Shriram Center’s Canteen – Its all about Ambiance

The place – Shriram Center’s Canteen
Location – C.P. in front of Mandi House
Nearest metro station – Mandi House
First of all, the ambiance and location. Located in front of Mandi House, the entire place is lush green and frequented by the artsy Doordarshan and NSD crowd. More often than not, you will spot a gang of oldies singing and whistling old Kishore Kumar-Dev Anand songs or NSD kids rehearsing their lines. The best part of this place is its outdoor seating. In winters, you have got to sit outside and enjoy a hot cup of tea.
Food – The food (aleast the prices) takes you back to school when you had little money and one always used to explore new pocket friendly places. One thing you will see almost everyone eating is the momos. They may not be the most brilliant ones I have eaten but they surely are great in taste (I can eat momos in whatever form it is presented to me). The chutney too is good and decently spicy.
The cheese and onion toast or even the aloo toast available here is quite good. It tastes home-made with generous (but appropriate) amount of butter and perfectly complements the chai. The most unique part has to be the chowmein. It is made the same way I used to eat when I was a kid. When the bhaiyya would toss and turn the kadhai so much that only half was left in the kadhai by the time he was finished and the other half was thrown all around. It even tastes the same with onions, soya sauce, vinegar and is brown – black in color.
But the killer has to be the chai. You can get an adrak ki chai or an elaichi chai and both are splendid. It is the perfect accompaniment to everything you will order at this place. Even a non-tea drinker like me had two cups of tea here.
And all of this is extremely cheap. All the things that I mentioned came under Rs. 200. The service extremely efficient too. The bhaiyyas or the helpers are friendly, honest and non-letchery. But beware, the entry is stopped after 7.30 and the place closes around 8 pm. The best time to go to this place is in winters when the weather is perfect but summers also will do. Go to this place with a low maintenance company, who doesn’t look a million times at the plates or cleans the edges of tea cups with tissues or takes out hand sanitizer after every second, and you will have a blast. 
This is a place where people come to discuss politics, lovers come to hide from their friends and parents, drama students practice their lines, and where business ideas are made and trashed. If you are lucky, you may even spot the future superstar (I heard shahrukh khan used to come here all the time).
Go to this place for a trip down the nostalgia lane and enjoy some great comfort food on the way and you won’t regret it.

Tunday Kababi – From Lucknow to Delhi, with love…

I have always believed food at Old Delhi tastes much better when I’m either high or stoned, and last night it was double whammy. Last Friday me, Saurabh (who lost his phone) & Toshik (who gained some pounds and happiness) started on a journey which was nothing short of a Hangover + Kumar and Harold go to White Castle scenario, and finally we reached our Mecca – Tunday Kababi, Daryaganj.

Tunday Kababi, from outside

The sight (not the interiors) as you enter will surely make you salivate and tempt you beyond no return and all 3 of us (carnivore souls) are no immortals to not to give into the succumbing aromas of changezi chicken on XL Tawa, tunday kebabs on XXL Tawa and qormas in gigantic handis.

Chicken Changezi on a Giant Tawa

It was a packed Friday (Jumma) night and 10.30pm didn’t seem late for all the hordes around us waiting and sweating (no AC) patiently for their food. No server turned up on our table for 5mins (which seemed like 50) and we sweet talked one of them to please us to get pleased (reads corny ;))

The real deal – Legends in the making

Our order seemed big (we aren’t the Man Vs Food type eaters) to start with, 4 plate (each plate has 4 pieces) mutton kababs + 4 mughlai paranthas(size of a roomali roti), but we forgot we were on a different high today.

I must admit the sweet talk worked as our server got the order within minutes of our ordering, which earned us a lot of jealous stares. They were polished within secondss (no kidding) I don’t want to say the kababs are melt in your mouth (its clichéd) infact its melt in your finger category. If there is a rating to be awarded both scored a 5 on 5 stars all the way (seriously no words will ever justice their taste – its a eat it to believe it tale). The mughlai paranthas are very similar to their south cousins the malabari porotas – crispy and layeri.

We ordered another round of same order along with Chicken Biryani, Butter Chicken and Chicken Curry. Since it was late, about closing time (11.30p.m. they are mostly sold off on weekends) butter chicken and chicken curry were sold out, so we settled with biryani and chicken qorma. You get 3 portion sizes – quarter, half and full which in terms of portion sizes, can easily be translated to quarter – 1-2 persons, half – 2-3 persons and full – 4+. The qorma didn’t score too high but the pieces had the perfect texture, same as my previous visit and this is quiet commendable as even some of the high brow restaurants in Delhi fail to maintain a consistency.

The biryani ‘its different’ its not your usual ‘old Delhi style’ biryani. The rice was juicy and full of flavour, the pieces were spiced well. So yes, this one also is a must try.

Before we could realise we had cleaned 8 plates of kababs (32 pieces) + 10 paranthas + half biryani + half qorma, it reads BIG but surprisingly none of us felt heavy after this meal. The prices are modest, Tunday Kebabs at Rs.20 per piece, Mughlai Parantha at Rs.10 per piece, Biryani and Qorma, both were half plate for Rs.100 and full for Rs. 200.

All of us are going back to Tunday Kababi preferably on a week day and early on time to sample the full menu.

The place is not your usual restaurant set-up, the interiors aren’t high from any standards and its in an area where some Delhites think twice before venturing – but it matters where it should – FOOD.

All carnivores – needles to say its a must visit and sample. Sadly for the veggies, except the phirni everything is non-vegetarian at this joint.

Our trip (read: food trip) wasn’t over yet, we sampled some delightful stuff – Gundi (yes thats the name) Paan from the paan joint next to Odeon (now Big Odeon) Cinema at Connaught Place. These paans cost Rs. 20, are four small leaf rolls (joint like) filled with gulkand and regular paan spices and laced with chandan paste and have a super ‘cool’ after taste.

Gundi Paan

Disclaimer: With this post I’m not encouraging drinking or smoking 🙂 – the sole intention is to drive you to divinity – Tunday Kababi, 3778, Autar Bhavan, Main Road, Near Jama Masjid, Daryaganj, Delhi. Ph.: 9871595054

Drunk and non-tempting photography courtesy _TA and associates 

PS : You might read their name written as Tundey Kebab or Tund Kebabs elsewhere as well.

Not to be fooled by Tandoori Chaaps

These days Tandoori for vegetarians is picking up quite a lot. Lot of small outlets have sprung up, serving primarily soy based products. Masala Chaap, Stuffed Chaap, Malai Chaap, Soya Tikka, various types of Paneer Tikka, Stuffed Aloo, Mushrooms, Dal Kebabs are some of the more popular items. For vegetarians like me, these outlets were a blessing. Finally I thought I would have something ‘healthy’ to eat, without worrying too much about calories, with loads of proteins, we finally had the counter for Tandoori Chicken and Chicken Tikka. But is it true ?

Not at all, most of these outlets, fry their chaaps before putting them on a stick and making it ‘tandoori’, surprising but true. And after they are roasted in tandoor, they add generous amount of ghee / butter / cream along with masala and chutney. Though I do not mind masala, however the added fat just kills any chance of these things being good for health. Do they taste good? A big Yes, however we should not eat them thinking that they good for health.

So my advice, if you are mood for Tandoori Soy Chaaps, because you want to eat healthy, check if they have fried them or not, and ask them not to garnish them with Ghee or butter, or if you want, you can ask them to keep it at minimum.

Rajasthani Food Stall, Delhi Haat – A quick photolog

Couple of weeks back, I was at Delhi Haat for a photowalk with some friends. After sun went down, we decided to settle down to grad a quick bite. Even though we were at Rajasthani Stall, however we still managed to get some momos :P, here are some pics from that evening.

Aloo Tikki Chaat
Mirch Bada
Pyaz Kachori with Lassi
Momos, they seem to be getting everywhere
Moong Dal Halwa, I love this
Do I have to spell this out ? :D, yup Jalebi….

Even though the stall did not have lot of things that I tried to order, however whatever they managed to serve was quite good. We get almost everything else quite commonly, however my focus was on Pyaz Kachori and Mirch Bada and I must say that I was not disappointed. I would not recommend the Lassi though. Even though the mainstay of cuisine, Dal Baati Churma, is yet to be tested, however I can definitely go back there for Murch Bada and Pyaz Kachori.

My Rating – 3.5/5

Param Di Hatti – A wasted jaunt

I got a recommendation for Param Di Hatti in Rajouri Garden, from a much trusted source. So I was waiting for an opportunity when I visit that part of town and try the said authentic Chur Chur Naan myself. And where this is a will, there is a way.

I was there with my cousin a few days back, the outlet looked quite new, spacious and there were decent number of costumers there. Now the first confusion was with ordering, you pay Rs.55 for plate with either Chhole or Dal, you pay Rs.10 extra and you get both the things and if you pay Rs.85, you get a Thali, with Dal, Chhole, Shahi Paneer and Boondi raita.

Bypassing the confusion, we ordered two Thalis and waited patiently for our Naans, and when they arrived, was I disappointed. It seems either I have been spoiled by the Kashmiri Sweet shop for Chur Chur Naans, or the rest of the city just does not know how to make them.  Weren’t the Naans that were so crispy and well cooked that they fell apart in your hands known as Chur Chur Naans ? or do I have wrong expectations ?

The ones we got Naans they were, but not Chur Chur. They looked like normal stuffed Naans, felt like regular Naans and tasted like regular Naans. And to add to that the Dal and Shahi Paneer served was plain ordinary, Cholle were a tad better, but there was so much that they could have saved. Disappointed with the Naans and still hungry, we decided to order Cholle Bhature and Cholle Chawal. Cholle Bhature were just decent, but again for Rs.35, you get better stuff at lot other places.

All in all, Param di Hatti is the place that I would avoid, unless my life depended on it. Yes, I would eat there if I was going to die from hunger,  any circumstance less than that is not taking me back.

My rating – 2/5

Thinking again, lemme give 3/5 only to the Cholle Bhature, but again that is not worth an excursion to the joint.