Get your Punjabi swag on with this winter inspired menu
Ask any North Indian what the onset of November chills remind them off in Delhi and they will point you towards the quintessential comfort foot 'Sarson da saag'. Pair that with a makhan-dripping roti, and you can feel the warmth envelope your body. As Chennaiites, winter may not exactly be a season here but the recent dip in temperature sure made us crave some warm Punjabi food. Dhaba Estd 1986 Delhi with its pop art interiors and larger than life persona, inimitably create and serve classics inspired by the dhaba culture of India. It may be cold, but their winter-inspired menu will warm you just right up!
Chef Ravi Saxena, the Corporate Chef says that winters are a very special time for Indians in the north. "It’s the season of joy, of drama and the ultimate Punjabi swag, you know?" says the chef with a beaming smile. The Big Fat Punjabi Winter Menu at Dhaba is a combination of the best of seasonal produce and Punjabi delicacies. Winters in India are made of lush green farms of sunflowers and beautiful yellow mustard fields and Dhaba has handpicked the best seasonal produce of the country. These are only available for a limited time of the year and the Chef has put them together in this new menu. We are first welcomed by cold lassis and kala khatta, along with makhi di rotis and the Kaleji Gurda Tak a Tak. This is a Goat kidney and liver marinated dish with homemade spices, tossed on tawa with onion tomato and green chillies. If you're not a liver person, you might not like the texture on this but for others, this is an explosion of flavours.
Latpati Murgh Tangdi came next, made with tandoor cooked chicken drumsticks tossed with onion and green chillies. You can feel the heat from the green chillies slowly taking over after you've taken a few bites.
Our next few vegetarians dishes came one after the other; Sarson ka Saag made with winter favourite mustard leaves tossed with garlic, onion and spices. "I fly in the saag (mustard leaves) for the sarson da saag from Delhi every week because it's the best time to buy it," informs the Chef. The saag is traditionally paired with a block of white butter and jaggery, which we thought was an odd combination but what a world of difference it made when we tasted it together!
Methi Mattar Malai comes next, a creamy gravy with fresh fenugreek leaves tossed with green peas which we have to warn you, is quite addictive! Non-vegetarian delights included the delightful Dilli ki Nihari made with select cuts of goat meat slow cooked to perfection with spices and rose petals. The meat literally slid off the bones! Amritsari Paya was another favourite, made with Goat trotters stewed with select spices and topped with butter.
The pure show of flavours in each dish is spectacular, each one being better and unique than the next. When you think Punjabi desserts, you always think phirni, or kheer. But the Chef's got a few surprises up his sleeve. Warm Aloo Anannas Halwa, a unique blend of potatoes and pineapples with "mawa", coconut and dry nuts - which strangely goes really well together. And Gajrela, a version of their traditional winter “gajar ka halwa." As I saunter out of Dhaba after devouring that big fat Punjabi menu, I can't but help wish that winter wasn't just coming but was here to stay.
Meal for two: Rs 1700, On till February 2018. Details 7338863168