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Sarson da saag and Patiala Peg

Revel in the sights and flavours of Punjab at the Angeethi-The Asli Dhaba, the North Indian speciality restaurant that promises you a relaxing dhaba ambience.

KHAIKE PAAN: Round off your meal with a visit to the Surma Bhopali paan shop.

ONE OF the reasons that makes you drive to a dhaba, apart from the robust cuisine that is served piping hot, is the relaxed ambience out there. Musical notes float from Papaji's radio playing popular filmy numbers in a soft luminescent glow of lanterns under the starry sky as you sit on the palangs taking in the aroma of freshly-made roti and sabzi.

The posters of films in town — a Sholay or Roti, Kapda Aur Makaan, maybe an advertisement of the new Hakim in town, prices of farm chicken for the day and the Horn OK Please with Bunty-Monty di papa di gaddi on a nearby vehicle make for the informal décor. The bottom line is you are here to heartily indulge in a healthy gastronomic pleasure. Period.

Offering a `permanent dhaba' ambience in air-conditioned comfort is Angeethi - The Asli Dhaba, the new speciality restaurant bringing the sights and flavours of Punjab to the heart of the city. "You have a large number of restaurants which offer sophistication. What is required is a setting where you can sit down and have piping hot food with bare hands, as you would in a village kitchen, the way Indian food has to be eaten. Traditionally, the food is cooked on charcoal vis-à-vis microwave. We are trying to revive the traditional concept, bringing the flavours back into the cities," says Prakash B. Nichani, chairman and managing director, B.J.N. Hotels Limited, who, in fact, has been responsible for conceptualising the restaurant.

"This is the first restaurant in town offering proper north Indian cuisine, which is our forte. We would like to make it a permanent destination for people to come over for the dhaba cuisine. Children are sure going to be amused with the place. The dhaba is air-conditioned along with a terrace seating arrangement, offers five-star service and sumptuous cuisine at reasonable rates. What better package would anyone expect?" he adds.

Thus once you arrive at Angeethi - The Asli Dhaba, having crossed the signage that points to Ambala, Bhatinda and Ludhiana, and taken your seat at a timber-topped table with comfortable chairs padded with bright cushions, check out the menu — a takeaway newspaper spread. The four-page tabloid will enthuse you with news and views from Punjab as you wait for your order from the elaborate list of food and beverages.

And while we are at the menu, maybe you can start with starters Shuruaat-Kali mem — an in-house sweet and sour fruity drink or the tangy digestive Jaljeera or try out the shorbas: a lighter Tamater dhania shorba (tomato soup seasoned with fresh coriander) or a stronger Chooza shorba (chicken soup flavoured with aromatic spices and drizzled with lemon). Kebabi kisse brings soft kebabs from the grills of the display kitchen — tender mutton Barra kebab, Chandi kebab (succulent morsels of chicken laced with cream and garnished with silver foils).

RELAXED AMBIENCE: The permanent dhaba.

For the main course, the Garam garam tawa offers Tawa bheja, gurda, aloo and paneer options. Team this with Jhinga bhuna pyaaz, Sarson da saag, Malai kofta, Pindi chana, Rajma gilawati and more. Rotian di gal, known for the Indian breads, the place brings Roomali roti, Laccha Pudina paratha and Khameeri roti, among other popular options from the region, along with Murgh biryani, Pulao aap ki pasand (green peas, jeera, mushroom and navratan) or Safed chawal with yoghurt set in matka. Badshahi halwa, Kulfi falooda and Gajjar ka halwa are some of the Meethi baatein (desserts) you can try out.

Wrap up with a Calcutta or Banarasi paan from the Surma Bhopali paan ki dukan here. Angeethi-The Asli Dhaba is located on #701,703, 7thFloor, Reliance Classic (above Barista), Road No.1, Banjara Hills. For reservations, contact Tel: 55255550.

* * *

Sade naal rahogey to...

AFTER THE success of Angeethi-The Asli Dhaba with the cosmopolitan palate of Bangalore, Prakash Nichani brings the upmarket dhaba tradition to the twin cities. He also plans to open the same in London shortly. The other restaurants from the BJN Hotels Limited, also at Bangalore, are `Bamboo Shoots', the H&FS award winning Chinese and Thai speciality restaurant, `Aromas of China', a Chinese niche restaurant, `Samarkhand' for the North West Frontiers cuisine and `Hypnos' for the Mediterranean flavours apart from `The Museum Inn Hotel' popular with city slickers and the very `English Tavern Inn'.

On bringing the Angeethi to the city, "I feel there is a good demand of authentic speciality restaurants in the twin cities. Hyderabad is a cosmopolitan hub today and the need of the hour is to have exotic niche restaurants here. Irrespective of the region, cuisine definitely has a market. One has to introduce new flavours keeping the taste buds in mind," says Nichani, the student of Catering College of Mumbai who started Chan King after passing out from college and now owns an impressive chain of speciality restaurants that he intends to bring here from the garden city. "We felt there was a need to expand our regional base and found Hyderabad a promising market," he says. As for the people here, it is going to be balle balle all the way.


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