Monday, May 21, 2012

Things in the NCR you should eat, and probably haven't.

As some of you may already know, during my time at BLAH Magazine, I co-wrote THIS article with Onaiza Drabu (Blog, Tumblr) about seven things you should eat in Delhi.
A lot has changed since that list was compiled, though:

1.   Sanchoz, CP has, since, closed operations, as has Cha Bar
2.   The quality of the Biryani at Max Mueller Bhavan has dropped considerably, as has the quality of most   of their dishes.
3.   I have been to more places since, tried more dishes, gained more weight and become much wiser in terms of food.

I don't, of course, claim to be a food critic, nor do I claim to be qualified for any such role (I like food far too much for that). I just love eating good food. So you can keep your low cholesterol and impressive longevity, thank you very much.

It is for the aforementioned reason that I have decided to compile another list, much better researched and with newer places. I'm going to start it off with something I had not a few hours ago.

1. Tikki at Brahmaputra Market, Noida:

"What?", says the dedicated meat-eater, "I thought Brahmaputra was only good for flesh-munchers that can relish the rolls, tikkas and biryanis. Oh hells no, my naive friend. The tikki served at Brahmaputra is one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten.

The good thing about it is that while the crust of the tikki is crustier than most places' to begin with, the delightful gentleman preparing the dish tops it off with a sprinkle of Papri. He then smothers it with an exquisite combination of Dahi, Chutneys, Masalas and Onions. 

The first thing that strikes you about the dish is the perfection of the Tikki itself. It is extremely crispy and crunchy on the outside (more so because of the Papri) while maintaining its softness and the flavour of the potato on the inside.

Secondly, but not less importantly, the Chutneys and Dahi, coupled with the Masala, are added in perfect proportion. The Dahi doesn't dilute the chutneys, nor do the chutneys overpower the Dahi and Masala. 

If you're vegetarian, and are forced to go to Brahmaputra with your meat-eating friends (as I did to several of my friends), or if you want to have some kick-arse Tikki, head down to this Palace of Foodgasms.

Unless you want to have a meal sitting down, in which case you should head down to....

2. Panda Wok, Sector-18, Noida

Hidden away in the lesser explored part of Sector-18, Panda Wok serves up some of the best Chinese food  this side of CP. 

Run by Chef-duo Som and Gunjan (former chefs at  some of the best hotels in the city), Panda Wok is commited to serving Five Star quality Chinese food at affordable prices. A meal for two sufficient to fill you up would cost you close to INR 200 a person. As one of the chefs puts it, "For 400 a person, you could KILL yourself with food".

The best thing on the Menu is is the Money Bag dumplings (though everything is lovely). The crust of the Money Bag is a thin layer, cleverly crafted to provide the right barrier between your tongue and the meaty flavour of the filling. The covering doesn't eat into the flavour of the filling, though it manages to retain its own distinct taste.

An extremely endearing touch is the balloon that is placed on every table. The guests burst the balloon at their table to uncover their 'Deal for the day'. Nothing extravagant, but it makes you love the place a little more.

The ambience of the restaurant is that of a tiny neighbourhood eatery, and that is all that Panda Wok claims to be. If you're around Noida with a craving for chinese food, you know where to head.

3. The Yum Yum Tree, New Friends Colony:

The Yum Yum Tree needs no introduction, but I'll introduce it anyway. Its a Chinese/Japanese/Thai restaurant in the main market of New Friends Colony (the one with the Shawarmas, yeah) that is known for, above all else, its Sushi Lunch.

While the lunch is excellent, no doubt, its not the best thing they have on the menu, not even close. So here's what you should eat at the Yum Yum Tree for the perfect meal:

Duck Spring Rolls in Gooseberry Sauce/ Duck Har Gao in Cherry Hoisin
If you're a fan of Dimsums, like yours truly, you will definitely appreciate the subtle flavour that fills both these dishes. Though they're not comparable in any way, both of them are amazing starters in their own rights. The good thing about both the dishes is the tinge of sweetness added by the Gooseberry sauce and The Hoisin that is missing in other, more salty dimsums.

Pork Spare Ribs
To be fair to other rib-selling restaurants in the city, I've attained negligible experience in the field of ribs and there is very little I have to compare the ribs at Yum Yum Tree to.
But to be fair to The Yum Yum Tree, their ribs are definitely one of the best things I've eaten in this city.
The meat is tender, not overcooked but not too tough, extremely juicy and cooked to near perfection by the geniuses in the white hats at 'The Tree'. They're best eaten piping hot and I would recommend you order them without any accompaniments in order to experience the dish in the best way possible. Though if Pork isn't your thing, I'd advise you to stay away from it and go for the more conventional white-meat dishes on the menu. The grilled fish dishes are good as well.

Date Pancakes
After a lovely meal, you can finish off with the Date Pancakes that is served with Jaggery Ice-Cream. The ensemble is a perfect blend of the two items that compliment each other without, amazingly, going overboard with the sweetness factor.

And finally, there's....

4. Its Greek to Me, Safdarjung Enclave

Tucked away in Safdarjung Enclave, probably one of the last places one looks to for a delicious fine dining experience, Its Greek to Me is a pleasant surprise. 

While this restaurant is, in no way, inexpensive, nor does the ambience of the restaurant match up to the prices on the menu, the food does not disappoint. Two of the dishes, however deserve a special mention.

The Non-veg Mezede platter is an excellent choice. The dips are absolutely delicious and form the perfect accompaniment to the platter. The Chicken Pita, Chicken strips and Roast Lamb are cooked to perfection with fresh, juicy meat (though I've heard otherwise about their Sea-food).

The other great thing on the Menu is the Baclava with Ice-cream. The dish is absolutely refreshing and is the perfect way to top off a fantastic meal.

I'd advise you to stay the frick away if you intend to eat for cheap prices, but on days you feel particularly indulgent, come around and give this place a try.

That's all for this time, but I'm a graduate now, and I work in Marketing, so I'll probably find time to write about more stuff I eat around the city. Maybe I'll write about food all over India, maybe the globe. Who knows. The world is my Oyster.

Mmmm, Oyster...


  1. Deliciously written. Earned yourself a follower :)

  2. A lot of cafes and eateries have mushroomed in hauz khas village..please try them out and make life simpler for us...doing great!!