In a nutshell:
A nice, small restaurant serving good, almost like home cooked, food from Assam.
Address & other details: Gharua Exaj
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 tried to reach the restaurant seeing Google map. As we reached the place indicated by google map, we realised there was no restaurant in that location. So we called the restaurant and then kept asking people and finally reached the place. Realised after reaching that google map was still showing old address which the restaurant had vacated 2 yrs back!!!
The restaurant was essentially a neat rectangular shop in the market. The interiors were plain and simple but they were decorated very well with Assamese handicrafts.
Assamese songs were being played in the background.
An Assamese lady wearing mekhla (traditional Assamese attire) and her son were dining. As soon as they left, for some time, we were the only guests. The server boy immediately turned the music to Hindi songs assuming we were getting bored (since we were non Assamese). I requested him to continue with Assamese as I was enjoying the songs. Well I was an exception maybe, but very good gesture and attention to detail, I must say.
The menu card was a 2 pager – pretty well laid out. Easy to understand as there were well defined sections. However there was no description of the food.
The restaurant was being managed by a bunch of Nice guys. They knew about the food, took very good care and were pretty interactive.
Food in general was good. Few were excellent.
Detailed description – in case u hv the time to njoy reading:
We started our lunch with Pork soup with bamboo shoot. It was a thick soup with carrots and some veggies, small pieces of pork.
It had a tinge of sour and had a hot aftertaste. Flavour of bamboo shoot cud b felt but cud not feel biting into a bamboo shoot in itself coz pieces were small. Pork pieces were super soft and pork fat pieces were just too good. Flavour of pork enhanced the soup. Rate it 4.25/5
B4 the main course arrived accompaniments – sliced raw onions, green chillies and 3 kinds of chutneys. Green chutney was good and similar to other green chutneys, bit more flavourful. The light green / pale yellow chutney was nice but extreme sour. The third one was made from bhoot jalokia – extreme hot and hotter aftertaste
We started with Aloo pithika. It was mashed potato with raw onion, dhania leaves, raw green chillies and raw mustard oil. I loved the texture of it.
It did not have a twist like the one at jakoi has. However it was very good on its own. Rate it 3.5/5
We tried Khar – A wide variety of food is referred to as Khar.
‘The khar is a signature class of preparations made with a key ingredient, also called khar. The traditional ingredient is made by filtering water through the ashes of a banana tree, which is then called kola khar (The name derived from the locale term of Banana, “Kol” or “Kola”). A traditional meal invariably begins with a khar dish, made of raw papaya, pulses or any other main ingredient. ‘ says wiki.
It was kaali dal ( maa ki daal) without the skin – dhuli urad dal. The dal grains were solid but melt in the mouth and that gave the dal a texture. It was somewhat slippery as well. It was super plain and simple. It was recommended by our server after we asked him ‘which dal do u hv at home regularly’. In case u cannot enjoy daal without tadka, avoid this dish. Loved the simplicity and rate it 4.25/5
The next dish we tried was Duck curry with matimah dal ( urad with skin). The duck pieces were very nice – very small pieces but tasty meat with slightly chewy and very soft texture. The meat was reddish brown – like it is for desi chicken. Rate the meat 4.5/5
The dal was excellent. It was textured, had the perfect taste of dal and was just too good. Rate it 4.5/5
However what went amiss in this dish was that the duck pieces and duck were not going together. It seemed they were cooked separately and the duck was dunked into daal last minute. So flavours of duck were totally absent from the daal. Rate the amalgamation part 1/5.
Overall rating of the dish averages out to 3.3/5
After this came Rou thekera tenga. It was a Fish (rohu) curry. The server warned us that since we were non Assamese, this wud b too sour for our palate and we shud rather go for tomato based tenga. We insisted on having the hardcore version and we did not regret.
The gravy was sour but with an amazing flavour of the fruit used as a souring agent. The potatoes in the gravy almost got mashed and that made the curry thick.
Loved the taste, texture and flavours of this gravy and rate it 4.5/5
The fish was from a big Rohu. It was deep fried in high heat and that compromised with the texture. The overfrying made the fish rubbery. Rate the fish 2/5.
Overall rating of the dish averages out to 3.25/5.
Last dish we had was Pork khorika. It was baked / roasted dry pork meat with spices, served on a bed of chillies and onions. The ends of pork were charred thus giving it excellent taste.
The meat was super soft too and of course the fat was very soft. Loved munching on the onions as they had absorbed the flavours of pork. Rate the dish 4.25/5
Overall rating of food at gharua exaj averages out to 3.8/5. I wud surely revisit to try out more dishes. What’s on ur mind?