Radisson Blu sits in an island, together with a shopping mall, in much the same way that Leela Gurgaon does next to Ambience Mall on the other side of the NCR. Besides a bar and an all-day diner, there is an Indian restaurant that packs quite a punch. Now that it has been established that traditional Indian food has gone the way of the dinosaur, restaurants are finding ways to repackage an old favourite. Indyaki has chosen a clever way indeed: it has two teppanyaki counters, an open kitchen and a chef de cuisine with an enviable track record.
You can choose to sit at the teppan counters, on high chairs and watch as the chefs indulge in a bout of jugglery with their spatulas. You can have your entire meal from the teppan counter – soup, starters, salad, mains, rice and dessert – for Rs 1050/1200 vegetarian/non-vegetarian. And if you sit at a table with comfortable chairs, you can still watch the chefs juggling and order from the teppanyaki counter. Do keep in mind that you will have to book a table in advance. Though the rest of the hotel has yet to pick up, Indyaki is full most nights. And do bring a torch along: the dim lights together with the tiny print on the menu are a challenge.
Roti pe boti (Rs 400) is a great starter: a few small cubes of lamb in a clinging sauce atop two mini parathas. Made by a sophisticated hand, the cardamom and kewra that the menu promised were in the background; not, as I feared, a screaming top-note. Chicken apricot kebab (Rs 350) was pleasant enough: the minced chicken actually had succulence and a pleasant, assertive amount of pungence. Sadly, the apricot was notable by its absence. I was expecting a combination of tastes a la Iran, where sour, fruity apricots and chicken combine to great effect.
I didn’t know whether I loved or hated my third starter: Karavalli prawns (Rs 650). On the plus side, they were cooked to rare perfection. Even fancy South Delhi chefs would have tended to overcook them by a few seconds. Here, they were as crunchy as if Indyaki was a Japanese restaurant. On the minus side, there was far too much oil and the spices were ladled on with a rather Punjabi touch.
For my main course, keema kaleji gurda (Rs 700) turned out to be a dhaba-like dish, which was exactly what I was hoping it would be. In fact, the kitchen could crank up the rusticity of this great dhaba standby a couple of notches: in Amritsar, a sprinkling of kala tawa masala would have gussied it up no end. The one vegetarian dish I ordered, kofta khaas Indyaki (Rs 600) turned out to be a local crowd-pleaser. It is no secret that Paschim Vihar is located in the heart of a largely vegetarian community, so there was everything in the koftas for a vegetarian: dry fruit chopped coarsely, cream for richness and a slightly citrus tang.
The finest dish of the evening (Indyaki only opens for dinner) turned out to be Usmani Korma (Rs 700). It was obvious that someone in the kitchen was on home turf!
All five desserts have been specially created in the restaurant’s kitchen. Chukander aur mewe ka halwa, Bournvita kulfi and thandai brulee (Rs 350 each) are all praiseworthy.
Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Paschim Vihar
Ph: 46399999; Direct: 72
Outer Ring Road, Paschim Vihar
Open from 7.30 pm to 11.30 pm
Alcohol served; credit cards accepted
Meal for two: Rs 2,500