While we’re nearing seven decades to being an independent nation, the shrugging of the shoulder and the patronizing look is evident in almost every true blue Mumbaikar when someone mentions they’re from Delhi. And I wouldn’t be entirely mistaken if the same thing happened up north! But the one thing we never shy away from doing here, is appreciating the downright awesomeness of the food which the capital serves up. Not only does Delhi enjoying feeding its hungry mouths, it has a certain way of picking up the everyday ordinary and infusing it with a new life altogether – read momos!
But why am I Delhi tripping? Well I recently took the road less travelled to this really good eatery in the eastern side of Andheri (god bless the people who live there), and the effort they have spend recreating Delhi’s grandiose both in terms of ambience and food is commendable. Not only do they have a grand looking setting, there’s some pretty nifty work going on in their kitchens too!
So here’s my take on a gut stuffing and totally satisfying experience I had at Delhi Highway!
Like I said earlier on, the people at Delhi Highway have done a fine job at putting the grandiose and to an extent the garishness of Delhi on full tilt display here. The high ceilings, the spacious seating, the heavy and somewhat brassy tableware, and the top quality Hindi music in the backdrop, all make for a fine mis-en-scene for your dinner soiree at the place.
A shout out to the person curating their playlist, for a mighty fine job done there!
The service at Delhi Highway literally takes on the name and is analogously fast as highway traffic. If you’re on the receiving end of their THALI service, be prepared to be force fed like geese being fattened for a creamy foie gras! They simply won’t stop until you’ve popped at least a button or two.
The food at Delhi Highway is all about bringing the best of the capital to Mumbai so that our Delhi averse populace can gleefully avoid the Delhi travel and yet savour what they feel is the best culinary potpourri there ever was.
There’s a decent a la carte spread at Delhi Highway but what’s really worth writing home about, is their assortment of THALIS, or should I say set menus.
So they’ve used a nice idea to keep two thali variants in place (Rs 650 and Rs 499), for those who aren’t heavy on an appetite. We tried the Rs 650 thali and boy was that a huge spread of food.
Why I’d call this a set meal rather than a thali, is because you don’t get served everything at once in a single thali. But you start just like an a la carte meal with every course arriving one at a time.
We began with the KAIRI PANHA, which was just about decent. I felt the tempering was a little too much for the drink, that apart it was pretty good.
TOMATO DHANIYA SHORBA – If this was a tomato soup it would have been fabulous because the balance of the flavours was absolutely spot on. Just that the consistency was a little too thick for a shorba.
I loved how the sharpness of the tomato was balanced by the spices and of course the earthy flavour of the coriander.
GOL GAPPA SHOT – A very nifty way to serve a gol gappa. Nothing new anymore, but still I’d give them top marks for the presentation. It’s very difficult to get a gol gappa wrong, especially when you’re calling yourself a Delhi themed eatery, and thankfully that didn’t happen either.
We were served six appetizers after the soup and so called amuse bouche. I could only try three of them though.
TANDOORI MUSHROOM – Grilled mushrooms stuffed with cheese, there’s something magical about that isn’t it? The marinade for the mushrooms was intentionally kept low on seasoning to allow the cheese to do its job, and the spices used were mild too. Made for a great appetizer overall!
BROCOLI & PESTO KEBAB – Fusion food always sounds fancy but it’s not always that someone gets it right. Ditto in this instance! While there wasn’t anything wrong in the kebab, I felt that the broccoli and the pesto just didn’t sit so well with each other in this case.
NARAMDIL KEBAB – A mildly flavoured (cinnamon & cardamom) kebab that was crisp on the outside but quite soft on the inside. By far the favourite of the lot for all of us actually! The cottage cheese used in the kebab was the reason for its texture, I guess. But what made it so good overall, was that the marinade and the spice mixture accentuated the taste of the cottage cheese and the other elements used in the base of the kebab. Totally loved this!
The mains were a heavy duty dose of food and nothing on the table seemed to be a misfit for a really wealthy man’s table
A special mention for the CHANA MASALA – I loved how they came extremely close to the pindi chole without actually making pindi chole. The masalas used in the dish made for such a flavourful dish that despite being close to done, I took another helping of it. Moderate on both the heat and the spiciness, this dish sits right in the sweet spot irrespective of your spice preferences.
DAL DELHI HIGHWAY – One of the better dal makhani’s I have had in quite a while. The server said that the dal is cooked for over 9 hours and judging by the creamy consistency that the lentils had (excluding the cream and butter adding to the texture), I wouldn’t need a second opinion on that. Again, playing it right in the centre in terms of the spice levels and the heat, this preparation is guaranteed to please!
VEG KADAI – Not my kind of dish! I am always game for extra heat to my dish, but extra spice is something I usually shy away from. I thought this was a little too oily and spicy for my liking.
JEERA ALOO MASALEDAAR – This is a Punjabi favourite when it comes to comfort food and is almost a weekly staple at home for me. This was so good and in all of its simplicity, probably something I enjoyed the most at Delhi Highway. Simply put, a few par bolied potatoes, a tempering of cumin, and a dash of tang from the chaat masala, and you just cannot go wrong.
VEG BIRYANI – The biryani was a little too overcrowded in terms of nuts and additional elements, drawing the focus off from the main show. It was a tad bit sweet for me as well. Didn’t enjoy it one bit!
The desserts in Delhi Highway’s case are a true testimony to the adage, saving the best for the last. The KESAR FIRNI – though not authentically kashmiri in nature, was a delight.
GULAB JAMUN – A monstrosity of a gulab jamun, this behemoth was mildly sweet and had such a wonderful texture. Melted like cotton candy in my mouth.
LASSI – Creamy thick lassi, just the type you’d find in Delhi.
In terms of how the place is priced, you might initially judge it as pricey. But for the taste and the portion sizes, the place is quite high on value for money.
Overall I’d say that Delhi Highway has done a tremendous job in terms of bringing Delhi’s culinary magic to Mumbai, and what’s even more commendable is that they’re doing this in a vegetarian setup without the aid of signature dishes like the butter chicken and the tandoori.
Whether you’re a voracious eater or just someone with a light appetite for good food, you’ll find something here that you like and makes you want to come back for more!
As for the question, whether I recommend this place? At least for one meal, I definitely would!