Even a newer neighbourhood offers many an old flavour, finds Rahul Verma
Once in a while, I hear murmurs of dissent. Why do you keep telling us about Old Delhi, some complain. What about other parts of city? I tell them patiently that it’s because Old Delhi still has the best of food to offer. Nowhere is a plate of chaat as delicious in the city as it is in Chandni Chowk. And nowhere is a roll of kabab as succulent as it is in the Walled City.
Of course, I am a reasonable man — so I do listen to them (occasionally). Once in a while, I veer off to West Delhi where, I must admit, you still get some good Punjabi food. Sometimes you find me in South Delhi, stopping at some quaint little biryani place. And on quite a few occasions, I find myself in East Delhi, savouring samosas in some little shop, or eating kababs in another.
But I have to admit that I have never visited – and therefore written about – any food place in Dwarka. There are good reasons for that. One, of course, is that it’s a bit too far from where I am. And two, Dwarka is still relatively a new settlement, and though scores of restaurants are coming up in the locality, it will take a while before the really good ones begin to tower over the others. Still, when a friend who lives in Dwarka told me about a kabab shop that he had been frequenting of late, I took note. One day, I told myself, I would have a taste of the kababs that the friend had been getting lyrical about.
I did that a few days ago. I had gone to Dwarka for a wedding, and decided to kill two birds with a stone. From the friend’s place (in the middle of all the festivities), I drove off to sample the ware at Chirra Kabab in Sector 4. (Shop no. G8, Ground Floor, Vikas Surya Plaza) This is the main market in Dwarka and is not difficult to locate. Chirra Kabab is a tiny restaurant, with a small seating arrangement. You can see a degh in one corner, and a huge tawa for parathas and gilawati kababs. Outside, you’ll find men grilling seekh kababs on skewers.
I packed some gilawati kababs (Rs.80 for 4 pieces), mutton biryani (Rs.280 for a full plate/Rs.150 for half), and a full plate of mutton nihari (Rs.280). I must say that my friend wasn’t wrong – the food was rather good.
The mutton biryani— a bit hot and spicy — was the kind that you get in Delhi (though the cooks have come from Lucknow). The gilawati was tasty, but the tawa was a bit too hot for the delicate kabab, and had kind of toasted one end. The nihari was surprisingly good. There were four pieces of shanks in the gravy, which was light and aromatic. The dish had been cooked just right— the tender meat was so soft that it was almost falling off the bones. Thought I have eaten better niharis elsewhere, I enjoyed Chirra’s flavourful version.
All in all, the friend’s daughter’s wedding turned into a golden opportunity. Another friend’s daughter’s wedding is on the cards— so one of these days I am sure I shall tell you something about a little known place in another part of town.