Garam Masala is a part of what can be called the ahata (government approved drinking joint) stretch on the Gold Souk Road, dotted as it is with two wine shops and many restaurants that allow patrons to buy and bring in their favourite tipple. I am here at lunch time to check out how the food tastes without the influence of alcohol.
If there is one word to describe the décor here, functional it is. There is indoor and outdoor seating, and enough space. During the daytime the place is understandably deserted, and this allows me to hob-nob with owner Amit Nayar. Amit is a foodie who started his restaurateur journey by opening the (once one of my favourites) franchise of Kent fast food in Gurgaon. With rents in Galleria making it unviable to continue, he had to close it down. He then started Garam Masala with the objective of serving unpretentious Indian and Indo-Chinese staples.
Amit recommends mast chicken tikka (Rs 225) to start with; he tells me the interesting story around the birth of this dish. Once, after a birthday party at his restaurant, Amit realised he had overstocked on mayonnaise. In the spirit of experimentation he put some of the leftover mayo on his chicken tikka and spiced it up with chopped onions, chillies and masalas. He liked what he ate and decided to introduce it in his menu. It seems the item was a surprise hit. Intrigued by the name and the history, I give it a try. It doesn’t look like much but it does have an enigmatically indulgent taste.
Next on the table is the chicken burra (Rs 170), which is tasty but burra only in name. Chunks of chicken are seasoned with bread crumbs, besan and egg, giving them a crunchy exterior. The dal makhni (Rs 140) is competent, and the accompanying Rampuri paratha (Rs 40) has a zing of red chillies that goes well with the mild and creamy taste of the dal.
It is time to cross the border and look at the Chinese side. My curiosity is aroused by the taichi chicken (Rs 225). Taichi is a Chinese martial art, and the word literally translated means ‘supreme, ultimate fist’. As a foodie, I have to try a chicken that promises to hit me with it. As it so happens, the dish is not so violent. It is, in fact, a cousin of the Indo-Chinese legend chilly chicken, with batter fried pieces of chicken tossed with onions, spring onions, garlic, red chillies and soya. The veg hakka noodles (Rs 120) is quietly efficient like accompaniments should be, not distracting from the main course.
Garam Masala is a pleasant place to spend the evenings in. The food may not be gourmet, but it certainly has the potential to liven up after-work parties and get-togethers.
Ratings out of 5
Food & Drinks: 2.5 | Ambiance: 3.0 | Service: 2.5 |Overall: 2.5
Meal for Two: 600 | Alcohol: No | Credit Card: Yes| Cuisine: Indian and Chinese | Timings: 12 Noon-3PM, 7PM-11PM
Address: 3, Dhani Market, Aardee City Sector Road, Sector-56, Gurgaon| Phone: 93101-80400/ 93101-90400