Ode to Punjab: Dhaba by Claridges

When we hit the dhaba to find some true-blue Punjabi food

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Words & photographs: Ambica Gulati

Some people like to travel, some people like to collect from those travels. And Chef Ravi Saxena had brought some delectable dishes from the highways of Punjab to Delhi’s plushest malls. In a true-blue Punjabi style, we landed at Dhaba by Claridges at Delhi’s famous Epicuria Mall in Nehru Place. It was dinner time and the place was packed. But we had reservations.

Sitting besides the truck, the well-stocked bar at the back and the lots of bling posters and lights, added to the highway feel. The décor was bright and cheerful and the plates et al steel, just like the highway ones. This was just the beginning of an authentic experience. As people who simply take bites, we probably weren’t the best of reviewers, but undoubtedly the quality and the variety of the food can blow your mind, should I say tongue?

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So, we had lots of kebabs and kadi chicken was unique. The well rounded spices and good techniques made the whole experience a flavourful and fulsome one. There was twist to everything coming from the well-known establishments of Punjab. For instance, Lawrence road ki tikki was softer and melt-in-the-mouth. Tawa chicken chaap was not-to-be-missed. But it was the finger licking kadi chicken that kind of makes one long to go and have another long dinner there. The food has been kept a little lighter than the one you would taste in Punjab, but then we don’t work the fields in Delhi, do we? Yes, the marination, the spices and the chutneys and pickles add to the flavours.

I would say, go for the bharwan omelette if you can’t make up your mind. I have never tasted anything like this ever—this one comes filled with a choice of chilli chicken or chilli paneer, served with garlic naan. Another must eat is tawa ananas.

Ending this Punjabi meal on the truly hospitable and sweet note was the unique dhaba da meetha—a layered combination of vanilla ice cream, shahi tukda and mini gulab jamun with saffron rabri.

So, there are dishes from the tawa, tandoor and patila and then there’s the musical performance by the people working there. You can’t miss this for sure.

Dhaba by Claridges, Epicuria Mall, Nehru Place, New Delhi, Delhi 110019
(Contact: 011 2641 0555)

Dhaba by Claridges, Shop 302-305, Second Floor, DLF Place, Saket, New Delhi, Delhi 110017 (Contact: 011 4175 0555)

Dhaba by Claridges, Shop No. 111, 1st Floor, Cyber Hub, DLF Cyber City, Behind RBS, Cyber City Phase II, Sector 24, Gurugram, Haryana 122008 (Contact:085279 00779)

Timings: 12-11:30 pm
Credit cards accepted: Yes
Meal for two: Rs 1,600 + taxes


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