One of the most quirky eateries in the mall
Atmospherics: This is one of Gurugram’s oldest mall restaurants, having opened its doors well before the present stampede for eateries started. Khaaja is the name of the little fried papdis made of what is essentially flaky pastry and what the restaurant has on its appetizer menu. Today, the restaurant does just North Indian food, but with its own twist. There is a little spin on the textile industry in subtle design details of the décor, but most people notice things like the little wooden cart that holds the pani and the gol-guppas for the eponymous chaat. Truth be told, Khaaja Chowk is an explosion of the colour you associate with an Indian street. There are many aspects of Khaaja Chowk that you won’t find anywhere else, like the music and the way that some dishes are served.
Table talk: My love for chaat means that if I see it on a restaurant menu, I simply have to order it. Perhaps it was asking for too much for the Jadavpore puchka chaat (Rs 160) to have any similarity to the puchkas of West Bengal. They were served attractively enough, with gol gappa shells balanced on tiny glasses that were alternately filled with spiced curd and zeera water. Unfortunately, in Millennium City, any deviation from the local standard will not be tolerated, so the puchkas were an uncomfortable mix between Jadavpore and Haryana. Far better were the two dishes I tried from the one-of-a-kind flaming claypot section: nalli boti ki nihari (Rs 900) and koyle ke chole (Rs 525). Whatever you order from this section will be brought to the table in a metal tray, as the terracotta pot will be in flames. The neck of the pot will be sabered with a single flick of a sharp knife, and the contents poured out onto your plate. This style of cooking requires precision, but yields marvellous results. The nihari had far more flavour and aroma than had it been cooked in the traditional way and the choley was buttery and each spice stood out. On that particular day, the meat was tougher than I would have liked, but the choley was perfect. The claypot is the best section of the menu.
Plus and minus: they deliver to most parts of Gurugram
Must try: smoked dum aloo; lal maas; khaaja ki chaat
Food: 3.50; Service: 3.25; Décor: 3.50
3rd floor, DLF Metropolitan Mall, MG Road
Tel: 4019112/3; 9560076861
Open from 12 noon to 11 pm
Credit cards; alcohol served
Meal for two: Rs 1600