In a NUtshell:
An iconic 3rd generation run restaurant in Bohri mohalla, selling an array of slow cooked food, serving the same dishes made with same recipe from the time of its founder, subtle yet rich, meaty yet beyond just meat, a cocktail of flavours and textures – an experience to remember.
Address & other details: valibhai
Meal for 2: ₹400 onwards
Cuisine type : non vegetarian (beef and mutton)
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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 visited this Restaurant with our foodie friend and blogger ‘the eaten path’. She had a great experience here and took us here during Ramzan
The restaurant is in two floors. The ground floor has the 12 handi set up right at the entrance. Inside are a line of tables for 4. The first floor is air conditioned and has 8 tables with a seating of 4 each.
Since she had got to know the owner, we heard some good introduction about the place from him.
The concept is same as Surti 12 handi that I have written about before. Writing it in short for those who missed the other post. For detailed description of the concept please click on the link of Surti 12 handi above.
A high pedestral has ovens below it and meats and gravies are made there and served from there. Every dish is a permutation and combination of some or the other meat / other item and the gravies.
Beyond a point all gravies might taste similar but not same. There is an option to request for a bit stronger flavor etc.
None of the dishes were hot (chilly) but were served hot. The spices were present but they blended very well with the meat due to long hours of slow cooking. The owner told us that the meats were 2 hours cooked on Kadhai and 6 hours in dum (sealed slow cook). That ensure that meats cook in their own juices and no flavor escapes.
In addition to meats, trotters and bones, the handis also have Harissa (wheat and Bengal gram), other lentil based gravies. Lentils are also cooked in slow fire.
Though originally there used to be 12 handis but now there are only 9. I guess the Reason is that 3 dishes have been discontinued from the past.
Some dishes at times might seem to be low on salt but that’s a part of the experience (each gravy is of different salt level and the final mix is dependent on salt levels of the gravies). A pinch of salt in such case might make the dish become twice as good.
Service was warm and nice. It’s just that the guy was thinking we r over eating and never really told us what we were missing out. We cud see that expression on his face ( with all good intentions). In hindsight we shud hv ordered a pichota.
The main dishes are paya (trotters) soup and gravy, pichota ( ox tail) curry, topa (neck), Nihari (slow cooked meat), Nalli gudda (bone marrow), mutton sukha.
Loved the food. Memorable experience I must say.
Same food is available at dawn and in the evening. We went in the evening.
Detailed description- in case u hv the time to njoy reading:
Paya soup was soupy but not thin. It was of curry consistency because of presence of bone marrow. It was intense and refreshing and extremely rich. Spices were relatively less than most other paya dishes , be it Jama Masjid area of delhi or old part of Lucknow or somewhere in the south or west of india. Rate it 4.5/5
Paya had a thicker gravy than the paya soup. It was to be eaten with Roti. We liked it a lot. Rate it 4/5
Nihari was good. The gravy was very thick. Not for the faint hearted. Meat pieces were melt in the mouth. On the face of it this was the blandest Nihari among all I have ever had (kallu, haji shabrati, idris, Karim) but this one had an unparalleled depth of taste and flavor. Intense. Unique. Rate it 4.25/5
Nalli was essentially a curry of bone marrow. Some people can be put off by the texture as it was kind of slimy. Bursting out with flavours though. We loved it and rate it 4/5
Topa (meat from neck of the animal) curry came with a big chunk of meat. It had thick gravy, rustic and robust. Flavours of meat and spices had beautifully merged. The meat was unbelievably soft – such that we cud cut it with thick, blunt, soup spoons!!! Since it was beef, we cud see / feel the fibres of the meat but the moment it Wud land in the mouth, all Wud b smooth and soft. The flavours of meat were totally there. Rate it 4.75/5.
Lamba Pav was served to us as a bread. It was bought from outside. I had heard great things about it. It had a woodfire flavor to it. I Wud say it was ok. Maybe it was made sometime back.
Roti was made in house. It was like a thin crust pizza base. Enjoyable. Cud feel good amount of sodium bicarbonate in it though. It Wud b hot and great when served but in minutes it Wud turn crisp and then hard, like a papad.
Overall rating of food here averages out to 4.2/5
Wud surely revisit to try out the rest