In a NUtshell:
A very interesting and unusual (for me) lunch that reinforced our thoughts on Naga cuisine, fast and efficient service, basic clean interiors, regular eating place for locals – not a fancy tourist trap.
Address & other details:Naga morsel
Meal for 2: ₹200 onwards
Cuisine type : vegetarian & non vegetarian
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We paid ₹550 in cash. No bill
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 travelled 30km up down to eat here – coz we read good things about this Restaurant on a social media post by chef Thomas Zachary (insta – cheftzac) of Bombay canteen. Chef zac travels the country, goes into interiors, to find new flavors and tastes and then comes up with his own version of the same at The Bombay Canteen.
The ride from the village we stayed, to DimApur city was quite something – you almost get a ‘driving on moon’ kind of experience, with the numerous craters, cracks and holes in what is referred to as ‘road’. In hindsight, all roads we travelled in Nagaland were the worst ever we have travelled in india in the last 2-3 years. It’s such a torture for people who stay there thruout the year – we were there for just a few days!!!
The restaurant is located in the main market. There were 6-8 restaurants selling Naga food. We went to this one due to the recommendation- else, all of them looked similar from outside.
The interiors were basic but functional.
There was a wash basin near the entrance, on the left. On the right was a cash counter.
Tables of 4 were laid out thruout the floor.
2 boys were serving food and taking the orders. They were very nice and helpful.
We were the only tourists in the shop. Rest everyone seemed to be local and were probably just having a convenient lunch, not a fancy one.
There were only 9 items in the 1 page menu card.
In Naga cuisine there is no concept of dessert after every meal. So there was none on offer in the menu card.
We have been having Naga food at the loinloom festival at weaver’s place, village Dzepe. This meal at Naga Morsel and the weavers place food led us to conclude on the following – Naga food is simple , less complicated, probably less evolved than many other Indian cuisines, no / very little use of milk products (no ghee / butter / milk), thus making a lot of vegetarian food vegan. No / occasionally traditional spices used, no spice paste, no chillies, limited / no oil in cooking. Flavors of the meat are very well expressed due to less distraction from spices. Animal fat is principal source of fat in most curries. Chutneys r super hot. These can be used to spice up boiled veggies etc. we just loved this cuisine.
Our exposure to Naga food happened long back in Nagaland stall at dilli haat, New Delhi. We now know that the delhi version has more oil in it, strong flavors mellowed down, thickened gravies etc.
Detailed description – in case u hv the time to njoy reading:
Locally grown unpolished rice was served on raised plates that had deep walls. It was served to us atop tables. However it would have been created to reduce the distance between plate and mouth in the days when people would sit on the ground and eat.
Customary to all naga meals we had, lai shaak (boiled greens) was served to be eaten with rice. Like in all other places, there was no salt in the saag. We had got used to eating this in all our meals and had started liking it’s inherent flavors. Loved the good lai saag with rice. Added a bit of the Chutney that had Bhut jalokia in it, to spice up some of the bites.
We saw chicken on the menu and asked about the preparation. We were delighted to hear it was country chicken curry. The guy said that the curry will be like ‘boiled’. We agreed. It turned out to be a thin, watery in texture, soupy, strong flavoured curry with country chicken pieces with skin. Loved the soup – strong flavours of meat and herbs. Almost no spices. Super loved it. The skin ensured that the chicken was soft and juicy. Loved it and rate it 4.5/5
Next thing we tried was a YUMM beef offals curry – intestine, stomach, liver etc. Unlike the pork offal curry cooked in pig blood we ate at the Loinloom festival , this one was not cooked in blood. So the texture of the gravy was like that of any other curry with meat and spices – flavors of spices and meaty flavors. The taste of the gravy was not very different / unusual but very good. There was a good amount of animal fat in the curry which started solidifying towards the end of the dish. The offals tasted different in every bite and the texture was different too. Liked it a lot. Rate it 4/5
The last dish turned out to be a rockstar. It was the best pork akhuni I have had so far (AK hunk is a gravy cooked with fermented soyabean). Thin, robust , flavorful gravy with a robust and rustic taste. Brilliant. I over ate rice as I wanted to do justice to this gravy (unusual behaviour on my part). Rate it 4.95/5
Overall rating of food at Naga morsels averages out to 4.5/5
If u r an experimental foodie, this place is highly recommended for u