“Dhaba by Claridges”, Saket has started a street food menu targeting the 3.30 pm to 7 pm slot to satiate the cravings for street food – with unlimited “cutting chai” or chai in whole glasses whichever way you prefer it. Cutting Chai, I’m told is when people, before drinking their tea, pour a part of the tea into another glass to cool it while sipping from one glass.
People generally read Claridges and in their mind think ”Oh! 5 Star – must be expensive !”. But here’s the deal – this is street food offered at very affordable prices…and served hygienically.
The ambience of the restaurant exudes a cosy and yet buzzing feel – Bollywood peppy numbers playing in the background, graffiti on the walls which one is used to reading behind trucks, a cot in the centre to chill out on, a huge truck towards the back portion assembled there as a rustic seating area – and so on and so forth.
Started with awesome, perfectly prepared cocktails with an Indian twist served from a drinks cart. The cocktails are referred to as “Tharra” as we say in Hindi and are served from quarter bottles (but if you wish, you can have it straight from the bottle too !). Somras (vodka with aam panna and Tabasco sauce), Toofan (vodka with guava juice and Tabasco), Paan Mojito (vodka with Pandit ji ka meetha paan and crushed lemon wedges) were some of the cocktails which are perfect for the Indian palate and I loved them. What can be totally avoided though was the bitter Gullabo (vodka and kala khatta) as this is one marriage which was not made in heaven.
Coming to the food, this was a special small portion size as compared to that they would normally serve in the restaurant. There were enough choices for both veg and non-veg – actually, for every veg snack, there was a non-veg snack – Keema Pao, Pao Bhaji (both of which were well made and served with a crisp fried bread stick), Veg and Mutton galauti kebabs (the veg kebab was a tad bit dry and under spiced but mutton galauti more than made up for it), Vadapao : Botipao(Vadapao and boti pao both lacked the chatpatta factor) Chatpatta paneer on toothpicks, Masaledar Chicken on toothpicks (both the paneer and the chicken were soft with a fresh tomato based sauce poured on top of it)etc. The bun omelette took me back to my college days when we went looking for food in the wee hours of the morning after dancing. We would land up in Dhaula Kuan’s Dhaba which was open all night and gorge on bun omelettes and chai. The best dish was definitely the keema pao -juicy as it should be and it was fun to dunk the crispy bread stick into the dish of keema trying to scrape off the keema from the sides of the dish,towards the end.
The cherry on the cake was when at a popular Bollywood number all the waiters came and lined up right in the centre, and suddenly broke out in choreographed steps to it, amidst clapping by all the guests. I believe this is a regular feature when the place is packed. Not only did they dance with smiling faces, but served with utmost care too.
It was a short and sweet affair, someplace where it was cool to hang out in. Nice lively buzz to it, along with comfort food , we’ve all eaten in one street corner or the other.
RATINGS ( OUT OF 5 )
FOOD: 3.5 | AMBIENCE: 4.0 | SERVICE: 4.0 | OVERALL: 4.0
MEAL FOR TWO :1500 | CREDIT CARD: Yes | TIMINGS : 3.30pm to 7pm | WHEEL CHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes
ADDRESS : DHABA By Claridges, second floor, DLF Place ,Saket, New Delhi | TELEPHONE : 011 4175 0555