Kake Da Hotel- Best Butter Chicken, Really?

If you ask anyone or check any of the listing sites or Google where to have best Butter Chicken in Delhi or unearth the of list top ten Butter Chickens in Delhi, invariably the much famed Kake De Hotel will crop up!

Delhi is synonymous with Butter Chicken! And the true blue Delhite I am,  I constantly crave good butter chicken & butter naan! It has to be one of my favourite comfort foods especially when I want to drown my sorrows in some butter 😛

The comfort food
Butter Chicken- the ultimate comfort food
If you ask anyone or check any of the listing sites or Google where to have best Butter Chicken in Delhi or unearth the of list top ten Butter Chickens in Delhi, invariably the much famed Kake De Hotel will crop up!
So yesterday was one of those when I needed some sinful indulgence and landed up at THE Kake De Hotel during the early lunch hours!  As I walked up the stairs, I noticed the wall was lined with framed certificates and wasn’t surprised at all to find lots of travelers seated there who sure where there to tick this in their bucket list! There were some locals as well who were enjoying their fill.
*Warning*  If you aren’t comfortable with dirty dingy places, don’t when bother to go for a meal, like most dhabas the sights aren’t very pleasing! Oh but the good part is they have some full power air conditioning! Nonetheless as soon as we were seated, a plate full of onions topped with green chutney and some masala was placed on our table- even before the water 😉 Well dhabas are your real QSRs- quick service restaurants.
Fresh & Tangy
Fresh & Tangy

We had a clear agenda and ordered half plate butter chicken  (Rs 340+) with butter naan and tandoori roti without without batting an eyelid! And within couple of minutes the food arrived, the breads looked fresh & crispy. The Butter Chicken looked sad with no trace of butter or that gorgeous creamy gravy- it almost looked like the humble dhabha style chicken curry! First bite and i was heart broken, the gravy was watery with boiled tomatoes & onion with some oil thrown on top! Well that is not how butter chicken is supposed to be. It lacked the tangy kick or the silkness that is achieved by cooking it well with butter or cream! The chicken was tender and well cooked though.

By no standards it can be called a butter chicken- to make sure it wasn’t the chicken curry we checked with the server who told us that  a big pot of the dish is made in one go and they serve from it throughout the day, so no customisation was possible. Also that they do keep the dish non spicy or bland purposely- which i wasn’t surprised to hear as the places is very popular among the tourists.
Feast
Feast
Best Butter Naan ever
Best Butter Naan ever
Tandoori Roti
Tandoori Roti – very nicely done.
Lacha Parantha
Lacha Parantha
Seeing that we weren’t happy with the food the server quickly asked if we would like to have something else instead of the butter chicken – without wasting any time we  ordered dahi meat which was listed as Rogan Josh( Rs. 200+)  and Dal Makhni (Rs. 90+)
The Dal Makhni was kickass in one word, well cooked and utterly creamy without the heavy use of cream & butter- a consistency that is achieved if the lentils are simmered with spices for a long time! It has to be one of the best dal makhni i have ever tasted. I will for sure go back for my Dal Tandoori Roti combo &  pyaaz chutney  fill!
Dal 2
Look at the beauty
Since we had no high expectations- the dahi meat tasted decent, the meat was tender & it had that dhabha curry type of thin gravy! Again there was nothing Rogan Josh about it- neither the taste nor the colour!
Dahi Meat
Dahi Meat
I wonder how can people recommend KDH for butter chicken? Has the place lost its sheen over the years and now banking on the inflow of the tourists who clearly have no idea what a good butter chicken is about? The meal left me questioning what makes a good butter chicken, is there any standard recipe or every restaurant/dhabha  over the years has developed its own style?

Fio Cookhouse & Bar : Beautiful Place, Mixed Food

Fio Cookhouse & Bar is located in Epicuria, the much epic ‘food court’ located in the premises of Nehru Place Metro station. Fio is surprisingly spacious with quite a few tables on the outside which are termed Al Fresco which in simpler words just means casual dining in an open area. Stepping inside, its at par with some of the more modern restaurant designs that I have seen, tall roofs, some greenery inside and the air conditioning done in such a way that its gives a natural feel to the place. Very pleasant for borderline claustrophobes like me.

Inside Fio
Classy looking Fio

We started off with ordering cocktails and drinks. We tried three cocktails Bellini Martini, Lemon Martini and Whiskey Sour. Lemon Martini is not on the current menu and hopefully would be added to the menu they are going to introduce soon. Though three of them cocktails were nicely done, however I experienced the use of Thyme in a cocktail for the first time and I must say I quite enjoyed it. Whether it was the novelty factor of experiencing something new, only time can tell.

Bellini Martini
Lemon Martini
Whiskey Sour

Then came in the bread-basket along with assortment of oils, vinegar and other condiments. The thing that caught our attention was Duqqa, which is supposed to be eaten with bread as Hors d’oeuvre. A quick google search tells me that its an Egyptian side dish of which you can have many versions. In the one that was served to us we were told that a huge variety of nuts have gone into it. Talking about the taste, nothing that really caught my fancy. I am someone who appreciates and loves fresh bread, I love trying them with various olive oils but then the bread here did not really leave its mark on me.

Breads served on the table
Duqqa – To be mixed with Butter and/or olive oil and eaten with bread.

Oil, vinegar and other condiments.

Next up was Flamed Feta Salad which is a mix of Bell peppers, cucumber, onion, tomato, olive, herb vinaigrette topped with hot (flamed) feta cheese, which I have a soft corner for. Fresh ingredients, tasty dressings, just the right mix for a salad.

Flamed Feta Salad

We ordered three dishes from their ‘Shareable Small Plates’ section and thankfully there was nothing small about the portion sizes. First one was Crusty Fish Finger, which did not work at any level any of us three. The only thing that we enjoyed was fried potato ‘lachha’ on top of the fish. The second dish being Cookhouse Mezze Platter which comprises of Pane, hummus, tzatziki, aubergine, tapenade, red lentil quenelles. Pane turned out be bread which had a dressing of garlic in olive oil (I would assume) on top of it and it tasted very nice. All the dips were done very nicely and quenelles offered perfect replacement for the falafel which we are so used to eating in mezze platters or with humus and dips in general. The third dish Spit Fired Grilled Chicken was also the star of evening, also proving once again that how much in love with chillies we Indians are. Chicken breasts perfectly rolled with some peri peri chilli inside. The breast was done perfectly neither it was under-cooked nor chewy. The Chilli did its job well and left quite a fire in the mouth. A must try dish if you like hot chics, I mean chickens which are hot.

Crusty Fish Fingers
 Spit Fired Grilled Chicken – Can you see the red chilli peeking out?
For the mains we went for a mix of cuisines, we ordered a pizza with Smoked Chicken, Zucchini, Red onion, & Cilantro which was quite nice as a pizza, however nothing stood out for us. Please mind that does not make it a bad pizza, its still a very good pizza by all means, but then now a days you get a good one at lot of place, nothing distinguishing this one from others.  The came in the Grilled Prawns which were marinated beautifully with lemon and cilantro. The taste of the marination, seasonings and dressings was lovely, however the quality of the prawn itself left a lot to be desired, not sure if it was due to the way they were cooked or just bad quality of raw prawns, passed on the message to chef, would leave it to the professionals to fix.

Pizza

Mutton Nalli Pulao was ordered to taste what they are doing in the Indian section and we were not disappointed at all. The taste of the dish was brilliant with aroma being more magical. The fragrance of rice, saffron and mint was good enough to intoxicate you. However the only downside being the cut of the meat, as Sahil Mahajan tells me, for those who order nalli and know how to eat it properly, might just struggle with it. Last of the mains, but not the least was Raviolo which apparently is the big brother of Ravioli. We ordered the vegetarian version of the same and it came stuffed with a mix which primarily comprised spinach and ricotta cheese, and despite the onslaught of food and flavors before it, we still ended up appreciating it. One of the better things we tried that evening for sure.

Raviolo
Coming to the most important part of this review, it was time for desserts and we had heard great things about desserts that this place has to offer. First up was Tiramisu Jar which I am sure was a novel idea when it started (if it was started by fio) but now I know of several other small and big players which you jar as a prop for their Tiramisu. It taste it was quite good, if not the best out there. Second was the Fio Chocolate flan which is a cake of three layers and about 70% of it has to be dark chocolate topped up with a layer of mascarpone cheese. Sinful was the word, a must try for chocolate lovers. They also serve something called Fresh Baked 15 min Cake, which is made of Carrots & Raisins and served with raspberry ice-cream. This one was subtly sweet, and its freshness was its USP. Felt light compared to the other two desserts and with ice-cream melting into it, it was take to the next level. A must have for those who like their desserts to be on subtle side.

The Chocolate Flan – I was not kidding about 70% of chocolate you see. 

I generally refrain from commenting on service when I am being invited for a review, however I must mention that the staff here seemed quite knowledgeable and courteous, something you do expect from a place at that price point. I have also not mentioned prices here we as did not pay for the meal, nor you can judge such places on value for money.

Overall a mixed experience in food, however I can definitely go back for that Spit fire grilled Chicken, while I sip on my whiskey sour to douse the fire of Piri piri chilli. A portion of Raviolo would just hold me good, while I save some appetite for those gorgeous desserts. And the best part – All this in a very comfortable and welcoming environment which allows you to kick back and have a good time. 

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