The name ”Khaaja chowk” just echoed several times as I entered the place. It had all the ingredients of a ”Chowk”- An auto rickshaw shaped table, dabbas, tiffins, steel utensils, painting of a Delhi market, Cosmetics- bangles, lipstick, bindis, Hindi songs of 90s and what not!
Just for an introduction, Khaaja Chowk specializes in authentic North Indian cuisine. This restaurant tried to bring up the essence of old Delhi’s street food into fine dining.
Located on the main road on the ground floor of Formula 1 hotel, it is very easy to reach. The parking is shared with the F1 hotel and there were ample free slots on a weekday night.
It was a food review session for us and I was greeted by Mr Abhay, who manages this restaurant. We were offered choice of seating and we chose the corner most seat which had the cosmetics decorated on it.
We found Mr Abhay very knowledgeable and he was happy to share the details about the restaurant. He explained us about each dish served to us, how each item is named and what are the important ingredients. He also shared his views on marketing, sales, about buffet options and about potential customers.
Starters were served on table. There were three non-veg ones and two veg ones. In the non-veg starters there was ”Banno Kebab”, ”Murg malai kebab” and ”chicken tikka”. The presentation was neat. However, I felt that the marination was less and chicken needed to cook more to become tender. The two veg starters served to us were Hara Kebab and Dahi kebab. The Hara kebab was completely different. It was not deep-fried but roasted. Mr. Abhay told us that its prepared from Fig paste and cheese mixed with crushed peas and spinach. Hence the crunch inside and softness outside. It had a unique taste and is a signature dish out here. The Dahi kebab was about average.
|Dahi Kebab and Hara Kebab|
Next the mains were served to us. There was the Khaaja special Rogni naan- It was red on the top, looked similar to benne dosa. The masala and ghee were brushed on the surface which gave the reddish tinge. It had an amazingly lovely taste. In breads, we also had lachha paratha.
There were 2 veg sides and 2 non-veg sides for us. In veg we had Khaaja special paneer and Daal makhni. The Khaaja special paneer, as said to us was an amalgamation of paneer butter masala and paneer tikka masala. It was just brilliantly done- very soft paneer and delicious creamy gravy. Something that was better than the paneer was the Daal makhni. I give 10/10 to it. It was just perfect in every way. These two dishes stand out of the crowd so its a must try for everyone.
|Khaaja Special Paneer and Daal Makhni|
Coming to the non-veg items now… There was chicken chengezi and Mutton rogan josh on the plates. Abhay described us about the history of the chicken dish and said that it comes from Chengez Khan’s kitchen. He also said that the gravy is cooked in whole garam masala and other spices and then pureed. The chicken is marinated in hung curd and then deep fried and finally placed on the gravy. Chengez khan was a ruthless ruler and it depicted in his dish. It was very spicy and hot, though it tasted nice. The star of the evening was the Mutton Rogan josh. I think I had one of the best mutton rogan josh- soft mutton pieces submerged in the authentic Kashmiri flavoured gravy of Rogan josh. The partnership of the Rogni nan and Mutton rogan josh just beated every other dish. The quantity was too much for two people. And our stomachs were about to burst. So, we did not eat any desserts. However happily agreed for a chaas. And the Chaas too came out to be superb.
|Mutton Rogan Josh and Chicken Chengezi|
I managed to have a glance at the kitchen. It had two sections- one Tandoor and one for other dishes. The kitchen was averagely clean. I clicked some pictures of the kitcken and the staff. Have a look: