Harem Mezze provides rich food in lush environs

Beyond the chaos of Delhi, the newly launched Harem Mezze provides a quiet and calm dining experience. Situated on the edge of the lush green and picturesque Aravalis, it is located inside the Garden of Five Senses in Saiyad Ul Ajaib. Following the trail of famous traveller Ibn Battuta, Harem Mezze, earlier known as Harem, has come up with a new culinary journey capturing the best of the Mediterranean, West Asia and India.

Watching the drizzling rain drops falling from the green trees around I chose to sit in its air conditioned verandah and enjoy the view along with good food. I started with my favourite soup Moroccan Harira and it was made almost to perfection. It was served in an edible flour bowl which comes up with lamb chunks, broken noodles and other garnish with the soup on the other side.

As soon as the soup is poured into the bowl the aroma of the Moroccan ingredients is to be enjoyed. Considering the weather I called for the Harem chaat platter. Any Delhiwala visiting Harem Mezze must go in for the mouth-watering chaats, designed beautifully. After enjoying the chaat, now it was time to try a fiery import from Pakistan: bukhni kababs.

The warning by three staff members — sir it’s too spicy! — just increased my curiosity to try it. Bukhni refers to pounded red chilli with mustard oil added as preservative, and, yes, it was spicy. I downed it with the help of sips of pina colada. Haloumi sambouseks, crispy fried and stuffed with haloumi and cottage cheese with sumac, were worth trying. Kabargah, a variation of lamb chops, were crispy and deep-fried well with marinated flour. Stuffed chicken legs on a base of sautéed shredded mushroom and corn served with a star anise sauce and caramelised shallots were tasty and filling.

To beat the heat, the royal bawarchis of the Nawabs of Awadh used to prepare a dish called baoli handi. It had spicy gravy made in yogurt and cooked in a terracotta pot in ‘dum’ with lots of garlic and chillies. It was really a royal dish enjoyed with a tandoori laccha paratha.

Time to try some exotic desserts! Arabian Kunafa with rose petal ice cream was refreshing. My old favourite baklava here comes in saffron scented with pistachio ice cream. Apricot jam, glazed date and almond pie with praline ice cream are only a few names, but the menu has much more to crave for.

Meal for two costs Rs.3000 with alcohol.