In a nutshell:
Surely serves better curries than the legendary Karims, almost as good Kababs as Karims & some ordinary food that might not leave a mark. Situated in a small two storeyed setup where nothing seems to have changed in decades.
Address & other details: Enter the road perpendicular to Jama Masjid Gate no. 1, first shop is Al Jawahar, next is the lane that leads to Karims & the third one is Old Jawahar.
Meal for 2: Rs. 250 onwards
Cuisine type: vegetarian & predominantly nonvegetarian
Short Description – in case u r in a hurry:
Have been to this place several times by now & have tried a whole lot of things. What I have concluded is that the kababs r slightly better at Karims but the curries at Old Jawahar r surely better than that at Karim’s.
Old Jawahar is the typical old Mughlai food shop where nothing has changed in decades. Crammed up seating, wooden furniture, old signboards & worn walls characterize this place. The members of staff seem to have been working here for long & they know well about the food that they serve but they might not necessarily b extra polite as in modern day restaurants. Good behaviour from us customers fetch good results – I have myself always managed to get good service.
At the right hand side of the entrance of the restaurant is a high slab on which different curries r kept & r constantly been heated on slow fire. The guy sitting there occasionally keeps stirring the contents. On the left side is a tandoor that is constantly belching out rotis. Right at the entrance is a wash basin for everyone who visits the restaurant – So, even if one is sitting upstairs or in one corner of the ground floor, he/she has to come to the entrance to wash hand!!!!
There is constant hustle bustle here – People just keep coming in & going out. Unlike in Karims where at lunch time almost half the tables r full with non Indian Tourists, not too many non Indians can b seen here at Old Jawahar.
Detailed description – In case u have the time to njoy reading:
Mutton sheekh kababs, Mutton Burrah & chicken sheekh r good items to order as snacks. I find the ones at Karim’s partially better. I rate these collectively at 3.5/5
We tried Keema Kaleji – Minced meat with Goat liver. This was rustic, robust & had very strong flavours & taste. If u ignore the gallons of oil floating in the plate, u will really njoy this dish. I rate this 4.25/5
Post this we had Mutton stew. As a kid I used to hate stew which supposedly was ‘almost boiled meat’ with some veggies. The Mughal Restaurant version of Stew is completely different. U can see a half cm layer of ghee atop the gravy. The way I see this is – I will eat all of it if it is tasty & then I might just increase my workout for the next week.:)
The taste of the stew is awesome & I find it one of the best curries in Old Jawahar. Thick light colored gravy not overspiced not hot but having a strong taste that is different from most usual mutton curries. The mutton pieces were cooked with the gavy & hence had the flavours of spices in them. They were also very soft & tasty. I rate this 4.5/5
Last side dish for the day was mutton korma. This was however a bit of a disappointment – It had a red hot spicy gravy that did not have a twist with respect to either flavour or taste. It was good on its own but cud stand nowhere in comparison to the Stew. The meat was soft & tasty. I wud rate this 3.5/5.
For dessert we had phirni that was set in a burnt clay bowl. I guess to keep the cost low, they added more water to milk. Result – Inspite of the phirni having a solid texture, the richness & creaminess of the milk was missing. I wud rate this 2.5/5.
Overall the rating for food at Old Jawahar adds up to 3.75/5.
Look forward to ur comments on this place.