In a nutshell:
An unforgettable candlelight dinner with the illuminated Mehrangarh fort Jodhpur on one side & a birds eye view of the city on other side.
Address & other details: Chokelao mahal restaurant
Meal for 2: 2500 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:
This Foodie madness post is a part of a series called Culinary pilgrimage – On a weekend in August 15 we decided to travel to Jodhpur on Culinary pilgrimage. A 2 day trip to Jodhpur just to eat out at the numerous streetfood shops that have survived over time……….We ended up eating at 11 places in a span of 48 hours & spent a total of approx Rs. 1850 & then we dined at Jodhpur fort for Rs. 3000. The cost of staying at Jodhpur & travelling to Jodhpur from Delhi was, needless to say, quite a few times more.
We came to know about this amazing dinner by the fort when we went to drink water at cafe mehran, while visiting the fort in the day. The server told us ‘why don’t u check out the dinner at Chokelao Mahal restaurant.’
We called to book table. The call went to someone in Jaipur and the table got booked. We arrived at the fort at 8.30 pm in the evening. The bustling fort that we had seen in the day was quiet all over. Pin drop silence. The walls of the fort had spotlights – so they looked good. At places there was an eerie feeling as well.
We walked up to the gate and met the watchman – he seemed to have walked out of a period movie. He spoke to someone on a walkie talkie and told us that a vehicle will come to pick us up.
What came, was an old Mahindra 4 wheel drive semi covered jeep. The jeep itself was vibrating quite a bit and a drive on the uneven stone path was quite bumpy, nostalgic and hence enjoyable. The jeep went thru a gate that was wider than the jeep’s width by max 5 inches. On two other places it was amazing how the old vehicle cud handle slopes and curves with ease.
The place where dinner is served had a series of rooms around a square open courtyard. We took the stairs to the open terrace above, where tables were laid.
The setting was stunning. On one side was the fort …..
On the other side was the birds eye view of the Jodhpur city at night.
There was no light in the open air restaurant other than the lights of the fort and small lights on the wall of the terrace. Each table had a candle in a lamp.
The guy serving us made us feel at home. He was also addressing as ‘hukum’. He was very warm person and we enjoyed a very good chat with him. He was a wonderful host.
They had a menu card had a la carte options and 3 kinds of thalis each in veg and nonveg. The regular thali did not have starters and had 1 instead of 3 desserts. The special thali had those additions and everything that the regular thali had. Chandi Ki thali was special thali served in silverware.
We chose 1 regular veg thali and 1 special nonveg thali.
Loved the food. Worth it.
Detailed description – in case u hv the time to njoy reading:
Mutton bhoothan – awesome is the word. Chewy small pieces of mutton marinated and grilled – soft but not melt in the mouth. Outstanding flavours of masala , strong flavours of good meat, juicy. Robust, rustic. 4.75/5
White chicken not very soft, slightly fibrous yet excellent to taste. Perfect blend of spices and seasoning. Creamy marination. Awesome flavours. Marination in layers. Oozes out as one bites the chicken pieces. Strong ginger flavour. Rate it 4.5/5
Red chicken much spicier and hot. More on the face taste. Rustic. Robust. Rate it 4.5/5
The main course had the following dishes:
Paneer makhani was good. It had soft and nice paneer cubes and a pretty balanced gravy that was not overtly tomatoeee. Rate it 4.25/5
Teen patti hara kanda was new to us – a curry made from locally grown saag ( leaves). Excellent to taste, it had its share of hot and sweet. Rate it 4.5/5
Kair sangri (a local Rajasthani vegetarian dish) was very good here as well but a tad short of outstanding. The one we had at gypsy the same day for lunch was better. Rate it 4.25/5.
Chakki Ka saag was a very interesting dish that we were told was a Jodhpur specialty. The chakki ka saag was a dish quite unique and while eating could not really remember eating anything similar. So asked our server to explain how it was made. He told us that the dumplings were made of atta – whole wheat flour that had been kneaded into a dough then washed with water!!!! After the dough becomes very soft it is deep fried and made into dumplings then dunked into the gravy. The process sounded quite unique and taste was also unique. The dumplings were like hollow and soft melt in the mouth balls in an extremely delicious curd based gravy. Rate it 4.75/5
Dal was marvellous. Flavours of ghee and that of daal and spices. The dal was thick, YUMM yo taste. Rate it 4.5/5.
The show stopper in the non veg thali was supposed to be the Lal maans. Our server asked us whether we want it light or hot. We said we will have exactly what the original recipe is. I think the request did not reach the kitchen verbatim. It seems we got a bit mellowed down version. I remember how after eating Lal Maans at the now non existant Kachori Jodhpuree, Mega mall Gurgaon we almost had fumes coming out of our ears and noses!!!!
The gravy was very good to taste with flavours of spices and meat, both making their presence felt.
The meat was obviously cooked with the gravy and hence it was soft yet had retained a very good texture. The taste was yumm.
Looking back, the Lal maans was very good but it was not the best I hv ever had. I wud hv expected an even more rustic and robust version.
Rate the Lal maans 4.25/5. In case u r a normal person and not a crazy foodie I guess u will like it as it is.
4 kinds of rotis were served with the thali. Bajra, jowar, missi and atta. Loved them all.
The thali was designed in such a way that we cud re-order everything as many times as we wanted. However the quantities were such that we cud not eat anything more.
Kesari phirni was daanedar, creamy, rich and nice. It was enjoyable to taste. Rate it 4.25/5.
Gulab jamun was made inhouse. It was less fluffy, tight, had a tinge of salt and balanced on sweet. That made it a great gulab jamun. Rate it 4.25/5
Choorma was the best dessert for the evening. It was again daanedar, had optimum sugar, a pinch of salt and big granules (not like dust). That gave it great texture. Flavour of ghee was enjoyable. Super loved the taste and rate it 4.5/5
Overall rating of good at Mehrangarh fort averages out to 4.4/5
It was surely a memorable experience and wud like to revisit a decade later, I guess to feel nostalgic.