The winner of the CP dowagers’ marathon
Atmospherics: In the beginning, there were a dozen or so gracious restaurants dotting Connaught Place, the only venue that was deemed fit to host restaurants that catered to western and Indian tastes, with a bit of Chinese thrown in. Some have downed their shutters and morphed into jeans showrooms, while others have limped along, largely ignored by everyone except a few die-hard customers who are of the same vintage as the waiters. It is only Embassy that has the personal involvement of the owners, and though the interiors have undergone a metamorphosis after a fire that destroyed the interiors a couple of years ago, the food is exactly what it was in the early ‘60s: that is some achievement. The wooden frame that dominates the restaurant, incidentally, is a microcosm of the architecture of Connaught Place. The hours between lunch and dinner are usually packed with old-timers who visit for tea and snacks. Each have their favourite table (so if you are not a regular visitor, you will not be allowed to sit on certain tables). For a glimpse of Delhi of yore, and for delicious cheese toasts and pakoras, tea-time is when to visit.
Food: There are preparations that you will only hear of in Embassy, and dal meat (Rs 634.75) is the foremost. How exactly they cook the yellow moong dal so that every grain is separate, yet the spices (black pepper and methi among others) penetrate the dal, making it at least as tasty as the chunks of mutton on the bone. The second signature is their channa (Rs 349.75) usually served with bhatura (Rs 89.75) that you can, however, order separately. The channa, cooked Pindi style rather than the Amritsari way, is fragrant, ever so slightly sour and is fairly dry. Each bhatura is so thick that you will have difficulty putting away more than half of one. The Embassy tandoori chicken is supposed to be legendary, but I had little appetite left after their seafood chowder (Rs 239.75) which is excellent value for money because of the pieces of shrimp and fish that layer the bottom of the soup bowl.
Plus and minus: Many preparations date back to the days when Embassy first opened its doors. Service and cleanliness of glasses can be horrendous, so do be warned.
Must try: chicken chaat, cheese pakodas, murgh musallam
Food: 3.75; Service: 2.00; Décor: 3.25
11D Connaught Place, Inner Circle
Ph: 23416434, 41517556