Dzukou – The tribal Cafe (13A, Rooftop, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi)


In a nutshell:

Surely not for the faint hearted, this is a still undiluted, almost authentic & YUMM Naga food Restaurant with a magnificent view of Hauz Khas.

Dzukou
Dzukou

Address & other details: Too complicated to explain. Just call them, book a table & ask for directions. They respond well. Phone numbers that we called : +91 8447703774, +91 9873306174

A huge painting depicting Tribal people of Nagaland
A huge painting depicting Tribal people of Nagaland

Meal for 2: Rs. 500 onwards

Cuisine type: vegetarian & predominantly nonvegetarian

Short Description – in case u r in a hurry:

The restaurant had something unique to it – It did not have professional service, had no tap water in the otherwise clean loo & we had to climb the stairs for I guess 4 floors (coz like all buildings in the vicinity, it did not have a lift). What the restaurant had instead was a very warm & efficient service – they were not very fluent at English but good enough to have a decent communication. The guy serving us had a smile on his face almost all the while & treated us as if we were a guest to his house. Most importantly, the Naga food was as ‘non Delhi-ized’ as possible. Super liked it & wud surely get back. Someone had the guts to serve super hot Naga food in Delhi – I guess almost same standard as that in Nagaland.

View from the balcony seat
View from the balcony seat

The entrance to the building is thru a narrow ‘gully’ that had a carved wooden door. Before we reached the staircase, we saw a Latin Restaurant, a Japanese snack counter, a Frankie shop & more unimaginable variety of shops coexisting with each other. No one attempted to beautify the staircase. There were no signboards or arrows of the restaurant either, on the way up.

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A huge painting of Naga women standing in traditional attire marked the entrance of the restaurant. As we walked in, we realized there were two sections – a closed Dining Hall with seating area & two additional seats in the balcony.

Painting of Naga women on the staircase landing area
Painting of Naga women on the staircase landing area

On the floor above there was a marvellous open air seating (with a roof). Both the floors had abundant view of the Lake (For the uninitiated, Hauz Khas means Royal Lake. The word ‘Hauz’ means lake & ‘Khas’ means Royal. This lake came into existence at the time of Allauddin Khilji in early 1300s. Beside the lake, there r many 700 year old Historical monuments in this campus, including Feroz Shah Tughlaq’s tomb)

A view from the open top floor
A view from the open top floor

The Dining Hall has traditional paintings & also Handicrafts made of wood & bamboo. The furniture is basic wooden.

The dining hall
The dining hall

The menu card is small & focussed. They also have a ‘today’s menu’ section that is usually handwritten on a white board. A note at the bottom says ‘wi-fi available’.

'Today's menu' written by pen on a white board
‘Today’s menu’ written by pen on a white board

Food is served in dishes made from tree parts. We were told those cud b used twice. The cutlery – spoon & fork were wooden!!!!

unique cutlery at Dzukou
unique cutlery at Dzukou

Food is made from scratch – so they take time to serve the food after u place an order. We just loved the food inspite of ‘being on fire’ after gulping the hot food. Must warn u though that if u r not used to hot food, this is probably not the right place for u. However, if u r an adventurous foodie & want to sample a cuisine that is different from most others that r commonly available in Delhi, just visit this place.

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They also have a small Thai food section.

Detailed description – In case u have the time to njoy reading:

Though the guy waiting on us highly recommended chicken basket, we did not go for it. I was told that it is one of the most popular dishes here. Pork / chicken Raja Mircha is also popular I heard.

We skipped the starters & straight went for the main course.

First came Smoked pork with Bamboo shoot. The pork was ‘melt in the mouth’ soft. It was a curry with bamboo shoots – thin gravy, mildly sour, salty, tangy, hot, immensely flavourful & utterly tasty. I wud give this a 4/5.

Smoked pork with bamboo shoot
Smoked pork with bamboo shoot

Then came pork Anishi – Pork with smoked Yam leaves paste. This was pork in a dense dark brown gravy – a gravy with a punch. As compared the the Anishi in Nagaland Stall, Dilli Haat, this one was less oily & hence the chillies were hitting hard. Pork pieces were excellent as well. I wud give this a 4.5/5.

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We also ordered Dry fish chutney – By the way, it was neither sweet nor sour , unlike all other chutneys. The dry fish was very less in this. Chillies were abundant & the flavour of dry fish was not evenly spread. I wud say it was ‘not bad’ but short of ‘good’. I wud give this a 2.5/5).

dry fish chutney
dry fish chutney

Last dish that we had was buff chutney. Once again, not sweet , not sour but salty & hot. Liked this one a lot due to right proportions of buff, chatpata taste & chillies upto an enjoyable level. I wud give this a 3.5/5

Buff chutney
Buff chutney

Overall the score adds up to 3.6/5. Just the curries ranking is 4.25/5.

We enjoyed all this with a nice sticky rice that was served in a traditional bowl with a traditional spoon.

Look forward to revisiting this place for the curries.

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