1 March 2014


Location: Soam is located bang opposite the religious landmark of Babulnath Temple, and absolutely impossible to "not find". I had wanted to eat there ever since it opened, almost a decade ago. Finally visited there for lunch and here's my take on it:

Ambience: Clean, pleasant, compact but not cramped. They can seat about 30 people at a time and have a small waiting area inside the restaurant. It's buzzing during lunch hours and you are advised to go between 12pm-12:45pm to get immediate seating.

Service: The waiters are courteous and know the menu well. Ask them for any clarifications. The service is quick and efficient.

Food: The menu offers an interesting range of classic standalone Gujarati preparations and no thali. Some popular Marwari dishes like Dal-Baati-Churma and Gatte ki Sabzi have also found a place in between the quintessentially Gujju fare.

 For starters we had Guava Panna and Paanki. The panna was fresh and nicely flavoured with rock salt. The Paanki is a steamed preparation of rice flour paste being flavoured with masalas and spread in a thin layer between two banana leaves. It was soft and delicious.

Our mains : 

Dhansaak with Steamed Rice and Kebabs
Dhansaak is a Parsi speciality of minced meat cooked in vegetable gravy along with a secret combination of spices. The vegetarian version here has been adapted by replacing meat with lentils. It is served along with steamed rice that is supposed to be brown by combining it with caramelised onions. There are deep-fried kebabs to go with this. Their Dhansaak didn't have any distinct taste, but the kebabs were well-prepared. I ordered this to get an idea of what’s ‘the big deal’ about this Parsi dish and was left utterly unimpressed.
Gatte ki Sabzi with Satpadi roti
The Gatte ki Sabzi, ordered by my companion was finger-licking good! The gattas were soft and the kadhi was mildly flavoured. None of that typically Rajashtani style of overpowering red chillies’ taste in it. It was served along with ‘Satpadi’ roti, which is essentially seven layers of dough rolled in a go!

What caught my attention was a special “Low Cal” section on the menu. It has a small collection of dishes which are higher on the “healthy” quotient, not exactly a strongpoint of the traditional Gujarati/Rajasthani dishes which take pride in piling on the calories! High on “health” does not equate with low on “taste” and I look forward to having their Nachni dosa.

Price: All the items are priced between Rs. 100- 200. A meal for two will be around Rs. 600/-.

Verdict: Excited about going again for trying the other dishes!

5 January 2011


Bikanervala is whereI have dined at, the most number of times, in the past two years! This outlet is located at Chanakyapuri, right behind Yashwant Place, though there are many branches in New Delhi and some other parts of the world! It’s a comprehensive food destination, offering a variety of sweets, snacks, and whole meals [South and North Indian, Chinese and Continental]. It’s a two-level outlet, with the ground floor being dedicated to sweets, snacks, ice creams and drinks. The first floor has a seating area [which gets super-crowded during weekends] and also the kitchen serving their main course dishes.

The menu also includes special items in sync with the then current festive occasion. So, during Navratris they have a full-fledged Thali with items permitted to be eaten during the festival, and snacks are altered to not have onion and garlic in them. [See pictures]. The Karol Bagh outlet has a special section for Bakery products.
Navratra Thali
Due to multiple visits with family, we’ve tasted EVERYTHING on their menu. In Pizza, they offer Cheese, Garlic, Mushroom and Tomato-Onion. I luuuuurve the Garlic Piza!
The South Indian Platter has two idlis, a vada, a small dosa and uttapam, served along with sambhar, green and red chutney. There are some four options in soups, each mildly flavoured, yet make for great starters or as palate cleansers. There’s also the North Indian Platter and Chinese Platter which are sufficient for two people.
Chinese Platter

Kebabs along with Punjabi Platter

Macaroni Salad and Lachcha Tokri 

Punjabi Platter
Breads along with Punjabi Platter

For Dessert, the Kulfi-Falooda tastes luscious, as does their various flavours of ice-cream. We once had oodles of fun selecting our own scoops for the Banana Split, and slurping the last drops of ice-cream off their boat-shaped dish! To conclude, I simply can never get enough of Bikanervala stuff, despite having had all the stuff they have to offer! In conclusion, my favourite chaat is their Paani Puri and what I don’t like is the Veg. Burger, which is TOO filling and leaves me feeling uncomfortable by the time I finish it. What I like the BEST?! Well, their staff always serves with gloves on their hands. Though, this did not prevent from a really small strand of hair floating up in my Badam Milk once.

For pics of their MENU card please visit

Raj Bhog
Gulab Jamun

Mahendra Sweets

 True blue Delhiites have an insatiable desire for food. This desire serves as a source of income for numerous small and big players. One such medium-sized player is MAHENDRA SWEETS  
located at the Babu Market end of New Delhi’s Sarojini Nagar Market. It’s a small-sized, pucca outlet serving a range of snacks and sweetmeats. Sometime back, the owner expanded the outlet a bit to include a section for cakes and pastries, and another counter of “Italian Salad” was added. During winters, there’s a small setup stationed outside the shop selling warm “Kesar Milk”.

There is an unprecedented amount of crowd during festivals, and the owners put up an extension counter outside the shop to make it easier for buyers. On display are a number of dry and wet sweets. My favourite is the ‘Krishna Bhog’, a thin layer of cream sandwiched between two thick, orange-coloured round layers of chhena [rasgulla]. Having tried most of their sweetmeats, it can be safely concluded that their ‘halwai’ does his job earnestly and the preparations are not too sweet, or under-cooked.

The most popular item of their repertoire is the jalebi, prepared fresh and sold only in the evening. It’s so famous that on most days, there is a queue of buyers to collect their order being packed, hot, right out of the sugar syrup. The samosas are amongst the best I’ve had across this country. They are always crisp, never too spicy, stuffed with steamed and seasoned potatoes with green peas thrown in during winters.

The newly opened ‘Pasta and Salad’ counter doesn’t visually appeal to my taste buds, but I am sure it must be selling well, due to the very reason mentioned at the beginning of this piece!

4 January 2011

Bengali Market

Bengali Market is essentially a concentration of a few shops around a really small circle, located off Mandi House in New Delhi. It gets its name from a BENGALI SWEETS outlet located out there. The Market’s main draw is its food outlets. Apart from Bengali Sweet House, there is an outlet each of Nathu’s Sweets, Nathu’s Bakery and Costa Coffee.

The Bengali Sweet House and Nathu’s Sweet are both spread over a fairly large area with ample space to sit in and savor their offerings. Each has a standard range of sweetmeats, dry snacks, chaats, and other savoury dishes on their menu. Sadly, none of the staff members use gloves to serve. One visible difference was a roach seen running on the inside of the counter where some of the dry snacks were kept at Nathu’s Sweets. That was my last visit to that outlet.

The Nathu’s Pastry Shop more than 
makes up for the average performance of 
the other outlets. It’s a small establishment with an impressive range of cakes, pastries, tarts, rolls, a wide range of breads, etc. A visit to Bengali Market would be incomplete without indulging your sweet tooth at this outlet. Lastly, prices at none of these outlets make the eyebrow shoot up.

PS: The kulfi-falooda served at Bengali Sweet House is among one of the best in New Delhi. do not miss it!

Aloo Tikki Trail

Despite not being much of a potato fan, the accidental discovery of the stuffed Aloo Tikkis at UPSC Chaat made me check out the same preparation at a few other outlets across the capital. Here are some comments from the preliminary round of tasting…

This is a fairly popular joint located in Sarojini Nagar [SN] Market. The ‘Aloo Tikki Chaat’ is served along with chhole [link]. The tikkis are stuffed, but do not have anything striking about their taste. The Chhole, though, makes up for a great accompaniment.

Another one of SN’s buzzing sweet-cum-savoury outlet. Here, the filling inside the tikki struck a balance between tasty and tangy, but the outer covering of boiled potato was quite bland. The Chhole served along with it also didn’t strike a chord with the taste buds.

Located at the quaint and cozy Bengali Market near Mandi House, their Aloo Tikki Chaat completely swept me off my feet! Oh, where do I start! Well, the “aloo tikki” first… this was a very well-prepared snack. The small tikki packed a big punch by being stuffed with green peas [fried and seasoned] and dried musk melon seeds, making it a delicacy in itself! The ‘chhole’ served along with it was another mind-blowing preparation. It struck a perfect balance between well-cooked steamed gram and spices, without having oil floating around it. If this is what they serve along with their “Chhole Bhature” too, then I’ll surely be licking my fingers at the end of it!

The trail continues