I strongly believe that Delhi has one of the best food scenes in the country.
Sure it doesn’t have any Michelin starred restaurants, or the fancy shmancy places that keep opening in Bombay (Correction – Delhi does have a lot of fancy places!). But one walk into Old Delhi, or Bengali Market or Connaught Place, and you know what I’m taking about.
There is a certain rustic charm that Delhi food still holds for me. May because it is the place where spent most of my growing up years (ask any close friend and they’ll still tell you I am still a kid). I finished a big part of my schooling and all of my graduation days in Delhi.
We had one chole bhature wala bhaiya in each part of the city. Infact we still do for most of Delhi – Chache’s Hatti in Kamla Nagar is my mecca. Even today Chache’s serve chole bhature for about Rs.20 a plate. Bengali Sweets in Khan Market was another lovely place where you could get a plate of Chole Bhature for Rs.15. There used to be a fellow outside Janpath who served chole kulche for Rs.10 a plate.
Then there was, and is, and I believe will always remain, DePauls. Though over the years I’ve grown less fond of their cold coffee. I still have it whenever I am at Janpath or within a radius of 5 kms. Then there is Keventers – the go to place for uncomplicated milkshakes in 1 Ltr bottles each. Yes 1 Liter. A meal in themselves.
We used to live in North Delhi. And there used to be this Kaalu Bhaiya who used to get a hand cart and make the most amazing Tikki Toast ever. EVER. Used to cost us Rs 4 for regular and Rs 5 with extra pyaaz. That Tikki toast was orgasmic.
We used to live quite close to Kingsway Camp. That was the go to area for students to enjoy a fabulous meal which wasn’t to hard on the pocket. Tandoori Chicken at Vikrant used to cost 80 bucks for a full chicken and 200 bucks could see you stuffed to glory.
There there was the chaat at Vaishnav. This shop hasn’t changed in the last 100 years I think. Ok, maybe not a 100 but 50. You get the point. The most awesome pani puri, dahi papdi, aloo chaat…Sigh. I am hungry now.
The area within Jama Masjid or Chandni Chowk is a world unto itself. Every joint is a legend. Every dish has history. And every gully has something or the other to offer. From the Parathe Wale Gali to Chawri Bazaar to Sadar Bazaar.
A lot of new places keep opening, and some of the old ones down their shutters, but Delhi has somehow managed to retain it’s rustic charm over all these years. I come to Delhi once or at most twice a year, but I do make sure that I hit atleast 50% of my childhood favourite eating joints.
So far I’ve been able to dig into a few of my favourite things.
All this reminiscing has made me hungry. BRB after my plate of Chole Bhature ! 😉