Sunday, 22 September 2013

As one drives from Central Delhi towards Darya Ganj on a lazy sunday afternoon, he is first faced with the sunday book bazaar, a very old and famous second hand market for booklovers, in Darya Ganj. The market is known to start early morning and continue till lunch hour.
Right beyond Daryan Ganj is Jama Masjid, from where start the bylanes of Chandni Chowk and the maze of rickshaws and pedestrians.  Walking through Urdu Bazaar, Karim's, a well known food joint of old Delhi passes by the left. Then the road  leads to Chawri Bazaar, from where one can get into Ballimaran Road, a tourist attraction for those wanting to visit Mirza Ghalib's Haveli. Ballimaran is also accessible from Katraneel (from close to Gurudwara Sis Ganj).

In addition to Mirza Ghalib's haveli, Ballimaran is known for the Afghan food served there. The area is known to have a sizeable Afghan population, popularly known as the 'Kabuliwallas of Ballimaran'. Having read about Kabuli Restaurant in quite a few reviews, I decided to pay the restaurant a visit. Its a 15 min walk from Jama Masjid, which actually helped me build up my appetite. The restaurant is housed in Sharif Manzil building, a known landmark in the area, however, within the complex, finding the restaurant is quite a task (even after entering the building, I had to ask for directions thrice!!!).

The place was generally clean, with a few tables and one divan for people who chose to ate on a dastarkhvan. I ordered a simple mutton korma with a small naan followed by a mutton pulao.

Unlike most places where the bread hardens within a few minutes of exposure to air, this remained soft and fluffy throughout. I had heard that they make a special type of flour and I had a first hand experience with the special flour. The mutton was very well cooked. You just had to touch it and it would melt in your hands, and the gravy was wonderfully light. Very little oil in preparation and very little spice. Delhiites who are accustomed to the more greasy and spicy versions of mutton / chicken korma may not really like the food here as it is extremely bland, however, delightfully tasty and easy on the system.

The korma course was followed by a plate of mutton pulao. The pulao was cooked along with the mutton, unlike most other places, where the mutton would be cooked separately and the pieces simply added to the rice; and served with a small quantity of baked rajmah (it seemed like rajmah to me).
I barely ate the rajmah, as the pulao, in itself was rather pleasant on the palate. Served with a lot of Raisins (kishmish), the pulao offered a slightly sweet taste

As was the case with the korma, the mutton in this case was extremely well cooked and without any spice. (As a personal advise, I would recommend using the hands to eat the pulao; really adds to the feeling.)

The service at the restaurant was excellent. Didn't have to wait more than five minutes for anything; and as for the cost, extremely easy on the pocket. So anytime, you feel like taking a break from the butter chicken or kadai chicken or roganjosh and wish to enjoy a light and pleasant meal, Kabuli Restaurant would be a recommended place. Not to mentions visiting Mirza Ghalib's Haveli.

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