Dhaba By Claridges

The Dhaba, by Claridges serves authentic desi khana

Claridges is one of my favorite places in Delhi. Situated in Lutyen's Delhi, it has a wonderful old world charm. The Dhaba, one of their most popular offerings since my childhood, serves authentic desi khana (local cuisine). Once they opened their standalone restaurant in South Delhi by the same name, a recce was in order and there I was, one fine evening to decide for myself if it did justice to its legacy.

The Location

Located at level 3 in DLF Place Mall in Saket, it is just outside the theater. The restaurant is positioned out of the food court but not completely unnoticeable.

The Timings

11am to 11pm

The Ambiance

The ambiance is relaxed and yet kitschy, and attempts to recreate a dhaba (roadside eatery) by a highway adds a funny twist to the place. It's rustic charm is definitely endearing. It is interesting to get the experience of a quintessential highway eatery in the heart of south Delhi. I loved the nimbu mirchi lights, Matka chandeliers, Bollywood posters, and a truck you can actually dine in. The waiters are dressed in shirt kurtas, again reminding you of a Punjabi dhaba. The service is reasonable, decent, but nothing extraordinary.

The Food

Amritsari Fish (₹525) – one word that describes it is sad! It was four sad pieces of
fish lacking any flavor. It was limp and even looked unappetizing... Very disappointing.

Balti Meat (₹515) was well done with the meat almost falling off the bone. This mutton dish was delicious and the spices were perfect. I loved the presentation, too, as the mutton was served in a cute little metal balti (bucket). The portion was also generous.

Lasooni Palak (₹365) was the hero of the evening for me. I loved the freshness of the spinach, the to-die-for garlic flavor and I was pleased as Punch with the big portion in front of me. While ordering, there's an option of choosing potatoes or corn instead of paneer (cottage cheese), which I thought was a smart customer-friendly move. Definitely a must-order-again dish.

The Dhabe Di Roti (₹85) was better than the Tandoori Roti (₹75) and was served in a rustic grain sorter. The presentation was cute and this roti was a leavened bread of sourdough baked in a traditional oven.

The desserts were a big letdown. They had a signature Bailey's Kulfi on the menu that really got my gastronomic juices flowing as I love baileys, especially when it is combined with any sort of dessert. I was sorely disappointed when they said it was not available. It was absolutely unforgivable on a weekend night at 8.30 pm. I tried the Rabri (₹235), which is supposed to be a rich dessert made by heating sweetened milk, keeping aside the cream that forms on top, repeating this process till the milk is exhausted, and then chilling it. Here, the Rabri was grainy, and tasted as if made in a hurry by adding barfi to milk (an unpardonable shortcut indeed).

I was quite disappointed with the meal. Despite the ambiance, I would not go again for a meal unless a trustworthy source swears that things have improved. With this pricing and competitive and ever-evolving restaurant scene in Delhi, they definitely need to pull up their socks and do justice to Claridge's name.

The Pricing

The pricing is slightly on the higher side. A four-course meal for two is likely to cost you somewhere between ₹2000 and ₹2500.

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Published On: Monday, October 26th, 2015