Blurb: a piece of the Valley, in Gurugram
Cuisine: Kashmiri wazwan mostly
Atmospherics: This snappily named little ground floor eatery looks like a piece of Kashmir with its exposed brick and wood interiors and lattice screens. All the items of décor: part of a hookah, a rice winnower, copper service- and table-ware, are items of daily use in a Kashmiri household. Plus, the menu has been divided into two very convenient portion sizes: hungry and very hungry, that serves one or two persons. Service is friendly and helpful, and in a short time, Khyen Chyen has managed to capture the attention of residents of Gurugram. There are a few problems inherent in opening a regional food restaurant elsewhere in the country: you have to cater to all tastes and feed in to erroneous impressions about the cuisine. In the case of Kashmir, there is the expectation that biryani will be on the menu, and if there isn’t, it leads to disappointment; if there is, it leads to horror on the part of those who know the cuisine well enough to know that there is no such thing.
Table talk: Waza kokur (Rs 299/599) is actually a home-style dish that is lip-smacking with the addition of tart tomatoes to the gravy and the chicken is succulent. Re-naming it would make it perfect, because the real waza kokur is a dry preparation. Lahabdar kebab (Rs 349/649) is minced lamb formed into shallow ‘cups’ and napped in a mild gravy, tangy with yogurt. This particular version was liberally speckled with chopped coriander leaves – unheard of in Kashmir. The best dish of our meal was, without a doubt, marchwangun korma (Rs 349/649). The rich red gravy was made from Kashmiri chillies whose colour is deep and whose heat is mild. The flavours of the spices had permeated the mutton perfectly. Rista (Rs 349/649) was unfortunately a disaster: though the meatballs had been hand pounded (some cooks are tempted by food processors, in which case they cannot be called ristas) the gravy had been made with extra spicy chillies with no colour but plenty of heat. The effect was unfortunate.
Plus and minus: the meat of gushtaba was not well pounded and the yogurt was not sour: very strange. Also, several items on the menu were not available.
Must try: shami kebab; tomato paneer; razmah
Food: 3.50; Service: 3.50; Décor: 3.50
G 11, DLF Cross Point Mall, DLF Phase 4
Tel: 7862000707, 4231919
Open from 11.30 am to 11.30 pm
Credit cards accepted; no alcohol served
Meal for two: Rs 1800