And a foodie, especially like me cannot even think or imagine life without Mughlai Cuisine….. Can have pizzas, burgers, pastas, red curries, noodles and much much more but when it comes to a wholesome , soul satiating meal I go for mughlai food…… But the best Muslim food in real sense is available at Jama Masjid area in old Delhi and the royal cuisine so revered by generations of Delhiites and international epicures is served in a shabby setting that belies the delicacies on offer.
But it’s not possible to go there every time you have a craving for such food….. It’s so crowded and chaotic in that area that even thinking of going there makes people lose interest (i am one amongst them)…….
No worries, luck has favored us all as one of the best joints of Jama Masjid (other than Karim’s – which is synonymous with Jama Masjid food – just for the name of it)…………Purani Dilli’s Al Karam’s, opened up its first outlet in Supermart 1, DLF 4, Gurgaon and then at Satya Niketan Mkt…..South Campus, Opp. Venky’s College, Delhi and now planning to open up at Sohna Road , Gurgaon…….
Our Bloggers group , The Writers Collective – India and others (writers, media) gathered together to connect and network, helping to inspire and nurture community, creativity, innovation & professionalism. We as Food bloggers received valuable advice from our star profile Avininder Singh Jee aka Foodie Surdie….. It was a golden opportunity to interact with other like minded foodies………
We as a group were meeting again and were excited to be in good company and to savour the good food at Al Karam’s. Our dear friend Varun Veigas the owner of Al Karam’s outlets other than the Jama Masjid outlet….invited us all to have lunch and relish the awesomeness.
This outlet at DLF Ph 4, Supermart 1, Gurgaon has recently been renovated and expanded to a seating of 40 pax. To cater to the increasing popularity of the place. But once you are about to enter the restaurant, it’s pure indulgence of your taste buds. The aroma of freshly roasted seekh kebab from the hot burning sigri (BBQ) greets you even before you have taken a seat inside……simple chairs and tables with comfortable temperature inside the premises is welcoming……..
|Kebabs on BBQ (sigri)|
And as expected , we all were welcomed with the most delicious and perfectly done seekh kebabs (Rs.130/230) Aah. !!!.the kebabs were like heaven on plate….All of us loved them except our dear friend Rosme who happened to be the only vegetarian at our table…. We must pat her back , coz she knew the place is a heaven for meat eaters , still she joined in. Nonetheless, she was served with nice paneer tikkas and soya chaaps, which I tasted and was very good too.
Was served with something which is usually not a part of our culinary fare in Delhi…… Roast Duck (Batakh) (Rs. 800/1500) and Roast Quail (Bateir) (Rs.450/800) (24 hours advance notice for preparation).. The roast duck is a bit different than a chicken, big and robust ……the flavor of meat is a little strong as compared to chicken and so is the taste …… We were told about its marination , with spicy masalas and orange juice….Yes orange juice which goes very well with duck meat bringing out the flavors…. The quail however is a small bird…..which has very low skin fat and cholesterol……. Is a healthy option for conscious people (not like us at all)……..taste was good….less meaty due to size…. It’s small and looks like a small chick… Duck I can say is an acquired taste but quail is easy on the palate…..
Now came the Hakeemi Chicken Tikka (Rs.200/300), not from a hakeem ( a muslim physician) but the gharana or the family of Hakeem Chefs …… it was a lovely variant of the Malai Chicken Tikka …… covered with a thick paste of cream, curd , butter and dry fenugreek leaves or as we know it kasoori methi ………….we loved this dish…..one can have full meal with this dish only….roomali roti and this dish….will do it all…. The taste and the awesome flavors of the thick gravy like potion on this dish was heavenly………
|Hakeemi Chicken Tikka|
|The Writers Collective-India @Al Karams Kebab House|
It was announced that now the main course dishes are going to follow……The feeling of fullness had already started to sink in….. But we, the ardent eaters and that too meat ……bas aane do…aane do…..dekha jayega……..hahahaaaaa…..
The Mutton Haleem (Rs.200/300/500), Mutton Korma (Rs. 200/300/500) and the Hari Mirch White Korma (chicken) were served in big wholesome bowls…….The quantity and the portion size here is real good. Even, half the portion is enough for 2-3 people as the dishes are heavy in preparations.
White Korma was very well prepared in thick yoghurt and cream gravy with green chillies as this is a special recipe and is made on special occasions in chef’s family.
The Haleem (mutton), my personal favorite was very good and well made. It is made of wheat, barley, meat (usually beef or mutton, but sometimes chicken or minced meat) lentils, spices and ghee. This dish is slow cooked for seven to eight hours, which results in a paste-like consistency, blending the flavors of spices, meat, barley and wheat.
|White Korma (chicken)|
Finally, the desserts like Mutanjan (Zarda – Mildly sweet flavored rice with lots of candied and dry fruits)….. The flavor of cloves and cinnamon was present in the dish but as per our group members it could have been more sweet, I agree. The Phirni (ground rice in milk) served in clay plates authentic purani dilli style. The Phirni was really flavorful , chilled and good. But yes the desserts are being worked upon by them so as to give us the best of old delhi in a sweet plate.
Overall I would say…. A must visit again and again….as so many dishes that too rich ones cannot be savored in 1 or 2 rounds……..
The passion of a young chap, Varun Veigas and the expertise of Umez Bhai (owner of original AL Karam , Jama Masjid)…..has worked very well and got us one of the best Muslim food, outside purani dilli in the comfort of South Delhi and Gurgaon……
|Chef Noor (left) Varun Veigas (centre back)|
However, while you are busy deciding upon your date with Al Karam’s what I personally feel is that going to Al Karam’s is really not as much about the delicious food, as it is about tasting a little part of India’s culinary history and experiencing the true essence of our country.
I wish them lots of luck and strength to remain as passionate as they are now…….to gain success in this culinary journey………….. Cheers !!!
*****Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 ( 1 being the least and 5 the Best)
Ambience — 3.5 / 5.0
Pricing — 4.5 / 5.0
Taste — 4.5 / 5.0
Service— 4.0 / 5.0
Overall V.F.M. –4.5 / 5.0
Meal for Two — Rs. 700/- to 800/-