Al Karam’s in Gurgaon seeks to replicate the flavours of the Walled City

When it comes to Mughlai food, one place most Delhiites run to is the Jama Masjid area in Old Delhi, popularly known as Dilli 6. A favourite food street in that vicinity is the Matia Mahal road, which is lined with ‘hotels’ known for their delicacies. Be it Mohammad Hussain ka Chicken Fry, Bilal ki Nehari or Aslam Chicken Corner, it has all the makings of a foodie’s paradise.

But there’s no denying the Walled City has parking and hygiene issues. A thought was needed to replicate the model in an improved way. Varun, a resident of Gurgaon, after having tried the food in every gali and nukkad of Old Delhi, took his chances and opened Al Karam’s in the posh Supermart -1, DLF Phase 4 Market in Gurgaon. The good part is that Purani Dilli’s Al Karam Kebab House got its khansamas and staff to manage Varun’s outlet in Gurgaon. So the food made is very close to the Old Delhi style of cooking.

The outlet is hardly a month old and doing pretty well. I managed to grab a chair. Remember this is a hardcore food place, so don’t expect to spend time taking in the ambience and interiors. The mutton seekhs are succulent and full of flavours, though very high on spices. The sutli seekh kabab, coming straight out of the seekh onto the plate, is a delight. The calorie conscious should stay away as most of the delicacies are loaded with butter and ghee.

The roasted chicken, which Varun says is a take on Aslam’s version, is good, but it needs more improvisation to beat master Aslam.

As for curries, Al Karam’s offers mutton qorma, nehari and stew among others. The qorma is reasonably good, but with slight changes it has the potential to be outstanding. The nehari’s texture resembles rogan josh but it’s the haleem which gets things right. Although it’s a chicken version, the flavours are intact.

The breads at Al Karma’s need a special mention — especially the bhatura stuffed with keema. The tandoori rotis are fluffy and big, just like in Old Delhi. To sign off there, are plenty of traditional Old Delhi desserts, especially the shahi tukda and kheer. The shahi tukda is a delight to see and a pleasure to eat.

Meal for two — Rs. 600

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