Food stories: When two popular restaurants spread their wings

When two popular restaurants spread their wings in the city, how high and far do they fly?

Written by Shantanu David | Updated: November 17, 2014 12:10:34 pm
When two popular restaurants spread their wings in the city, how high and far do they fly? When two popular restaurants spread their wings in the city, how high and far do they fly?

Mawa in the Middle

A large piece of graffiti representing the eponymous “owner” marks the entrance to SodaBottleOpenerWala in the bustling middle lane of Khan Market, recently opened to much raucous celebration. A staircase layered with Parsi history in the form of sepia-toned family portraits and artwork leads one into the two-storied restaurant, a warm, loud space filled with the clatter of crockery, cutlery and conversation. A bakery counter in the corner serves shrewsbury biscuits, nanakhatais and all the Mawa you can handle. Grinning servers brim with glasses and menu suggestions, seemingly swaying to the classic pop echoing off the walls.

In addition to the original outpost’s menu, the Khan Market edition has a Bombay Special Menu, replete with dishes such as Kanda Bhajji, Eggs Kejriwal, and Cheesy Masala Fries, among others. We pick the Mushroom on Khari and the Bacon Keema Macaroni from the same with an additional order of Dhansak like good little pseduo-Parsis. The khari comes first, crisp and crackling, topped with a dreamy cheesy mushroom melange, melting in the mouth yet with a crunch. The macaroni is a robust red but oddly bereft of the slightest hint of tomato, the flavours being resoundingly porcine. This little pig was delicious. The imperial dhansak comes last, reposing in a metal tiffin, and served with a tangy kachumber and a glowing caramelised rice, studded with chips of deep-fried onions. A good egg, this.

The coup de grace is dessert, another perennial favourite: the Toblerone Mousse, darker than sin and infinitely more delicious, each bite more decadent than the last. All in all, it’s an experience fit for royalty.

Meal for two: Rs 1800 (with taxes, excluding alcohol)

Address: 73, Khan Market. 43504778

Tailing the Monkey

Monkey Bar has long stalked our dreams, its dishes having left an indelible imprint on our palate. So the opening of its second outlet in Dilli’s dil makes us happier than, well, a barrel full of its relatives. Ensconced in the pristine white rotunda that is Connaught Place, the interiors are as monkey made them, with creaking wooden floors, fussball tables, chalkboards and an eclectic soundtrack.

Several new dishes fortifying the Vasant Kunj collective, many of them take cues from their surroundings. As do we, ordering the Mobar Kulcha Sandwich, the Homemade Chicken Nuggets and the Butter Chicken Khichdi. The kulcha comes stuffed with spicy Goan sausages, tempered by freshly sliced tomatoes and lettuce, making us wish for a time machine, so we can eat it ad infinitum. The nuggets defy the norm, comprising large, well-battered pieces, crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside with a smattering of sauces to dip into. Venky’s what?

However, it’s the butter chicken khichdi that’s utterly diabolical. Imagine a culinary quorum formed by your grandmother and a peerless Punjabi caterer (unless your granny is such a personage, in which case, can we meet?) and then think about all the things that they could do to your tastebuds. The khichdi is part ghar ka khana, part superlative restaurant fare and all parts awesome.

For dessert, we delve into the Mobar Sundae Cup. Layers of cake, peanut butter, chocolate and nuts in a bewildering array of textures.

Meal for two: Rs 1500 (with taxes, excluding alcohol)

Address: P 3/90, Connaught Place. 33107898

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