11th july 2020.
Our First non 5 star dineout experience after the COVID pandemic lockdown
In a NUtshell
It was more than ‘worth the drive’ from gurgaon to sarojini nagar market, just to eat lunch here – special mention to the butter chicken that made our day.
Address & other details: amar Jyoti restaurant
Meal for 2: ₹300 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
We got to know about amar Jyoti restaurant from a post by home chef & food blogger Snehalata saikia. Immediately added the restaurant to our wishlist. My friend Venkat poked me last week that I was only covering 5 stars after lockdown & that I needed to do the others too. So we decided to try this out over this weekend.
As we reached sarojini nagar market on a Saturday afternoon (otherwise a peak hour), we could count the people in the market. Getting space at The multi level parking was easy.
We had called the restaurant earlier to check if they were open for dine in. They said yes. Google showed that the restaurant was shut for dine in (see the Red Cross).
As we reached in front of the restaurant we saw a few notifications on the glass door – customers without mask are not allowed inside, hygiene in the current times etc.
We entered to find a lone employee in the corner. We asked if the restaurant was open. He said yes & walked back to the kitchen. We chose a table that had maximum lighting ( so that I can get good pics for u).
At 130 pm we were the only guests in the restaurant & it remained like that till we left at around 3 pm. Usually I have heard there are queues outside this time.
The good thing we noticed was that the restaurant was constantly sending out home deliveries but it surely looked to be less volume than pre covid lockdown. Restaurants/ other retail Businesses like these are Managing to open as they own the property. It would be Very difficult / almost impossible for restaurants on rent to be open for dining amongst such uncertainty & rock bottom walk-ins .
Soon after, a gentleman came from the kitchen & welcomed us. We found out later during our conversation that he was Tanmeet, a hotel management graduate & most importantly, the third generation owner of this restaurant.
Later tanmeet’s father also came to the hotel & we absolutely loved our little conversation with him. He mentioned that the restaurant opened in 1965, years after the family moved here from Pakistan. His father had started this restaurant & at that time his grandfather was also around. I asked him if he remembers any such dull period in their history. He said not, even during 1984 riots business was not so bad for so long.
He also told us towards the end of our meal that fresh mutton keema has come just now. ‘Why don’t u pack some keema kababs that we are famous for’. We jumped in to the offer & accepted. We had a nice Chat on Heating the kababs effectively sans microwave oven to prevent it from drying up.
Tanmeet himself Sanitized our table, Gave us Hand sanitizer & he Checked our temperature. He came himself with the menu card, chatted with us on the food, served us himself & finally cleared the dishes. He took care of us like guests at his house. I also saw him cleaning the facade glass once. Huge respect for him for this. Rare values.
As we sat on our table we noticed a QR code sticker on our table, branded Zomato.
I took out my phone camera & pointed at the QR code. A pop up came. I touched the pop up. The screen in picture below popped up.
As I pressed ‘start contactless dining’, the menu card opened on Zomato. I could place orders thru this & finally pay from here as well. Was very happy to see how Zomato has enabled eateries to go for contactless menu & payment, just like 5 star hotels (see video of threesixtyone degrees here) have come up with their own apps.
Food was fab. Years of fine tuning led to perfection in both concept& execution.
Detailed description – in case u hv the time to njoy reading:
Butter chicken was really nice. We could feel the flavor of good butter. The tomato based gravy was quite enjoyably tart while not being tomatoeeee at all. The chicken pieces were perfectly cooked in tandoor before being cooked with the gravy. We chose the chicken with bones coz that always tastes better than boneless chicken. Polished off a big bowlful of gravy till the last drop. Rate it 4.5/5
Garlic naan was almost like a super thin, crisp hand made pizza, charred at the end to perfection. The flavour of garlic & butter were competing with each other to raise a hand & both were at it till the end. Absolutely loved this crisp & thin naan with the thick butter chicken gravy. Rate it 4.5/5
Mutton masala was a very different kind of dish than most similar looking mughalai dishes. Here the flavors of spices were way more pronounced & at times they overpowered the flavors of the meat in the gravy. The gravy had way less fat in it as compared to the gravies in Jama masjid area. That probably explains why spice flavors were higher. However, munching on the mutton pieces was pure joy – cooked to perfection, almost falling off the bones, yet managing to cling back. There were eggs in the gravy too. Rate it 4.25/5
Tanmeet suggested we try Red chilly paratha with the mutton. We went for it & absolutely loved the recommendation & it’s logic. The paratha was simple to taste & did not interfere much with the gravy. It’s crisp outer layer was great to munch on. Rate it 4.25/5
Unlike the lassi found in good sweet shops, the Lassi here was not very thick. It had no layer of malai on top. A red syrup added flavor to the lassi. It was not too sweet & had the right amount of sour. Rate it 3.75/5
We also packed some Mutton seekh kabab. We heated it on tawa. It was Very different from the delhi mughalai & Awadhi kind of seekh kabab. This one has way less animal fat it seemed & hence the juiciness was less. The meat was good. The spice flavors were much more pronounced as the kababs are sautéed in a sauce made by them. Meaty flavors were less. Very different. I liked it the way it was…. Rate it 4.25/5
Overall rating of food at Amar Jyoti averages out to 4.25/5
Look forward to getting back here to try out interesting items on the menu – liver, bheja, keema etc.