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Bliss belied

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Rahul Verma looks up the once popular Anand restaurant in Connaught Place and returns disappointed

Sometimes, your life's moves are dictated by unseen curves. I am not talking about Fate or Karma — but about my car, which suddenly had to be taken for servicing. I had thought that I would go in search of a kachori man in Jangpura I'd been hearing good reports of. But I veered off in the direction of my mechanic, and was stranded in Connaught Place instead.

But as someone said, we have to make the most of what we are left with. Since I was near Janpath, I thought I would go look up an old favourite of mine. In one tiny lane, there used to be a restaurant called Anand. I'd been a regular there decades ago. Those were the days when you looked forward to a plate of butter chicken. And Anand's butter chicken was famous.

Since I couldn't remember when I last visited Anand, I wasn't even sure if it was still there. But I took my chance, and walked down lane that connects Janpath to Kasturba Gandhi Marg. The lane is near the Lawrence and Mayo outlet on Janpath. Much before Delhi became a gourmet delight, this lane did a yeoman's service to people looking for a filling thali at a rate they could afford. This was the backpacker's haven – and you could always see flower children caught in a time warp sitting by the roadside, contemplating peace over a cup of chai.

So I went down the lane in search of Anand. The good news, as I discovered right then, is that the place is still there, and continues to bustle. (Address: 15/96 Scindia House, Phone numbers: 23313349 and 23313554.) The bad news is that the food has either deteriorated, or my taste buds have evolved.

The restaurant hasn't changed much. There is a large sitting area inside, and one of the owners sits outside to handle takeaways. I decided that I'd pack some stuff to try out later at home. So I asked for a plate of keema kaleji, mutton biryani and, of course, butter chicken.

I was happy to note that the prices are still reasonable. The mutton biryani is for Rs.120, and a half plate of butter chicken is for Rs.230. Keema kaleji is for Rs.120 a plate.

I went home, and thought that with tea, I'd like to try out the keema kaleji (yes, I know — it's not quite hot-buttered scone, but I like it). I took a piece of a hot home-cooked chapati and dipped it in the gravy. That was when I discovered that I had been given a plate of keema meat instead (Rs.170). I am anyway a gravy man, and enjoyed the thick and spicy keema-infused gravy (the meat pieces were very, very fatty — so I didn't venture near them). I had a bit of the biryani later at night, and thought it was passable, though the meat pieces were nothing to write home about. But then it was the day before Holi, so perhaps supplies hadn't come in. About the butter chicken, which was eaten for lunch the next day, the less said the better.

As I said, either Anand has changed, or I have. Once close buddies, we now part ways.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 2:36:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/bliss-belied/article2984924.ece

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