In a nutshell:
Recommended strictly for taking ur NRI / Expat friends to give them a hygienic but pseudo version of the quintessential roadside truck drivers joint – Dhaba. Surely not for foodies who have had the real thing & wud hate to compromise.
Address & other details: Dhaba
Meal for 2: Rs. 2000 onwards
Cuisine type : Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian
Disclaimer: All restaurants / eateries reviewed by YUMMRAJ were visited by YUMMRAJ himself & he has paid for the full Bill & tips also. http://www.yummraj.com does not have even one featured / sponsored reviews. YUMMRAJ believes in going to a restaurant in anonymity, as a normal guest, experience everything & give a honest account of the same to you.
I rate all the food items & then give a final overall rating which is a simple average of the individual item ratings. What the ratings stand for: 5 = Excellent, 4 = Very Good, 3 = Good, 2 = Fair, 1 = Disaster.
Short Description – in case u r in a hurry:
I might have been mighty impressed at this restaurant if I were to go here 15 years back when I had not started driving on highways & hence I was ignorant of the real dhaba experience. Now that I have been to several of these in different parts of the country, I can confidently say that food in the real Dhabas & in Restaurant Dhabas r miles away.
For my non Indian readers, Dhaba is the name given to roadside restaurants in India and Pakistan. They are situated on highways and generally serve North Indian cuisine, and also serve as truck stops & nowadays stopovers for cars on National Highways.
The look & feel of the restaurant had many elements from that of the real dhaba. The tables were wooden, the chairs were made of woven ropes, there were holes made in the wall in which knick knacks were kept, I spotted a old radio, many tyres, a muscular strength measuring device & so on. I loved the ambience & the eye to detail. The most impressive part of the décor was a full live truck inside the restaurant.
The lift doors were like the wooden doors in the countryside.
Service was excellent. The guys serving us were dressed almost like Bhangra dancers & they had good knowledge of the food. I was impressed by their warmth & personal attention – as if we have gone to their home.
The menu card looked like a 2D truck front view. Very nicely done I must say.
Food in dhabas (other than the touristy ones) typically have robust taste, are spicy, use fresh ingredients from nearby villages. Food here is usually cooked from scratch/ from semi cooked state after order is placed. For some items like daal etc, the daal is pre –made & ‘chonk’ is done fresh before serving. Whatever the case, the food usually turns up to b rustic & not polished / smooth.
One of the best Dhaba experiences of mine was at Bajwa ka Dhaba on NH8. Check it out here – Bajwa ka dhaba
Food at Dhaba restaurant was not rustic at all. It was over urbanized & had too much finesse. I guess it is good to say that food here is inspired by the ‘real’ dhaba but has been urbanized & made fit for fine dine – thus making most of it non authentic. It is of course hygienic & hence will appeal to all those who frown at the hygiene of the roadside dhaba.
Detailed Description – In case u have the Time to NJOY reading:
B4 the food was served, chutneys were placed on the table. The remarkable one among them was lahsun ki chutney. Rest were ordinary or sub optimal to taste.
We were also served a sweet mango chutney & that was really good.
We started our lunch with Dhaba prawn. It was just outstanding. I do not know of Dhabas selling prawns but I am sure there wud be some, specially in the coastal belt. This one was more of a tandoori masala prawn with hint of ajwain. The prawns were huge, they were very soft & somewhat juicy inside, not at all rubbery. The best part was that in every bite we cud get the taste & flavor of both the prawn & the spices. Loved it & give it a 4.5/5.
Post this we went for unlimited Nonveg thali. The items on the thali were dhaba daal, baingan bharta kanastar, highway chicken tikka, chicken tikka achari, balti meat, khumb Aur hare pyaz ki subzi & dessert.
Highway chicken tikka & chicken tikka achari were quite close to each other. The achari had a mild pickled flavor & the highway tikka had nothing different than the usual tikka. Both were good to taste, good in flavors, soft, charred on the outside – but none of them can be called great. I give a 3/5 to Highway chicken tikka & 3/5 to the chicken tikka achari as well.
The Dhaba daal was quite good. Cooked in low fire over a long time, this daal had a smooth texture – It was more on the lines of Daal Bukhara & less on lines of a true blue dhaba daal. On its own the daal was very enjoyable. I give this a 4/5. Wud have given 4.5/5 but due to the authenticity factor.
Baingan bharta kanastar was just too basic. When I remembered the baingan at Kesar da Dhaba, Bhrava da dhaba at Amritsar, this one looked like a primary school kid in front of a scholar. The baingan was quite basic, not spicy & just too plain……………… as if it has been cooked by a British Chef !!!!! I give this a 2.5/5
The khumb Aur hare pyaz ki subzi was totally irrelevant. I wud say it was a lame filler. Which Dhaba sells mushrooms to truck drivers? The taste of this was also like it is cooked in hospitals for patients. It had inadequate salt as well. Just too average & just not memorable. I give this a 2/5.
Balti meat was something that I was looking forward to, being a mutton lover. However I was shocked to find that the meats were not cooked with the gravy. Those were added later – Whether it is always cooked that way or it was a jugaad after the meat pieces finished off – I don’t know. The gravy was just a smooth tomato base with no surprises, no khara masala, no twists & turns & just ordinary. I give the dish a 2.5/5.
For dessert we had Rasmalai. It was not over sweetened & almost as good as possible. I give this a 4/5 again.
Veggie Pulao was served as the rice accompaniment. It had long aromatic grains of rice & was in perfect texture. Fried onions on the top added to the taste. I give this a 4/5.
We ate the rest of the curries with rotis from an assorted breads basket. The raita served alongside was very good.
We washed this down with some chaanch – buttermilk. That was a bit thicker than the real variety but taste-wise it was pretty good & balanced. I give it a 4/5.
Overall the rating of food at Dhaba averages out to 3.3/5
I wud surely not go here to eat again, rather take my car out for a 2 hour drive on the highway & then taste the real thing……………. What wud u likely do?