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Delectable Punjabi fare

In the heart of Ramnagar is a simple eatery that serves authentic North Indian cuisine

Pics: S. Siva Saravanan.

IF YOUR idea of a good restaurant is good locality, ambience and delicious food, chances are you would've never stepped into Delhiwala Sweet Home in Ramnagar. Nestled inside a line of regular shops on the bustling Shastri Road, we manage to find it with much difficulty.

The outside is no great shakes. Just a couple of plastic chairs and tables (all occupied, mind you!), the only company you have is the heavenly aroma of freshly-cooked food wafting from the kitchen. The interiors make no pretence of grandiosity either. Everything has `simplicity' written on it in bold letters.

Finding a place takes some time as it is lunch hour and there is a rush of office goers waiting to wolf down their staple dal-chawal before rushing off to work again. We finally manage to sit, two girls in an eatery filled with men (Need we talk about being the cynosure of all eyes!).

Scanning through the list, we skip the much-recommended chaats (apparently, the fastest moving items in the shop) and settle for a simple meal of just parathas, raitha, two subzis, jeera rice and bhindi fry. That's simple, huh!

The ten minutes we wait for the food to arrive were spent debating whether to bite into the very inviting pickled stuffed green chillies. Initial apprehensions notwithstanding, we managed to take a bite, and went on at it till the plate looked brand new. The recipe, the owners tell you, is a closely guarded secret.

Soon, the gobi and aloo parathas, huge fragrant pancakes of wheat flour stuffed with mildly-spiced cauliflower and potato, arrive. Accompaniments are dal makhni, bhindi fry, dum aloo and cucumber raitha. The dal is simply out of the world. A creamy mixture of various lentils and kidney beans, it goes excellently with the parathas. The gravy in the dum aloo was good, but the fried aloo let us down. Nirmal Pasari, one of the brothers running the eatery, says the quality of local potatoes varies.

Ask regular customers their favourite dish, and they say in chorus: dal fry.

Some have been eating it for years now.

Other fast moving items include paneer butter masala and parathas.

The bhindi fry is oily, but has a nice, chewy feel to it. The raitha, with just a hit of kala namak, goes well with the bhindi. Next is the turn of jeera rice. The rice is aromatic, but some grains are a little over-fried. The servings are adequate for two people.

It's a Punjabi restaurant, right? So, where's the lassi? Ask the friendly waiter and he rushes in bearing a huge vessel filled with the frothy sweetened drink made of curd. Serving you two tumblerfulls, he asks, "aur chahiye?"

But, the dessert section still beckons, so you unwillingly refuse. You have a choice of rasmalai, rabdi, rasgulla, gulab jamun and other native sweets, but we decide to share a rasmalai.

Plump and juicy, it is served on a rich bed of kesar-spiced milk.

When the bill comes, you're in for another surprise. After all this eating, you end up paying less than Rs. 200. Pay your bill and the change comes in a bed of roasted saunf. Try it, it's truly different.

A break from the regular sugar-coated variety, the flavour of the saunf lingers on for long.

The eatery also does outdoor catering.

Call them on 2234668.


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