Let's admit it, Delhi and its penchant for butter chicken is almost as renowned as butter chicken itself. The famed chicken dish is said to have been invented by three Punjabi cooks who came to Delhi post India-Pakistan partition. Not only they reinstated their dhaba, but also came up with some recipes that changed the face of Delhi's cuisine forever. They resurrected Peshawar's tandoori cuisine in old Delhi's Daryaganj. The eatery drew customers from home and abroad. Countless film actors and politicians would stop by at this restaurant at Daryaganj to have butter chicken, dal makhani, tandoori chicken, chicken pakodas. Over the years, as we all know, these dishes became a sensation. Many restaurants incorporated them in their menu and tried giving them their own spin. Daryaganj, Aerocity, is bringing back the original recipes, and Delhi foodies are loving the bite of nostalgia.
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Daryaganj (restaurant) is one of the latest entrants in the plush environs of Aerocity. The restaurant is a brainchild of Raghav Jaggi and Amit Bagga. Raghav Jaggi is the grandson of Kundan Lal Jaggi, the pioneer of tandoori style of cooking in India and one of the three cooks who invented butter chicken. Located in Worldmark 1 or Aerocity, Daryaganj impresses with its minimalist decor. The walls are studded with vintage paper cut-outs and photographs of the original eatery and celeb patrons. The warm and welcoming colour scheme and mood lighting helps exalt the overall dining experience.
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We ordered a handful of 'original' recipes and some off-beat dishes too. Our first round included smoky and zesty tandoori chicken, creamy mushroom kurkuri, batter-fried chicken pakodas and robust mutton burrah kebab. The meaty appetisers won us over with their wholesome flavour and texture. Succulent and juicy, the burrah kebab is one indulgent affair. The mushroom kurkuri is a hearty vegetarian appetiser you must-try too. We also sampled their fish tikka, a soul-stirring preparation of sole fillet marinated with mustard, carom seeds and lemon.
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Moving on to the Mains, their original butter chicken and dal makhani was on our wish-list and how memorable were they both! In the butter chicken gravy, you could sense blanched chunks of tomatoes in each bite. They do not use tomato paste or any substitute, but fresh whole tomatoes and cream to prepare the chicken gravy. The dal makhani, we were told, is slow-cooked for hours for its signature velvety texture. Next, we tried the mutton nargisi kofta (chopped eggs stuffed in mutton meat balls, served in rich onion gravy). We wish the koftas were a little softer or easier to cut into.
Our desserts comprised a bowlful of sumptuous phirni and kesar pista kulfi. The north Indian restaurant is ideal for a day-out with family and indulging in all things greasy and good. The restaurant has an outlet in Connaught Place, Delhi too.
Where: Shop R1, Lower Ground Floor, The Walk, Worldmark 1, Aerocity, New Delhi
Cost For Two: INR 1200