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Royal delights

OSAMA JALALI
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FOOD Vega at Hotel Alka, Lado Sarai, is a fine example of the art of vegetarian cuisine

vegan powerThe maharaja thali at Vega, New Delhi
vegan powerThe maharaja thali at Vega, New Delhi

Hotel Alka’s restaurant Vega, located just behind Qutub Golf Course at Tavern on the Green, Lado Sarai, is a fine example of the art of vegetarian cuisine. The food is cooked to delicious perfection in pure desi ghee without onion and garlic. Vega has a nice royal ambience and the pictures of eternal lovers Shah Jahan and Mumtaz can be observed from the comfortable couches. A huge chandelier hanging in the centre just makes you fall in love with the setup.

To beat the hot and humid weather I made my shuruwat with the thandai – a traditional summer cooler with crushed almonds and cardamom flavoured milk. It was refreshing but the quantity was way too less. I ordered the Dal Shorba next; served piping hot, it had a subtle flavour of arhar dal. Some might find it a bit spicy but I enjoyed it perfectly with the roasted papads. Just as I was about to finish my soup, the chef walked in with the vegetarian starters platter. Tandoori aloo, a trademark of chandni chowk, had the sweet and spicy taste of raisins and green chilies. Hara bhara kebab had a nice mixture of minced paneer and veggies. The spicy minced paneer gave the kebabs its texture and enhanced its taste.

I had one eye on the maharaja’s feast, a thali, even as I was eating my starters. The thali had an extensive range of Indian delicacies including creamy dal, scrumptious vegetables, chilli paneer served with cooling dahi bhalla which were accompanied by the finest Indian breads, plain rice, papad, kuchumbar salad and hot gulab jamun. Anybody who manages to finish the maharaja thali in one go needs to be given a pat on the back.

All the Indian delicacies were tasty and healthy. The chef accomplished the difficult task of developing tastes without using garlic and onions, two of the core ingredients of any vegetarian food preparation.

Although I was full by now, I could not leave before trying their desserts. I tried their kheer and the moong dal halwa, two authentic Indian desserts. The kheer, with a layer of rice topped with pistachios, was cool and refreshing.

(A meal for two costs Rs.1000)

OSAMA JALALI

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