Pop up by home chef Shaista Iqbal (Diya, Leela ambience gurgaon)

In a NUtshell

A lovely dinner of Purani dilli recipes by home chef Shaista Iqbal, loved it.

Address & other details: diya

Meal for 2: ₹2000 onwards

Cuisine type : vegetarian & non vegetarian

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

While we were shifting back to gurgaon from mumbai last year, we randomly calculated that we went to more pop ups than restaurants in the first 7 months of 2019. While delhi NCR has many regional cuisine restaurants & also a good number of western cuisine restaurants, the choices r relatively lesser in mumbai. However the frequency of quality pop ups by mumbai home chefs were unbeatable.

It is in mumbai that we were regulars at chef Ashish Bhasin’s pop ups at trident BKC. We wud drive all the way from Cuffe Parade (26 km) to eat at these pop ups. Chef Bhasin would constantly get in great home chefs from across the country & do festivals. So when chef Bhasin posted on Instagram about his plans to shift to leela gurgaon, we were a bit disappointed – little did we know that we wud follow suit in the months to come.

Read about our earlier experiences of chef bhasin’s pop ups here:

We hv dined at the Leela hotel gurgaon during our earlier stay in gurgaon but had never been to Diya b4.

The restaurant is visually stunning. I loved the detailing , the lighting, the bright pop ups & the contrasting shades of ecru. I did however highly dislike the choice of plates – thick, ceramic , probably handmade , crude plates that did not go with the opulent interiors. Those fit a cafe better. They also are good for average food places – not for serious food places, where the food does not look great on that textured & dark backdrop.

At the entrance of the hotel there was a standee that mentioned a set menu of the festival. When we went inside & sat, we were told there is no set menu – only a la carte. Surely the marketing folks & the f&b planners do not talk to each other frequently. Super weird. The person who gave us the menu card also gave us a normal set menu card with items like butter chicken & Diya special in that. That did not surely look like a part of the festival. Not all items in the set menu were from the festival a la carte menu.

The serving guys were nice smart people but they did not seem to b passionate foodies. The latter quality makes food lovers enjoy a good conversation at the dinner table too. All conversations with the boys last evening were transactional.

Loved the food.

Detailed description – in case u hv the time to njoy reading:

Mutton shami kabab was outstanding. The Ginger flavour stood out. The meat was Chunky, lumpy, not machine made paste. This resulted in the Mouthfeel being outstanding. The kabab Had an outer layer like a tikia. The taste was Subtle & not at all on the face. There was No extra fat on the plate after we finished eating. Flavours of meat & dal complimented each other. Rate it 4.75/5

Gosht ke bhune pasande – this was thin slices of mutton, marinated in curd, with almond paste & cooked on a griddle. The dish had a Creamy mouthfeel but with a twist – almonds gave flavour & mild grainy texture, balanced the sourness of curd a bit. Mutton pieces were soft & nice. Rate it 4.25/5

Shab Deg was a curry of mutton pieces, mutton meatballs & carrots. There was some magic in the gravy that I did not get but it was just too addictive. The hands were on auto mode on transporting the gravy from the bowl to the mouth. We polished off an entire bowlful of gravy just like that – with just one roti.

The meat pieces were good. The meatballs were outstanding. They had intense flavours of both meat & spices. Super loved munching on the unexpected carrots!!! Brilliant. Rate the dish 4.75/5

Baingan ki buhani was a stunning dish. Rarely one finds the courage to have such a simple, home like dish in the 5 star menu. I felt I was eating this at a friend’s house. Learnt a new way to make a good dish with winter brinjals. The roasted brinjals were cooked with yoghurt & green chillies. The simplicity of this dish was marvellous. Rate it 4.5/5

Kacche gosht ki biryani was accompanied by an outstanding raita made from hung curd. Intense, thick, creamy, just the right kind of seasoning & just the right masalas sprinkled on top. Loved this & polished it off till the last drop. Rate it 4.5/5

The biryani was however mixed up due to executional challenges.

Rice The taste of rice was excellent, so good that we cud not stop munching. Rate the taste 4.5/5

The flavours of the rice & that of the meat complimented each other very well. Rate the flavours 4.5/5

The texture of rice was a disaster. It was suboptimally cooked. I guess 90% done. I am confident this was an execution error & we wud not get this, had we dined at the home of the nine chef. Rate it 0/5.

Overall rating of rice averages out to 3/5.

The meat pieces were very good to taste. Rate the taste 4.25/5

The flavours of meat were excellent. Rate it 4.5/5

The texture of the meat was good but not as good as the best in class. Rate the texture 3/5.

Overall rating of the meat averages out to 3.9/5

Overall rating of biryani averages out to 3.5/5

For dessert we ordered a portion of shahi Tukda. We were given some sheer also, as a compliment.

The sheer was good but no match to a similar dish phirni at kitchen of awadh. What was nice about this phirni was that the rice pieces cud be felt & the whole thing did not become a paste. The simple flavor of spices was good. The milk was not reduced much & hence the sheer felt bland ‘more watery than milky’ , when compared to the best versions of similar dishes we have had. Rate it 3/5

Shahi tukda was the last thing we had & I was absolutely bowled over. Wow. After maybe a decade we had something as good!!! The Beauty of a good Shahi tukda is the balance of salt & sugar, the balance of the density & porosity of the bread. The mild crunch of the moist bread & the soft, mildly daanedaar Reduced milk etc. In the dish we had, All of this was perfect. Rate it 4.95/5

Overall rating of food at the pop up averages out to 4.25/5

Look forward to more interesting pop ups by chef ashish Bhasin

4 thoughts on “Pop up by home chef Shaista Iqbal (Diya, Leela ambience gurgaon)

  1. Nice review. I am observing for past couple of months that you are only covering fine dining restaurants. Why are you not posting blogs related to middle, roadside stalls.

  2. Just read your review and wanted to say thanks and invite you to sample thw same and more at our place our way on a dastarkhwan @mrsahmedskitchen. wait to hear back from you

Leave a Reply