Featured Restaurants in Delhi/NCR

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Critic's Review

Updated yesterday

  • Food
  • 80% Complete (success)
  • Service
  • 60% Complete (success)
  • Decor
  • 60% Complete (success)

God’s Own Cuisine

Atmospherics:

Exactly on the same spot stood another restaurant until a year ago. Mahabelly is the brain child of two friends, both from around Kottayam in Central Kerala, the home of the most famous seafood and red meat cuisine of that state. The friends took over the previous restaurant, and because budget was a constraint, have not undertaken too many changes. So, though the concept is off-beat – the food of a toddy shop in Central Kerala – the surroundings are a little too conventional. The great news is that DLF Place has a great new restaurant that has the trappings of becoming every bit as iconic as Gunpowder that shot into prominence a few years ago, and then faded away from Delhi. The food is home-style and does not, in general, conform to the cuisine of Kerala’s toddy shops, which, like our dhabas, tend to have oily, spicy food.

Table Talk:

The only dish that is straight out of a toddy shop is the Shaapu Meen Curry. Spicy and sour with fish tamarind, it defines the food of Central Kerala (also known as the Christian belt). Great starters to try are Erachi Double Fry (Rs 280), in which meat has been tossed in coconut oil with spices and coconut shavings. Great with drinks (the alcohol licence is expected shortly) as is Prawns Varathathu (Rs 470), in which the prawns lose none of their succulence.

The best part is that not only is red rice served in the unlimited lunch thali (vegetarian only) (Rs 260) but so is the other of Kerala’s famous starch – tapioca or kappa. You can opt for a vegetarian light meal/satisfying snack of kappa and ulli samanthi, a dry chutney (Rs 200) or have the meal of your life with kappa and shaapu meen curry (Rs 260). Green Peas Masala (Rs 220) is the tastiest vegetarian option. The peas are tender and the tomato-based masala clings to them making it a good option as a side dish in a seafood/meat meal.

Plus and Minus:

Mahabelly is part of a mall, yet in a little alley, giving it the best of both worlds. It is easily accessible being on the ground floor, yet it is secluded. Malayalam is spoken here. Tweaks have been made to the Delhi palate: the most unsuccessful of them is meen polichathu.

Must Try:

Shaapu Meen Curry, Vegetable/Chicken Stew with Appam, Malabar Moplah Biryani

Critic reviews are anonymous and all bills are paid by them.

Updated last week

  • Food
  • 60% Complete (success)
  • Service
  • 60% Complete (success)
  • Decor
  • 70% Complete (success)

Atmospherics:

The quintessential neighbourhood bar where friends gather to meet. It has all the fixings: the interiors are all-wood, rugged and the chairs are mis-matched. The drinks may be the reason why the place is so crowded, but the food is more than adequate too. I went with suitably low expectations because of the less than felicitous name, but the cheerful interiors and complete lack of pretension had me hooked. Even the service style – slightly raw yet fairly efficient – is a dramatic departure from the norm in this market. The best part is that if there is parking space to be had at all, it is in this ‘Not Just Parathas’ corner of GK 2. Everywhere else is a challenge to find parking. The other thing is that is somewhat of a novelty is that there is plenty on the menu to order in between meals – burgers, sliders, chicken wings, even artery-clogging breakfasts.

Table Talk:

Don’t even think of missing their best offering: wings/strips/drumsticks with a sauce that ranges from savoury to incendiary. You choose the number of pieces you want – each has a different cost. Four is the least one can order (Rs 249/249/159) and 30 the most (Rs 1499/1499/449). But the trick is in knowing what sauce to order, as that makes all the difference. Salt and vinegar is mildly spiced as is teriyaki sauce; chipotle barbecue sauce is very hot yet tasty and I didn’t have the guts to try the pain 100% which is very, very hot according to the menu. Next come a variety of poutine. I chose the regular (Rs 149) one with rather tasty brown gravy, on which chips and sour cream are placed. You can’t go wrong with the simplest dishes here. My Chilli Cheese Slider (Rs 249) featured a pau-like bun that had been lightly toasted for extra crispness on the outside with a patty that was pleasantly crunchy outside with pickled gherkins and a slice of tomato nestling on the spicy mayo. There were three sliders in one serving: Zingo Star is almost embarrassingly inexpensive!

Plus and Minus:

In this age of technology, it is unforgivable for a menu to be peppered with so many spelling mistakes. But that is more than compensated with the peppy vibe, low prices and great value for money, plus interesting choices for vegetarians.

Must Try:

Zingo breakfast, Buffalo Shrimp, Masala Fish Finger

Critic reviews are anonymous and all bills are paid by them.

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