In a nutshell:
Traditional YUMM Dhaba food & some good chai & lassi at a super tiny two level eatery………………….aloo paranthas here r better than at most places in Delhi as well.
Address & other details: Crossing of Russell Street (now Anadilal Poddar Sarani) & Middleton Street. Older name was Bharat Hindu Hotel & new name is Russell Punjabi Dhaba.
Meal for 2: Rs. 200 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:
Well, I love travelling across the country & bumping into roadside Dhabas. Except for the touristy ones a typical truck-walas Dhaba is usually characterized by Spartan interiors, efficient & fast service by ‘chhotus’ & piping hot freshly made food. Usually the food is prepared (not from scratch, but usually from a semi processed state) after the order is placed. In case of daals etc the tadka is done after the order is placed. Even the meats etc are given a special touch up before serving.
The interiors of Dhabas usually have basic cleanliness but they r hardly ‘perfectly clean & hygenic’ by any standards. Tables get a dose of regular ‘pocha’ & the interiors get a touch up I guess once a year. Russell Dhaba might have started like that many years back but has now become something in between a true blue roadside dhaba & a fancy ‘Dhaba look-alike’ restaurant like Mirch Masala Kolkata, Dhaba Kolkata or Dhaba, The Claridges, Surajkund.
Loads of people park in front of Russell Dhaba & eat in their cars. I being me, straight walked inside, to get an experience of what it is like. The Ground floor is congested & has a bunch of tables & chairs for people to sit & eat. It also has a large area that is like a cash counter cum beverage storage cum Refrigerator space. The end of the small dining hall was the kitchen which was bustling with activity.
The first floor is low ceiling & one has to bow down at several instances to reach the table. Visible cleanliness in the restaurant in general was average – Not too bad, Not good either.
The staff members were good. The one serving us was really good. I don’t think they r trained in professional institutes & hence they might not behave like in large restaurants, However, a smile, a nice ‘human to human’ behavior resulted good & we got some really extraordinary attention (beyond expectation). Rotis, water etc got refilled at exactly the right time, not too early not too late. A bit extra food was proactively packed for us even before we cud ask for it & so on.
Prices – I found that to b quite OK by today’s standards – not cheap for sure but not exorbitant as well. I have heard people say that this place is expensive. However by standards of similar eateries in other metros of India serving this level of food, this is surely not much. However if one compares to say a similar eatery in Dhaka or Kathmandu, food at Russell Dhaba might seem to b expensive.
Taste – Loved most of it except for one dish with major execution issues. Food is oily, full of ghee & butter. Surely not health food but then that is authentic. I loved it as it is – ‘worked out’ extra 15 minutes everyday for the next 5 days to burn the extra calories.
Detailed Description – In case u have the Time to NJOY reading:
We started our lunch with Aloo Parantha. It had a crispy outer layer & soft, fat, nicely spiced yumm filling. Perfect in every way. A dollop of amul butter on the top made it even better. They had cut it into bite sized pieces so that one doesn’t have to tear the paratha while eating. Very few places in delhi NCR make parathas as enjoyable as this. We super loved it & rate it 4.5/5.
Post this we ordered Daal tadka with egg. This is a Dish that I wud say is from the Pungali cuisine – Bengal influenced Punjabi cuisine. While Punjabi cuisine has a plethora of daals & daal tadkas, I guess no one has heard about the variations (like egg tadka, mutton tadka., mushroom tadka etc) in Punjab.The form that it is sold in Kolkata & rest of Bengal is a localization.
The Daal tadka with egg was very balanced, well spiced, not overtly spiced & the spices had got well entrenched in the dish. The taste was intense. The consistency was thick. Egg made its presence felt but did not overpower the taste of either the daal or the tadka. We really liked this quite a lot & rate it 4/5.
We then went for Bhindi pyaz. It has a severe ‘excess salt’ induced execution issue – I guess he put salt twice. It was not excessively spiced but not too bland either. They had almost stir fried the ingredients. All veggies including onion were crunchy & that made it really good. Tomatoes were in big pieces. The dish was surely in the right direction & conceptually better than many other places I have had bhindi. Had it not been the salt issue, I wud have given it 4/5. The salt issue takes the rating down to 2.5/5.
Last item on our lunch was Mutton do piaza. Lots of onion in the gravy gave a mild enjoyable sweetness that created a balance with the salt. Lots of green chillies made the curry hot. Crisp fried onions were sprinkled on the top.
When mixed with the gravy, the crisp onions gave a nice texture to the curry. The Mutton was super soft, melt in the mouth kinds. It was not at all fibrous. Super liked the mutton pieces as well. I give this dish 4.5/5.
The Tea was strong, good & not too sweet. It was served in kulhar (bhaar / earthen cup). I rate this 4/5.
The Lassi was thick & unidirectionally sweet. It did not have a hint of salt or sour. It did not seem to b hand made as well. It did not have a malai layer on top. However it tasted good on its own. It also had a smooth creamy feel. I rate this lassi 3/5.
Rating of food at Russell Dhaba averages out to 3.75/5.
I wud like to revisit in the winter to try saag meat & other typically Punjabi food. Look forward to it.