FOOD SPOT: The YWCA Kitchen’s dishes from different parts of the country find favour with RAHUL VERMA

I was snug as a bug in a rug – actually nicely ensconced in my razai – when our friend called. She wanted to take us all out to a restaurant on Parliament Street for lunch. It was quite a lazy day, and I was feeling rather lazy. But the offer was tempting – especially since I had a very nice meal at this restaurant some years ago.

This is a restaurant called the YWCA Kitchen. It’s in the YWCA International Guest House at 10, Parliament Street – which is why it once housed a restaurant called 10. 10 had the most amazing tea – and I often went there for an aromatic cup of Darjeeling and its soft and buttery chicken sandwiches. But 10 closed down years ago and another restaurant took over. I went there too, and later got to know that it had also downed its shutters.

Then came the YWCA Kitchen (not to be confused with a restaurant called Kitchen which is in Khan Market). YWCA Kitchen is run by the same people who were behind the excellent Mosaic restaurant in Connaught Place. I loved Mosaic, which had on its menu some excellent dishes from the northeast. I was disappointed when I heard that Mosaic had shut too – but cheered up considerably when I was told its new avatar was the YWCA Kitchen (Phone No: 011-43561615).

So we landed up there one weekday with a friend who had come from Kolkata (and in whose honour we were all meeting for lunch). For starters we ordered mochar chop – nicely browned croquettes filled with banana florets that had been cooked with all kinds of spices – and a fatty pork dish with vegetables. The pork was excellent – nice and tender, and the fat had melted well. Then we ordered our individual dishes – shepherd’s pie, vegetable risotto, biryani with kababs, animal farm and til pork.

I had asked for the animal farm platter – which consisted of a lamb chop, two sausages, a chicken patty and some fried tomatoes and peppers. The lamb chop was very good – juicy and soft – and the sausages were tasty and plump. The chicken patty was very thick but a bit bland. And, of course, fried tomatoes are fried tomatoes. All in all, it’s a good dish to order if you like your meats.

I am told the shepherd’s pie was nice, too. It had a crisp and bubbly shell of potatoes, and the minced meat was flavourful. The risotto had its share of mushrooms but could have been creamier. My friend’s til pork was a bit surprising – the pork pieces were soft and tender, but instead of til (sesame seeds), it had a thick gravy of what seemed like a saag paste. It had a nice taste, but I am not sure why it was called til pork.

The only disappointment was our hostess’s biryani and kababs. The biryani was overcooked and rather tasteless. And the kababs were nothing to write home about. The entrees cost between Rs.350 and 450.

But despite the little disappointments here and there I like the restaurant. It’s nice to find dishes from different parts of the country and the world. The ambience is pleasant and, overall, it’s a lovely restaurant. Now if they only get a chef from Old Delhi to give them tips about cooking biryani, I’d be really happy!

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