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Down Olde Lanes

Not many food-lovers would go to Old Delhi to enjoy typical North Indian cuisine. That’s why the original recipes are being offered at a posh new address: Aerocity

Raghav Jaggi’s formative years in Daryaganj were all about admiring the cooking genius and fame of his grandfather, Kundan Lal Jaggi, in the culinary world. He was so much in awe of the iconic dishes the grand old man created, namely butter chicken and dal makhani, that he dreamt and promised himself he would open a restaurant by the name ‘Daryaganj’. The only difference being the restaurant is not at the original address in Old Delhi but transported to a happening address, Aerocity.

So along with his childhood friend, restauranteur Amit Bagga, he opened ‘Daryaganj’ to carry forward his grandfather’s legacy by recreating the same Daryaganj experience. We were fortunate to partake this experience with Bagga taking us through a sit-down meal of several courses specially crafted to showcase the history of tandoori cuisine and its evolution serving all dishes invented by senior Jaggi.

As we sipped the delicious sweet lassi in traditional brass and copper glasses, Bagga proudly stated, “In designing the restaurant, we have paid great attention to detailing in order to captivate all five senses of the diners  – sense of ‘Taste’ (robust North Indian flavours), sense of ‘Touch’ (special furniture and tableware, sense of ‘Sight’ (décor celebrates nostalgia from 1950’s), sense of ‘Smell’ (kitchen is designed in a way that the aroma of the cuisine will seep out of it) and sense of ‘Hearing’ (soulful music).” There was no reason not to agree with him as we our tandoori platters arrived, both veg and non-veg, which looked so colourful and fresh.  ‘The Original Tandoori Chicken’ and ‘The Original Paneer Tikka’ stole the show as they were melt- in-the-mouth, prepared in the typical Daryaganj kitchen style.

We didn’t have to think what next as Bagga had ensured we taste all signature dishes. “All age-old recipes have been reconstructed to be closest to the way they were served in 1950s,” he said. The dishes that were invented then were clearly marked as ‘Original’ on the menu, like ‘The Original Butter Chicken’ and ‘The Original Dal Makhani’ which were offered along with ‘Daryaganj Style Chicken Curry’. The hearty ‘The Original Mutton Burrah Kebab’ is bound to delight carnivores.

For vegetarians, the feast is no less impressive. Besides The Original Dal Makhani — authentic age-old recipe of whole black dal (lentils) slowly simmered in buttery tomato paste, garnished with fresh ginger, there was ‘The Original Paneer Tikka’ and ‘Mushroom Kurkuri’. Moong Dal Ka Keema and Saag Paneer tasted delicious with garlic and other in-house spices.

You can taste the entire menu yet not feel bloated as the dishes are not heavy and creamy. Try an interesting beverage ‘Laung Elaichi’ — an exclusive in-house preparation with citrusy base, infused with clove and cardamom. Fhose who love lassi and thandai, be assured you would get the best here. Round off your meal by stepping towards the live kulfi counter serving authentic kulfi on a stick. The service staff is courteous, well-trained and offers impeccable service. Overall, ‘Daryaganj’ welcomes you in an ambience that exudes vintage charm, replete with a vibrancy that is hard-to-miss.