In a nutshell:
A tiny restaurant with beautiful décor, great service that serves YUMM Kashmiri food.
Address & other details: Khyen Chyen
Meal for 2: Rs. 600 onwards
Cuisine type : Vegetarian & nonvegetarian
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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:
We came to know about this place after reading a positive comment from our Kashmiri foodie friend Sam.
As we reached there searching Zomato, we realized that it was on ground floor – had never been to any place in Ground floor of this shopping complex. As we started walking in we spotted the 2 month old restaurant – tiny in size but perfect visually.
The floor was made of stone tiles that gave a nice feel to the place. Furniture was wooden. There were many utensils & knick knacks from Kashmir all around the restaurant.
Lighting was not too much, not too less.
Music was not Kashmiri, but English.
The serving boys were one of the best I have come across in a while, among restaurants of that size. Very warm, nice & helpful. They had good knowledge of food that was being served. They really took care of us as if we were guests at their home.
The menu card was a one pager. It had a pure Kashmiri section, a small popular food section (chicken tikka etc) & a section of special food that one had to order in advance.
Every dish had 3 options ‘only for me’, ‘I am hungry’ and ‘I am very hungry’. Loved this concept. Hope more people start this concept – for grazers like us, we wud like to eat small portions of many items. For some others it might b big portions of few items. Excellent.
We got to know that this restaurant is a part of a small chain that has restaurants in other cities & the fact that they r about to open a take away joint in Sohna road.
We were also told that Khyen Chyen means Khana peena.
Detailed Description – In case u have the Time to NJOY reading:
Before going thru the menu card in detail we ordered Tabak maaz.
For the uninitiated, Tabak Maaz is marinated lamb ribs, cooked & then fried. Good Tabak Maaz have a crispy outer meat layer & a soft & mushy fat layer in the middle. Joy of having a great tabak maaz is in the perfect combo of a texture & taste.
The tabak Maaz at Khyen Chyen was perfect to taste, was crisp outside, soft inside but not as soft and mind blowing soft as the (similar dish) Kabargahs we have had at Matamaal. Rate it 3.5/5
We moved on to a Bottle Gourd based curry called Al yakhni that turned out to b outstanding. It had a bit extra oil floating on top, it was quite a bit tart due to the curd base, had hing & dried mint (and other spices) in it that made it very flavourful and YUMM.
The gourd pieces retained their shape well and had the perfect texture. The sprinkling of the dark colored masala powder on top made a huge difference. Rate it 4.5/5
The next dish we ordered was Haaq – made with red masala. This was different from the variety that is super simple yet amazingly delicious. The simple variety we love eating at Dilli haat, chor bizarre and of course at Matamaal.
So we realised after first few bites of Haaq here that mentally we were biased towards the simple one and hence were not appreciating the Khyen Chyen one as much. So we mentally switched over. Started tasting the haaq as it was. It was then that we started appreciating it. Lumps of spinach, flavourful and very tasty thin gravy…. If I can call it gravy. Must say it was very good. Rate it 4/5
We also ordered for some Chutneys.
First chutney that we tried was Mujh. It was a Radish based chutney. Just Outstanding. Intense, robust, hits u on the face – for those who like mooli, this is outstanding. Rate it 4.5/5
Next we tried Doon – a walnut (Akhrot) chutney. It was again very good. Daanedaar, thick, perfect to taste and just nice. Rate it 4.25/5
Third in a row we tried Pudina (mint) Hari chutney. The whole world serves hari chutney but then there is hari chutney served at Khyen chyen. Bold, intense, hot, thick, hits you every time it lands on the mouth, full of flavours. Outstanding . Rate it 4.5/5.
We had all this food with Batta – Kashmiri rice. Thank god they did not push basmati down our throats.
After a while we ordered Lahabdaar kabab. It was mince meat lumps cooked in a curd based gravy. The meat lumps were made from hand minced keema and hence the kababs tasted YUMM. Machine minced ones can never b so good. The kababs were uneven, had chunks of minced meat in them, had traces of masalas in the mix, was juicy from within and just too good to taste.
The gravy was awesome as well. Finished off the gravy till the last drop. Rate this dish 4.5/5
We finished our dinner with mutton roganjosh. This name ‘Roganjosh’ is one of the highly bastardised curry names in the world, in absence of patent for the original recipe. Any guy making any random mutton curry names it roganjosh – my experience in different parts of the world.
The real Kashmiri roganjosh is a gem. There r two variants of that – the Hindu way and the Muslim way. The Hindu roganjosh has saunf as a key spice and that gives it a unique flavour. That differentiates it from other mutton curries.
The Muslim one uses other spices and has kind of the same texture.
The roganjosh at Matamaal is the one with the saunf and the one at Khyen chyen is the other variant.
I go crazy on the one with saunf. I loved the roganjosh at Khyen Chyen as well. Thin gravy yet so tasty and flavourful. Spices not hitting on the face but making their presence felt. Rate the gravy 4.25/5
The meat was soft and nice but I was surprised at why the salt in the meat was suboptimal inspite of the gravy having perfect salt. Possible if someone added salt much later in cooking of the meat or if they added the meat piece separately – that is if meat and gravy were not cooked from scratch. Rate the meat 2/5 on taste though it was perfect texture 4.5/5. Overall rating of meat averages out to 3.25/5.
Overall rating of roganjosh averages out to 3.75/5.
We finished our dinner with fireen – a sweet made from sooji. I was impressed at how they had infused the saffron flavour into sooji and how inspite of not being very tight they managed to get a very intense taste. Rate it 4/5.
We also had Kashmiri tea Kahwa. It turned out to b more like a hot sweet liquid than the real Kahwa we had at our Kashmiri friend’s house. Rate it 2/5.
Overall rating of food at Khyen Chyen averages out to 4.1/5.
We tried rajma on day 2. Must say that this Rajma was one of the best I have had in a while. The beans were in perfect shape , yet soft and enjoyable.
The gravy was awesome in terms of taste and flavours of Kashmiri masalas. Rate it 4.75/5
The two pics r from same rajma – (color shades r different due to different cameras used)
Next we ordered rishta. The gravy was intense, YUMM and flavourful. The meatball was excellent. It was lumpy, soft, YUMM, had full flavours of meat.
As we cut thru the meatball with a spoon, we cud see the meat juices trickle down – unbelievably juicy. Rate it 4.5/5
Last dish we ordered was gushtaba. The gravy was flavourful, YUMM and slightly thick. My co-diner found it more sour than optimum. I was good with the extent of sourness. The meatball was again as good.
Rate this 4.25/5
I wud go back to try the two kind of kormas, waza kokur, gogji etc. What’s on ur mind?