when I went for my first “FED raid” as they call it. It was so frickin’ brilliant. Bunch of foodies gathering together, literally ordering everything possible from the menu. As I was going to visit this place, I was reminded of the episode from How I Met Your Mother, where Marshall waits 8 years to eat the best burger in New York.

And as today I was coming back from the “raid”, my sister’s first reaction after coming near me was that I smell of food. So mission accomplished.

A yummy non veggie burger, look at the cheese dripping out. Yumm !
So we all, as decided, went to a place called The Brick House Diner, located right in front of Venky (the college). The best part about the “Diner” is its location. As soon as you turn left towards Venky, you can spot the shiny neon sign.

The interiors are, as the name suggests, made of brick, although the space is short for large gatherings. It is a comforting, non formal setting and that is what works I guess when you open a diner opposite a college.

The Raiding Party, waiting patiently for their food to arrive
The Raid Party, from another angle

So I heard that the place was famous for its burgers. There are very few places in Delhi which serve good burgers and that too vegetarian ones (and no I am not including Mc Donald’s in the list, for the love of god people, come on). There has been Hard Rock, American Diner and News Cafe. The last one i haven’t been to, but have heard a lot. Burgers have always been a non veggie paradise and I still have yet to come in contact with the best burger in Delhi. The best vegetarian burger!!!

The litchi ice tea. The transparent thing is the litchi Jello-O, superb
So it started out quite differently than usual with 2 drinks coming our way. The first one being a frappe and the second one was a litchi ice tea. The frappe tasted like any other nescafe frappe and it wasn’t until my friend pointed out that it was sweeter and chocolaty than normal frappe. I am not much of a coffee person and frankly couldn’t make out much. But the litchi ice tea was quite a surprise. It was regular ice tea with a hint of litchi. Pretty good but the surprise was a litchi jelly masquerading as an ice cube. For the longest time, I was wondering that why wasn’t the ice cube melting. Very clever and innovative. This has potential to be a sure hit with the campus crowd.
Finally starters for the vegetarians, one in green color, the other in brown
Some non veggie starter, looks fantastic.
Again something for Non-vegetarians
Shrimp Tapsa, the non veggies couldn’t stop eating and we couldn’t stop looking and get jealous

For starters, there was a tapas platter containing two veggie skewers. One green in color and the other brown. The green one had peanuts and peas and I couldn’t make out about the other one. The former was definitely better than the brown one and overall made for quite a good start.

The Erstwhile Garden burger, ahem
The Non-Veg burger again (don’t know which one) in its full glory

After the drinks, came the main course. There were a million varieties for non veg burgers and only 2 for vegetarians. But the chief chef had cooked up a very special, experimental 3rd variety for the health conscious, calorie counting campus crowd, which is not on the menu. The chef was trying it out for the first time and was asking us for opinions about the same.

The experimental one was a garden burger, another one was a veggie’s delight and the third one was a beetroot and corn burger. We ordered one of each variety but sadly due to a mix up with the waiters, we got 4 garden burgers and one veggie delight.

Fresh and crispy French Fries – They did a great job with those

Now I am fundamentally and conceptually against healthy food. And I am generally not excited when anything is named after a salad. The garden burger was kinda dry and for the first time I was missing a tomato slice in it. (FYI I hate tomatoes). I have always wanted my burgers to be juicy and succulent and this sadly wasn’t. There was no cheese (gasp gasp). But still a decent effort and considering that it was made specially for the FED raid, it was very sweet of the chef. But here’s hoping that it never makes to the final menu .

The second burger, the veggie delight, was juicier and thankfully had cheese. However, I could not taste any of the garlic mayo as promised. The third burger never came but honestly would love to see what they do with beetroot in a burger.

Pestolicious Pizza, it really was pestolicious
Melt in your mouth Pizza filled with Cheese, Superb !

The pizza we ordered was a pesto based veggie pizza. Now too much of pesto can really screw up a pizza and make it bitter. But here the pesto was in moderation and unlike the usual tomato based pizzas which are oh-so-common. The best and I mean the best part is the base of the pizza. It is a secret recipe and is made by mixing two kinds of dough and what a dough that was. The base was soft and melt-in-your-mouth kinds. The veggies nicely cooked and the cheese strands literally filling your mouth coming together with the oh-so-soft pizza and perfectly cooked veggies. People were sniggering at my tendency to put mustard on it but hey I liked it better with the mustard.

The best part about the place is the pricing. It has its pricing spot on, aiming at the campus crowd. Burgers for Rs. 80 and pizzas for Rs. 150-170 something, this was a shock in these Rs. 500-700 ranged burgers available nowadays.

The big daddy of ’em all – The Ghost Burger, three layers of patty and you can see the half fried Egg in between
Chicken something Pasta – Looked heavenly
The pasta again, 2 seconds before it vanished from the plate
The non veggies on the other end of the table had huge grins on their faces as they gorged on the “Ghost” burger (3 layers of patties and a half fried egg (hmm??) in between) and chicken pasta and some such. The place clearly has more varieties for non veggies as most burger joints are. There was a vegetarian version of the Ghost burger too, which was prepared using the same ingredients as the Garden (erstwhile) burger. Loved the size of the burger (it was incredibly huge) but think will stay away from it as I wasn’t a big fan of the garden burger to begin with.
Laurel and Hardy

And the regret of my life, the greatest Pic of the GHOST Burger, the veg version

I am especially interested in their “Man v/s Food” contest where patrons have to eat 5 big ghost burgers in 1 hour. And it will have a wall of fame and a wall of shame too. And of course their jello shots which fellow FEDs got after I had left after eating my share and that too ON THE HOUSE (WHAT THE HELL!!!). They couldn’t stop talking about it too and then posted a pic to make me jealous.

The Jello shots, which fellow FEDs got on the FREAKIN’ HOUSE (daaammmnn !), they look divine and am sure tasted that way too

So vegetarians can go to this place for its comfortable, non intimidating surroundings and jelly filled ice teas and surprisingly soft pizzas. Not so much for the burgers though. For non veggies, well by the looks of my fellow feds, they’ll be back for sure for more burgers and pastas and what not.

Mouthful of the Ghost Burger
The FED responsible for it all, Harbeer, having time of his life.
Shubam and this pic needs no caption.. hehee
Me looking at the carnivores go at their burgers, SIGH !
A satisfied bunch, with Chef and Owner, Bhuvnesh

PS The awesome, mouth watering, makes-you-wanna-drool pics are provided by none other than the Chief FED – Shashank, we should probably name him something like “Captain” or “General” !

UPDATE – 26th January 2012 – The Brick House Diner is no longer in business.