The Kitchen, Defence Colony, is a new branch of the original in Khan Market, but never was there more of a difference between two outlets of one brand. The Khan Market place is dark and cramped and serves oriental food as well as Indian and western; the Defence Colony branch is as peppy as it can get, with no oriental at all, burgers in place of the sandwiches of Khan Market and a menu that serves Indian and western food.
On the ground floor of Chili Season, The Kitchen has a unique ceiling that is mirrored in its menu cum place-mats. Its version of Indian food includes dishes which have been exported to different parts of the world from India. Thus, there is Caribbean Roti (Rs 239) and Bunny Chao (Rs 269/299 for chicken/mutton). It was carried from our shores by workers from Bihar, who went to work on sugar plantations in the Caribbean, and is now a trendy fast food. The Kitchen has devised its own version. The covering is a pancake and the filling is extremely spicy, coarsely minced mutton. Caribbean Roti was too spicy for me and I found it too much of a departure from the original.
Much better are the Shammi Kebabs on toast (Rs 229). The shammis are fat and flavourful, the texture is almost creamy and I wonder why more restaurants don’t serve them.
Bunny Chao is just as good. It consists of a hollowed out half loaf of white bread that has been filled with minced lamb which has the undefinable chaap of street food. There’s only one way to eat Bunny Chao, and that is by being messy, but it is worth it.
The Kitchen in Khan Market has sold tens of thousands of portions of Khao Suey (Rs 179/319 for small/large). This is the signature of the restaurant, and I was amused to see that a “khao suey meter” exists in Defence Colony too. This is a small blackboard that keeps changing the score of how many portions are served. Khao Suey, let it be said, is an absolutely scrumptious soup/stew filled with noodles, boiled egg wedges and chicken and nobody does it better than The Kitchen. I would love to know if anybody can actually go through the large bowl – I find that the small bowl is enough for two meals!
Somebody in The Kitchen has a craving for spice, the way lager louts crave Vindaloo in London restaurants. I don’t find the aptly named Devil’s Curry (Rs 259/299) tasty, or even palatable. Who invented it and why is what I’d like to find out. It’s way too hot to discern any taste, and it is supposed to be a Singaporean preparation by the Eurasian community.
It’s difficult to get the simplest things right in Delhi, somehow. Try finding a burger with a good bun that does not have a sweetish tinge, with a patty that is not deep-fried and dry inside: it’s a real task but The Kitchen has perfected the formula. It has a plethora of burgers on offer, of which the Maui Waui (Rs 179) had a thick, juicy grilled patty of chicken mince, a couple of slices of (poorly fried) ham and pineapple chunks. There were no vegetables to make the burger soggy. Even the chips on the plate were of a superior quality.
If only they’d get over their fixation with chillies.
Food: 3.25, Service: 2.75, Ambience: 3
47 Defence Colony
Open from 11.30 am to 12 midnight
No alcohol served; credit cards accepted
Average cost of a meal for two: Rs 800