After years of walking past the shop, Rahul Verma finally gets a taste of Gopal’s Mashhoor Chholey Bhaturey and laments the time wasted

There was a time when I used to often visit a small market called Baird Road Market in New Delhi. This was near Gole Market, and I would park my car there and drop in at Kaleva’s for all kinds of wonderful snacks and sweets. And I remember that I used to be quite impressed by the bustling market there — where you could buy anything from nails to hosiery. Amidst all those shops, I could see a few small food stalls that always smelled good. I was particularly struck by one shop which was called Gopal’s Mashhoor Chholey Bhaturey. There was always a big crowd there, which convinced me that the chholey and bhaturey were indeed mashhoor, or famous.

Then, a few days ago, a friend went there, and came back with packets of Gopal’s food. Like me, she had been intrigued by the aroma and the crowds there, and thought the chholey bhaturey had to be tried out. We unpacked the food and had a wonderful meal of chholey bhaturey. And I kicked myself for wasting so many years. I should have stopped by one day on my way to Kaleva and tried out his ware.

But before I go any further, let me give you directions to Gopal’s shack. You’ll find it on the road that links Bhai Vir Singh Marg to Bangla Sahib Marg, near Bhagat Singh Market.

What makes his chholey bhaturey so different from the other kinds that you get all over Delhi is the quality of both the chholey and the bhaturey. For one, the chholey is not cooked with the big pulses that most chholey bhaturey wallahs have to offer. Gopal doesn’t believe in the concept that big is beautiful; clearly, for him, small makes more sense. Indeed, the small chholey (like the ones Chacha sells in Kamala Nagar) are tastier. Then he doesn’t overwhelm the chholey with either oil or masalas. It’s lightly cooked and has a pleasant aftertaste of small chholey.

The bhatureys are soft and stuffed with paneer, which is why they were greatly appetizing even though we were not eating them hot off the kadhai. The chholey and bhaturey come with slices of onions and a tasty rai ki chutney.

Each plate is for Rs. 30, and one plate is enough for a moderate eater. The helpings are generous, and what’s nice about Gopal’s chholey bhaturey is that they don’t leave you with a heavy and burpy feeling. I have eaten chholey bhaturey in some places where I always feel they should serve antacids along with their chutneys and onions.

This place is good, and I am going to make amends after all these years. The next time I am in the neighbourhood, I will go past Kaleva, and towards Gopal’s eatery. Well, maybe I will make a quick stop at Kaleva, too, for it’s been years since I’ve eaten their mango kulfis. Old habits, after all, die hard.

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