Nothing quite matches dhaba delicacies

Whichever road you are going down, trucks moving ahead of you always provide an interesting read with their pithy, tongue-in-cheek or risque one liners, comical quotes and romantic Urdu couplets written on the rear panels.

‘Dekho, magarpyaar se’ (Look but with love) is a popular refrain.

But ‘Khao, magar pyaar se’ (Eat, but with love) is totally new, which the Dhaba restaurant at Claridges hotel has been promoting for the last 29 years.

Known for its delicious north Indian cuisine, Dhabha’s branch at DLF Place, Saket is very much like a signature highway eatery.

From nalka chandeliers, nimbu-mirchi lights, vintage Bollywood posters, rustic interiors, truck art elements and an actual truck where one can enjoy a hearty meal, the place offers an ambience similar to popular highway dhabas.

In keeping with the rustic, basic theme, the menu which is divided into the popular - tawa, tandoor and patila sections, includes typical north Indian dishes like Kanastri Baigan (Baigan ka Bharta served in copper canister), Dhaba Chilli Chicken, Balti Meat and
Amritsari Tawa Chaap.

In the tawa category, we decided to taste Amritsari Fish, gram flour-coated fillet of sole fish flavoured subtly with ajwain seeds.

The dish did not have strong flavours of a typical Punjabi cuisine instead it tasted mild, different and good.

The Amritsari Tawa Chaap was exceptionally good.

The crumbed and marinated chops of lamb cooked to a golden brown crust were properly grilled and had a good blend of spices. 

Even the Veg Galouti Kebab, served on small circular maida bread had a distinctive taste.

The restaurant also serves authentic Indian snacks like Vada Pav, Keema Pav, Pav Bhaji and Bun Omlette for those looking for a quick bite. 

We decided to taste Bun Omelette, which turned out to be good. Sandwiched between two buns was a scrumptious omelette, made in tikki style.

With every bite one got the flavours of onion, tomato and green chillies. 

In the lunch category, we ordered Dhabha Prawns, succulent and juicy jumbo prawns with yellow chilli.

But they turned out to be a bit of a disappointment having been overdone, thus failing to
taste good even after being grilled for a few minutes. 

Even the Veg Kakori Seekh, minced vegetables flavoured with grounded garam masala, also  failed to impress the taste buds.

The Tiffin Chicken, boneless pieces of chicken cooked with capsicum, tomato and onion, was served with ajwain paratha in an interesting way.

In traditional Indian tiffin, the upper box had paratha while lower one had chicken. Open the tiffin and you get the aroma of ajwain and desi ghee.

The chicken, almost dry with very little gravy to boast of still carried the flavour of spices while the Tawa Chicken Pulao tasted like home cooked fried rice.

Generous chunks of chicken in the pulao made every mouthful delicious. 

Mocktails like Aam Panna, Kala Khatta and Junglee Cooler which was a mix of mango and banana with a tinge of mint tasted normal.

Even in desserts Paan Kulfi and Phirni were more like regular home fare!

However, the saada paan served to round off the meal was refreshing and can make one fall in love with the place.

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