Food and nostalgia have a very strong relationship. Anything that can invoke feelings of familiarity or can remind us of simpler times perhaps becomes an instant favourite with people and that is especially true for food and drinks. The newly re-opened fine dining restaurant Kwality in Connaught Place, Delhi, is a good example of this powerful connection between nostalgia and food. The restaurant that once prided itself in its pre-Independence roots has now re-opened after a brief hiatus and its new and revamped avatar has been creating quite a buzz among city foodies. The old fashioned charm of the restaurant is what strikes a person as soon as one lays eyes on its frontal facade with dark green canopies and deep red curtains, visible through its dull gold window frames.
The renovated restaurant opened its doors to the public this month and is already quite popular for family lunches and dinners. As soon as you enter Kwality, located in Regal Building in central Delhi, you get a feeling of being transported through time to the bygone colonial era. The interiors have been done up to create a feeling of dining with royalty, with vintage wallpapers, antique chandeliers lining the ceiling, black and white frames covering the walls, and a 'maharajah-style' polo bar. A steady stream of old and new Bollywood tunes softly emanate from the piano lounge, setting a mellow mood for a relaxed yet lavish meal.
The taste and variety of food at Kwality is as impressive as the decor. They have a number of interesting starter options for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians and the Mains are a mix of old and new favourites. Additionally, they have a full scale breakfast menu and a traditional colonial high tea menu. For starters, we decided on the delightfully soft Chicken Gilafi (minced chicken kebabs with a special blend of spices and a coating of bell peppers) and the rich, yet surprisingly light Kashmiri Paneer (grilled cottage cheese pakoras, stuffed with dried fruits and khoya). We paused only for a bite of the crunchy Palak Patta Chaat, which is a street food style dish, made from deep fried spinach leaves and topped with tamarind, coriander chutney and crispy sev.
The Mains left us spoilt for choice and we were faced with a dilemma that perhaps all Kwality diners face - whether to stuff ourselves pre-emptively with their special chola bhaturas or to taste a number of different dishes. We opted for the latter, giving us room to explore more and decided to come back for the famous Kwality Chola Bhaturas, which seemed to selling faster than hot cakes. In vegetarian Mains, we opted for Palak Paneer and Sukhi Daal, while from the non-vegetarian Mains we went for the Chicken Bharta and Taar Gosht. While the Palak Paneer, Sukhi Daal and Chicken Bharta were all satisfactory in taste, the Taar Gosht was especially delicious, with perfectly juicy lamb fillet pieces in thick and warm gravy. We were told that the secret to the dish's warmth were the Rampuri masalas and the lamb had been slow-cooked to bring it to the right level of tenderness.
Chicken Bharta and Taar Gosht with Onion Kulcha at Kwality, Delhi
For people who love Anglo-Indian delicacies, Kwality also has a whole range of them, including Lamb Pot Roast, Mutton Cutlets, Chicken A La Kiev, etc. They also have a fairly lengthy cocktail menu with all the Classics and some signature drinks; while for teetotalers they have a handful of old favourites like shikanji, lassi, jaljeera, faluda, etc., among other drinks. For dessert lovers, Kwality's range is like a brief excursion to the 90s with options like Tutti Fruity, Creme Caramel (Caramel custard) and Cassata ice-cream. These are highly recommended for those who harbour a fondness for these cloyingly sweet and simple indulgences. Kwality Restaurant is the perfect place for a birthday family dinner or to celebrate a special occasion with your loved ones, with a wide range of food options that promise to satisfy everyone's palates.
Where: 7, Regal Building, Parliament Street, New Delhi - 110001
Time: Noon to Midnight
Meal for Two: INR 1400 (plus taxes)
About Sakshita KhoslaSakshita loves the finer things in life including food, books and coffee, and is motivated by self-indulgence and her love for words. When not writing, she can be found huddled in the corner of a cosy cafe with a good book, caffeine and her own thoughts for company.