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The world on my plate

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Article 21 in the Constitution Club holds great promise with food that satiates the heart, at prices that soothe the soul

Last week, I had a doctor’s appointment. Once I was done, I wanted to have a good meal somewhere. I had heard about this restaurant called Article 21 in central Delhi, and thought a detour via Rafi Marg would do me some good. And it sure did.

Article 21 is a new restaurant in Delhi’s Constitution Club. It’s an area that’s close to my heart, as I lived in the apartment block abutting the club for many years. The club has been done up in recent years and is now quite a plush place, unlike the somewhat seedy complex that it was when I lived in the neighbourhood.

Some months ago, I heard that a restaurant had opened up there. Then, last week, someone said that the place had expanded and introduced a new menu.

The food was very good and the prices were low. That piqued my interest. It’s quite a big establishment and looks rather like the usual government-run restaurants.

But the menu surprised me. It included various kinds of cuisines – from north Indian, south Indian and Anglo-Indian to Italian, Burmese, Chinese and African. I was, for instance, surprised to see on it a South African dish called the bunny chow (₹99). This hollowed out bread stuffed with spicy curry is one of Durban’s most popular street foods.

The restaurant opens at 8 a.m., and you can have your breakfast there: eggs to order (poached, omelette, fried, scrambled and so on), stuffed parathas, aloo puri and aloo bhaji (each ₹75).

Any dish with the word Railways in it interests me. So we asked for the cutlets and in the meantime went through the other pages of the menu card.

It had Amritsari Machchi (₹295), Martaban Murgh (₹299), Omelette Curry (₹149), Vegetable Khao Suey (₹249), Dhaba Mutton Curry (₹349), Prawn Moilee (₹399), Mutton Biryani (₹289), Chicken Biryani (₹219) and El Fungi (pasta with a mix of mushrooms in béchamel sauce for ₹179). And a host of other dishes.

I decided I wanted the Nasi Goreng (with chicken, ₹229). And we asked for an Italian Green Chick Pizza – with pesto, roast chicken, cherry tomato and mozzarella (₹249).

Each dish was superb. The cutlet had been browned just right, and the chicken filling, thick and creamy, was almost like a paste. It was light without being bland, and I enjoyed it immensely. The pizza was delicious too. The crust was thin, almost like a roti, and the pesto-tomato topping was delightfully tart.

Best of all was my Nasi Goreng, an Indonesian rice dish that I am very fond of. The rice was fragrant, and had been lightly fried and browned with various kinds of spices. There were little minced chicken balls in the rice, and two chicken satays with a peanut sauce and some prawn crackers on the side.

The rice came topped with an oozy fried egg. The egg went to my co-diner (I like my yolk well fried) and I happily dug into the rice. It was out of this world. I have had this dish in many places, including at luxury hotels, but this matched – rather, outdid -- the best. I am going to keep coming back to Article 21. The world will be on my platter.

The writer is a seasoned food critic

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 1:47:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/the-world-on-my-plate/article29981759.ece

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