A Lavish 7-Course Dinner at a Haveli in Old Delhi Built 200 Years Ago

Haveli Dharampura is an ideal escape for the urban dweller when the city gets to you. If you can't commit a weekend, then plan an impromptu outing to enjoy a Nawabi dinner.

Shivangana Vasudeva, NDTV  |  Updated: July 02, 2017 20:53 IST

A Lavish 7-Course Dinner at a Haveli in Old Delhi Built 200 Years Ago
  • Haveli Dharampura was built 200 years ago in 1887 A.D.
  • The highlight of the property is its restaurant, Lakhori.
  • The lavish 7-course tasting menu lives up to its surroundings
The century-old havelis built during the Mughal period define the Walled city. These historical treasures open a window to our glorious past. Amidst the monumental ruins, few have been reinstated as sophisticated structures of antiquity preserving the shadows and silhouettes of the bygone era.

Haveli Dharampura, also known as Goel Saab ki Haveli, was built in 1887 A.D. Linked by meandering alleys of Chandini Chowk, the Haveli nestles in Dharampura mohalla and its restoration can be deemed as one of modern architecture's greatest achievements. The top-to-toe revival was designed to bring the three-storied building back to its ancestral splendour without forfeiting any romance but adding a touch of opulent style.

It is all about attention to detail at this ravishing Haveli, with a 200-year-old venerable history, which has now been repurposed as a boutique hotel. The rustic charm of woodcraft, vintage arches, ornate gateways, mosaic-titled marble floors and a sun-filled open courtyard bordered by large rooms with exposed stonework have been meticulously restored.
The highlight of the property is its restaurant, Lakhori, with characterful interiors and food that invokes nostalgia. It borrows its name from a type of delicate brick, typically used during the Mughal era, called Lakhori. The lavish 7-course tasting menu (one for carnivores, one for vegetarians) lives up to the surroundings. Chef Pradeep Kumar brainstormed for weeks to prepare a menu with almost 50 dishes that reflect the culture of Old Delhi. The tasting menu, which changes every week, comprises of at least 17 of these that are a mix of street food recreations and dishes made with traditional Mughlai influence.

(Also Read: 13 Best Street Food Places in Old Delhi)
naan roti onions tomatoes
You start with a refreshing Kanji that is nutritious and absolutely delicious. Don’t confuse this drink with the one made of fermented black carrots, Kanji Wada is full of spices such as turmeric, yellow mustard and black salt and is often served with soft green-gram wadas. While you wait, you can nibble on the Khadak Roomali Masala, roomali roti baked gloriously crisp on the ulta-tawa and topped with chopped tomatoes and onions - quite similar to Masala Papad but something new.
palak patta chaat street food

The next course introduces you to the famous chaats from the streets of Chandini Chowk along with Mughlai appetizers. For instance, their signature Palak Patta Chaat which is a heap of fried spinach leaves, yogurt, spoonfuls of meethi chutney and pudina chutney and finally, a subtle sprinkle of black salt. Yet another delight, Dahi ki Arancini is crisp with a creamy center and blends desi flavours with Sicilian style. One of the most interesting bites on the menu was the Egg White Galouti Kebab which I’ve never had before. With dusky traces of cardamom and star anise, the delicate kebab melts on your tongue and is a dish of pure perfection. 
kebab haveli dharampura
You progress to more of the same, including an outstanding warmly-spiced Mutton Korma and rich Bhune Tamatar Ka Murgh. The spice-scented Awadhi Subz Biryani was an excellent choice with the curries. While you rest between the courses, sip the Jahan Ara, an invigorating drink with khus syrup and green chillies or the Masala Shikanji with the famous spice blend from Delhi-6.
jahan ara mocktail spicy green chilli

If you are seeking experimental food, you will find modern interpretations of classic dishes like the Cucumber Canape (yoghurt filling encased in slender slices of cucumbers). The inspiration behind this dish is the Fruit Kulia, you’ll find on the streets outside, where a spicy and tangy chaat is served in cups (kulia) chiselled out of a fruit. The Achari Sabziyon ki Fettuccini with ribbon vegetables (instead of pasta) doused in a creamy sauce was brilliant in its simplicity. A seasonal mango kulfi with falooda is served in small cutting chai glass to end your meal on a sweet note. You can even order ala-carte but the tasting menu at Lakhori is a great way to sample the chef’s repertoire.
indian food mughlai food meal

The whole experience with mesmerizing classical music and kathak performances goes beyond a great dinner. Upstairs, a beautiful terrace offers an oasis from which to admire the spires of the Jama Masjid. If the weather permits, you can choose to dine here, under the glistening stars.
kathak dance girls haveli

Haveli Dharampura is an ideal escape for the urban worker bee when the city gets to you. If you can’t commit a weekend, then plan an impromptu outing to enjoy a Nawabi dinner. CommentsPhoto Credit for all Images: Haveli Dharampura

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