Tucked at the back, on an unpretentious corner of Cross Point Mall in DLF Phase 4, Gurgaon is a little nook of a restaurant that serves Kashmiri food. With a sexagenarian chef specializing in tandoori dishes and a youthful owner who is the driving force behind this venture, KhyenChyen meaning “food and drinks” in Kashmiri belies its modest ambience with food that reflects not merely the flavours and aroma of the region but its culture as well.
Any meal at KhyenChyen starts with the ritual washing of hands with water poured out of a jug and collected in a basin at the table. This is necessary as Kashmiri food is best enjoyed eaten with hands. Tabak Maaz and Kanti set the tone for the rest of the meal. The former, shallow fried mutton ribs, soft on the inside due to extended marinating, cooked until soft and then fried just before serving to give its dual texture was superb. MuttonKanti another marinated mutton dish was redolent with suave Kashmiri spices and onion, capsicum, tomatoes. It is best had with Kashmiri naan, which was another revelation. Used to the usually heavy, chewy naan, I was pleasantly surprised at the airy and light texture of it.
The velvety textured Goshtaba was rich in aroma and understated in flavours. The mutton mince, hand-pounded along with the spices lent a smooth and even texture to the meatballs soaking in a curd based curry. This dish is usually eaten at the end of meal as yogurt has digestive properties. On the other hand, the mutton balls in the fiery looking, saffron flavoured Rista was suffused with warm notes and spicy flavours. Both went well with steamed Kashmiri Dum rice served in a bowl. Chicken Seekh Tuj was the Kashmiri version of the tikka of the heartland and was hearty in taste. The popular Mutton Rogan Josh, unlike the versions that abound in local restaurants was light and aromatic sweet. The lone vegetable dish Haakh had the super food kale cooked in its own juices and special herbs and spices and served as an able exponent of vegetables in a predominantly meat (mutton) based cuisine. Chicken versions of most dishes did feature on the menu but the bird does not rule the roost at KhyenChyen. Vegetarians too may not despair as a decent list of vegetarian versions is also on offer.
On both visits, enticing saffron Kehwa accompanied the meal. I have more than a few words on the Firnee that ended it. Made of semolina and infused with rose water, it was a perfect dessert for a perfect meal. On my second visit, the same dessert had a slight dry crust on it. I guess having been left in the fridge for a considerable period of time does this. If the dish could be left wrapped in cling wrap, perhaps this could be avoided.
Staff was courteous, sincere and keen on feedback. On the first visit, owner was around. On the second one, no. That made no difference to the quality of service.
Tip: Throw away the cutlery and eat with your hands if you visit KhyenChyen. I did it on the second visit. Food tasted even better.
- I ordered in food last night from Khyen Chyen after having redacted the above review. The side dishes were delivered within the time frame promised but without the naans (Indian bread). The person who took my call did not sound surprised when I apprised him of the miss. My question is that if the restaurant knew that they had missed delivering something, they could have called to inform, apologise and have the missing dish sent across asap. Instead, they waited for me to call to acknowledge the slip. The missing naans reached me after another 45 minutes wait by which time we had finished our dinner with whatever was at home. A less than satisfactory experience as far as home delivery is concerned.
Ratings (Out of 5) [for dine-in only]
Category: Regional cuisine, dine-in and home delivery / Kashmiri
Food: 4.0 | Service: 4.0 | Ambience: 3.0 | Overall: 4.0
Address: Khyen Chyen, No.19, Ground floor, Cross Point Mall, DLF Phase 4, Gurgaon | Tel: +91 124 4231919/8527739955
Timings: Restaurant: 11.30am-11.30 pm | Meal for two: ~1600/++ | Alcohol: No | Disabled Friendly: No
(Disclosure: This review was done after repeated anonymous visits to the restaurant with food paid for by reviewer in full)