Filmy Bites

In my experience,restaurants choose to exploit a theme when their menu is unexceptional,or if they’re trying to drive up flagging sales.

Written by Shantanu David | Published: March 16, 2012 3:40 am

In my experience,restaurants choose to exploit a theme when their menu is unexceptional,or if they’re trying to drive up flagging sales. These places usually have indifferent food,average service and rely solely on a gimmicky theme. Thus I had quite low expectations from the new Rang De Basanti Dhaba. Boy,were we wrong.

Located in South Extension II’s main market,the restaurant is easy to find. A staircase decorated with desi posters leads to the first-floor eatery. The neon-light festooned tractor and more quirky posters lend a funky tone to the otherwise standard faux-dhaba interiors of wooden furniture and ethnic tableware. The Bollywood electronica music,however,sounds surprisingly good and complements the décor.

Even more surprisingly,the menu features some really interesting items. The polite and attentive staff immediately serve some papad and the usual accoutrement of an Indian restaurant. They,however,also serve three different kinds of onions (so vital to North Indian fare),one of which is fresh green onion bulbs marinated in a red chilli and lime masala. All doubts assuaged by now,we proceed to order with gusto. We decide to start with the Mutton Boti Din Raat,just because the name sounds fascinating. The dish does not disappoint. It comprises boiled eggs,halved,with the yolks scooped out and replaced with succulent boti kebabs and served on a sizzler platter. The concept,execution,taste and presentation got a thumbs up all around.

For our main course,we decide a medley of traditional and nouveau fare. Next,we order butter chicken and dal fry (both dhaba staples) and nimbu meat,which is described on the menu as ‘pickled lemon and meat curry’. The butter chicken has the right balance of sweet and sour. The flavours of pickled lemon and traditional mutton curry make for a curious,and not unpleasant,combination. The pickled lemon,however,is rather robust and overpowers the taste of the meat. A less astringent flavour would have elevated the dish from a curiosity to a winner.

The dal fry,which is low on salt,also suffered as a result of the meat being overwhelming,though it was adequately spiced.

As we slurped down the dessert — the tried and tested tille walli kulfi — I realised that I haven’t enjoyed being proved wrong about something in quite a while.

Meal for Two: Rs 900 (including taxes) Address: E-18,1st Floor,South Extension 2 Contact: 40532141

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