Wednesday, 4 January 2017

16 Best Dishes of 2016 - in Delhi

As 2016 comes to a close, here is a list of 16 most memorable dishes I had in Delhi. It includes a delicious mix of appetisers, salads and soups, mains as well as dessert. But before I go on, I would like to tell you how this list came about.

As most people who take their food very seriously, I like to ask for recommendations on what to eat and where whenever I travel. And since sharing is caring, I put together this list for my friends {visiting as well as local} of dishes that I loved and enjoyed more than once in this past year. In other words, it is a list of ‘comfort food’ that I happily go back for repeatedly and hence can recommend confidently. Some of the dishes listed are new, many have been available for years. The choice is based entirely on my personal taste and inclination, and also within my limited scope of eating out; yet it covers a mix of street food, stand-alone restaurants as well as fine-dining options. Bon Appetit!

Pani Puri at Delhi Club House.

1. Pani Puri at Delhi Club House
At first, I was reluctant to try this street-food favourite at a high-end restaurant, but I am glad that I did. Although the flavours of the pani and chutney are much like my favourite chaatwala’s the puri (or gol gappa) itself is quite gourmet – it gets an inimitable crunch from being air-fried!
Rs 195; Delhi Club House, Sangam Courtyard, RK Puram.

Burrata with sour cherry sauce and toasted almonds at Ottimo at West View.

2. Burrata at Ottimo at West View
Burrata should be awarded ‘the cheese of 2016’ since most Delhiites seem to have discovered it this year. So, yes, you will see it on the latest menus of most restaurants in Delhi but I really like the way it is served at Ottimo at West View: with a sour cherry sauce and slivers of toasted almonds.
Rs 675; Ottimo at West View, ITC Maurya.

Chicken and Avocado Salad at Yum Yum Cha.

3. Chicken Avocado Salad at Yum Yum Cha
Served in avocado shells, creamy avocado and minced chicken are tossed in yuso dressing, topped with crisp garlic chips and crunchy micro greens. This refreshing salad also goes in my list of healthy, low-carb dishes.
Rs 385; Yum Yum Cha Select Citywalk Saket and DLF Cyber Hub.

Pomelo Salad at Neung Roi.

4. Pomelo Salad at Neung Roi
The Yam Sam-O salad offers a fantastic balance of flavours and textures with sweet and tangy pomelo, crunch of burnt garlic and crispy onion, and palm sugar and tamarind dressing that is spicy, sweet and acidic.
Rs 500; Neung Roi, Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi, Mahipalpur.

Parmesan Soup at Pluck.

5. Parmesan Burnt Garlic Soup at Pluck
Parmesan Burnt Garlic Soup is presented beautifully and tastes even better. The velvety creamy soup is poured over an oatmeal strudel and roll over melba that sits in the middle with some dehydrated cheese. May sound complicated components for a soup, but it is simply delicious.
Rs 600; Pluck; Pullman New Delhi Aerocity.

Pulled Kathal Sliders at Tanddav.

6. Pulled Katthal Slider at Tanddav
Although the restaurant also serves a pulled pork slider, I would urge you to try the pulled smokey katthal slider. It comes with gherkins and melted cheddar and one really cannot tell that this is a vegetarian burger. My non-vegetarian friends would definitely like it, and I am happy that the vegetarians can get a taste of this goodness without compromising on their dietary choices.
Rs 395; Tanddav, GK-II.

Succulent Prawns at Dum Pukht.

7. Jhinga Dum Nisha at Dum Pukht
I haven’t had these prawns very often, but the couple of times that I did left a lasting impact on my taste buds long enough to put them on this list. These jumbo prawns are marinated in cheese and hung yoghurt, flash cooked in a tandoor and finished on dum. They are then doused in a saffron infused seafood chutney.
Rs 2,575; Dum Pukht, ITC Maurya.

Kakori Kebabs at Alkauser.

8. Kakori Kebabs at Alkauser
These melt-in-the-mouth kakoris available at the roadside outlet on Kautilya Marg can give stiff competition to that finest that you might have had anywhere. And they are best had piping hot on the roadside as they don’t taste as good if you do a takeaway.
Rs 180; Alkauser, Chanakyapuri.

Cannelloni Trio at Jamie's Italian.

9. Honeycomb Cannelloni Trio at Jamie’s Italian
The best part about this dish is the hand-rolled pasta that is made fresh at a show kitchen within the restaurant. Plus, I like dishes that offer multiple flavours and in this trio one gets three pieces each of sun-dried tomato and aubergine; spinach and ricotta; and, pumpkin stuffed cannelloni.
Rs 495; Jamie’s Italian, Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj.

Black Cod at Sorrento.

10. Black Cod at Sorrento
The signature Black Cod is wrapped in lardo (block of pork fat) flown in from Sorrento, Italy. The lardo melts beautifully, leaving just a very flavourful fish with a delicious crust sitting on a sauce of roasted mushrooms and pistachios.
Rs 2,195; Sorrento, Shangri-La’s - Eros Hotel.

Lamb Koobideh at Lavaash by Saby.

11. Iranian Lamb Koobideh at Lavaash by Saby
Let me confess that this is the only ‘koobideh’ I have tried so don’t really have a benchmark to compare them with. But each bite of the charcoal grilled soft, spiced minced lamb kebab is packed with wonderful flavours. I like how the fat from the koobideh drips onto the roomali-type roti lavaash that it is served on.
Rs 700; Lavaash by Saby, Mehrauli.

Tandoori Pomfret at Delhi Golf Club.

12. Tandoori Pomfret at Delhi Golf Club
This is the only dish on this list that is not very accessible to many people, but my ‘list of favourites’ would be incomplete without it. So I would urge you to catch hold of your friends who are members of the Delhi Golf Club and enjoy the tandoori pomfret on a sunny winter afternoon. Alternately, I hope someone at Delhi Club House takes notice and adds it to their lovely menu that showcases some of the best dishes from clubs across India.
Rs 570; Delhi Golf Club, Dr. Zakir Hussain Marg.

Sea Bass at Artusi.

13. Sea bass at Artusi
Over the years I have developed an affinity to salmon. I find myself ordering it almost at every restaurant that serves it. Although this restaurant also does a fabulous filet of Norwegian salmon in a crust of aromatic herbs, I will talk about the Adriatic style sea bass for now. The fish is cooked en-papillote, with vegetables and herbs in a vacuum-sealed bag that is cut open at your table. You just have to take in the aroma that wafts out and savour the beautiful flavours that seep into the fish.
Rs 1090; Artusi Ristorante e Bar, GK-II.

Coorgi Pork Curry at Fire.

14. Pork Curry at Fire
The fresh and largely organic menu at Fire offers a fantastic range of regional Indian fare, mostly at prices that will not burn a hole in your pocket. Of this I am recommending the Coorgi pandi curry that is cooked with kachampuli vinegar and roasted spices, because not only does it taste fabulous, but also because one hardly finds any Coorgi dishes in Delhi.
Rs 545; Fire, The Park.

Prawn Curry at SodaBottleOpenerWala.

15. Prawn Curry at SodaBottleOpenerwala
The Parsi Style Jumbo Prawns are cooked with a sesame-peanut paste and coconut milk. The curry is served separately and goes very well with the accompanying rice. The use of fresh prawns makes this dish outstanding.
Rs 895; SodaBottleOpenerwala, all outlets.

Tiramisu at Diva.

16. Tiramisu at Diva
I have deliberately kept only one dessert in this list even though I could have done a separate list only of the best desserts in Delhi. If I could I would put this dessert on a pedestal. I am not getting into a detailed description except that it is easily the best tiramisu in Delhi. The only problem is that it is so light and airy that one forgets the number of calories that are hidden within its pillowy deliciousness.
Rs 370; Diva – The Italian Restaurant, GK-II.

NOTE: All the prices are without taxes.

This article first appeared on on December 28, 2016. 


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