On the lookout for an old dhaba in Lajpat Nagar, Rahul Verma stumbles upon Lahori…

I was crisscrossing through South Delhi the other day. On my way back home, I thought I would visit an old dhaba in the Lajpat Nagar area. I had eaten there once many years ago, and enjoyed the food. Time I visited the place again, I told myself, to see the changes that the cooks at the dhaba had introduced in the meantime.

Well, the only change I could find was the fact that the shutters were down. The dhaba had anyway moved from where it used to be — on one side of the Defence Colony Flyover market — to Lajpat Nagar. I went around in circles for a bit till an elderly gentleman gave me directions. But when I reached there, I found that the dhaba was closed. So I meandered around the area a bit, hoping to find another dhaba. After all, I was in the Punjabi heartland — and where there are Punjabis, there is good food.

Actually, I didn’t have to look hard. Under the flyover, next to a small Chinese restaurant, was a little eatery called Lahori. I liked the name, so I stopped to have a look. It turned out that the eatery is fairly new. Its young owner — Manish — was living in Australia when he decided to return to India and start a restaurant with a partner in Dwarka. Then Manish branched out on his own and opened Lahori under the flyover on the Defence Colony side, where Nirula’s used to be (Phone nos: 8588826123 and 8588827123).

I asked for a plate of Lahori special lal maas (Rs.250 for half plate) and special chicken Lahori (Rs.310 for half, Rs.490 for a full chicken). I took the food home, and we had a nice lunch with the chicken and the mutton, and some excellent radhabollobhi (soft puris stuffed with lentils) and aloo-chholey sabzi that I had picked up from Chittaranjan Park.

The food at Lahori’s is quite good. I saw the men at work there — some were chopping vegetables, some were skewering meat, while Manish took the orders. I saw a dollop of cream and a paste of nuts go into my chicken.

The mutton was topped with some rogan, and a bit of cream. It was not lal maas the way I cook it (with lots of red chillies) but Lahori’s own version of the meat dish — and despite its very red colour, it wasn’t bad at all.

The meat was tender, the gravy was surprisingly tasty, and it went very well with hot rice. The chicken gravy, again, was nicely aromatic, and the pieces were juicy and lightly spiced.

They have other interesting dishes too — such as Malvani chicken, a coastal Maharashtra dish that I am very fond of, and Patiala chicken.

The usual suspects are also there — from six kinds of paneer dishes to tandoori and dal makhni. They also serve keema naan for Rs.90 with a bowl of curry.

I have a feeling their dal would be good, and intend to go back there one day for the Malvani chicken and the dal.

I hope Manish does well. As the old man said (or didn’t say), let a thousand chefs bloom.

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