Cuisine: street food from all over India
The eye-catching ‘train’ has fired everyone’s imagination
Atmospherics: with ample parking, it is just off the main Rajendra Bhavan sprawl. Imly and its likeness to a train has, in the few weeks that it has been opened, been besieged with customers of all ages and it is easy to see why. Just the novelty of boarding a train to have a meal is unique enough, but one composed entirely of chaat and other street-side snacks is everyone’s guilty pleasure. Add to that the sweep of the menu: from Tamil Nadu to Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Varanasi, Lucknow, Amritsar and Delhi, and you have a winner. The icing on the cake is the laughably low cost of a meal for two: you could stuff yourself and get back change from Rs 700! The food is all vegetarian, no trouble is too much to source ingredients and cooks from the appropriate town and the bright interiors and jazzy service-ware are designed to appeal to people of all ages.
Table talk: Not everything is uniformly good, but the pick of the lot tends to be the chole bhature (Rs 90) fried in desi ghee and the chole is studded with diced, fried paneer, just like it was in the old days. The other unmissable treat includes the Rajasthani kanji vada (Rs 65) that is mildly fermented and served cool in an earthenware glass. It appears to have been made by a street-stall owner from the interiors of Rajasthan and to get something like that, you would have to spend a day driving all over Rajasthan, so the price is a steal. Matra Tikki (Rs 95) is a fairly good rendition of the Hazratganj version from Lucknow, made with dried peas (mattra) pressed into a tikka and griddle fried. There is a rich vein of brilliance in the Madras ki Bhatti section, particularly the ragi dosa (Rs 100) with its lip-smacking sambhar and chutneys and the paniyaram (Rs 125).
Plus and minus: Success, alas, has its own pitfalls, especially in an irresistible eatery as this. Arrive at mealtimes, and you can have an hour long wait. Then, the Amritsari kulchas are merely stuffed parathas and the cholas, though sour, have none of the trademark anardana tanginess. Also, serious reworking of the Bombay sev puri and bhel puri is needed.
Must try: Bundi Pag Rabri, Gatta with Bikaneri Paratha, Tamatar ki Chaat
Food: 3.50, Service: 3.50, Décor: 3.50
Shop F 20, Hog Market, Rajendra Place, opp BLK Hospital Exit Gate
Tel: 25713000, 990893893
Open from 12 noon to 11 pm
Vegetarian only; credit cards; no alcohol served
Meal for two: Rs 600