Daryaganj (Worldmark 1, Aerocity, New Delhi)

In a NUtshell

Bowled over by the butter chicken, thoroughly impressed with other dishes that we tried, great ambience, cold + mechanical + professional + efficient staff …… had a great evening here

The facade

Address & other details: Daryaganj

Meal for 2: ₹400 onwards

Cuisine type : vegetarian & non vegetarian

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Proof of payment

YUMMRAJ rates all the food items & then gives 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 walked past this restaurant when it opened in Anbience mall gurugram. Read about it on social media. Never bothered to go in as we thought it wud be Moti mahal deluxe in a new name……. till we read a post by food blogger Pawan Soni, founder of indian food freak. Something in the post gave us a nudge & we decided to drop in.

Near the entrance

When I commented on Pawan’s insta post, he warned that there wud be queues & it’s almost always full. So we tried to make it fool (full) proof – we arrived shortly after 6 pm for dinner, in angrez style:)

The dining hall

There were few occupied tables at that time & hence we got a spot that we liked.

We could look out thru the glass window on one side & look into the rest of the large beautiful restaurant on the other.

View of outside from our seat

What I love about spaces like this is the high ceiling. That gives me a generally good feeling.

Photographs from the past – on all walls of the restaurant

Right outside the entrance there were electronic billboards that showcased the dishes available & also takes about the legacy.

Electronic billboards

Near the entrance there were two more screens that showed the legacy of the restaurant thru pictures of old press coverage, photographs etc.

So what’s this legacy that we are talking about? Well we are talking about the legacy of the recipes of a restaurant named Moti mahal that opened in today’s purani dilli after India’s independence. The following section in italics will briefly mention the story told by current owners of Daryaganj.

Electronic representation of old press coverage
Menu card
Important years – printed on menu card
Description of original 1947 butter chicken

All the above story telling is done so well that one will most likely get convinced ……. till the time one starts to ….

1. Wonder – But why is Moti mahal butter chicken different than what it is at Daryaganj (if the origin is the same).

2. Browse the Internet while waiting for the food – & yes, there are hosts of controversies that pop up – contradictory claims by the owners of Daryaganj & the current owners of Moti mahal whose grandfather incidentally had the same first name – Kundan lal Gulati.

Please read this – brilliant story telling

Well I will not delve more on that topic as you can read an authoritative but non conclusive piece by renowned food journalist & writer Vir Sanghvi – article

I agree 100% to his last paragraph & here is my take as well – BEYOND A POINT I DO NOT REALLY CARE WHO among the two groups IS RIGHT. I AM NOT SOMEONE WHO WOULD USUALLY ORDER BUTTER CHICKEN WHILE EATING OUT BUT WILL MAKE AN EXCEPTION FOR DARYAGANJ. THE Butter chicken AT DARYAGANJ STANDS OUT – it is the best I have had in my life so far…….

Great story telling

Like I mentioned, the staff is efficient & professional but not warm, not forthcoming – pretty mechanical in transactions. More American style hospitality than Indian.

Note by the co owners – Raghav Jaggi (grandson of Mr Kundan lal Jaggi) & his partner

Individually the staff members seemed to be Nice guys, Constantly working. I think they Need to be trained to keep an eye on all the tables, without intruding. That training is completely missing.

Fiddling with the menu card

So guests have to keep waiting initially for a eye contact, to call for placing orders / clearing the lates / asking for the bill etc. When this did not work for about 5 minutes, we had to wave, & wave & wave, like Tom hanks in cast away!!! Once , in desperation, I thought I will have to bang Thalis !!!

Certain orange loving people might not be impressed but it’s interesting fact for a legacy diner

The interiors were very well lit. Fit for large gatherings as well as for small. Looked very good to me.

Part of interiors

The bar area in the corner looked attractive.

Bar area

There was a dessert counter on the facade, from where customers who have dined elsewhere, had the choice to buy.

Dessert counter – customers can buy dessert from here, without entering the restaurant

Retro songs were playing in the backdrop – not original soundtracks though. Sounded more like a remake.

‘Inventors of butter chicken & dal makhni’

Loved the food & beverages. Had a great time. Polished off the food to the last drop!!!!

This is how our plate & bowls looked after the dinner

Chef has put huge attention to detail in every aspect of food – taste, texture, flavor, temperature……. remarkable

Dal makhani story – attributing success to someone else’s idea

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

As we placed our order, green Chutney & crunchy onions arrived.

Green Chutney had robust flavors of the ingredients but was not too hot. Textures of leaf cud also b felt. It was nice to see that unlike most other places, the Chutney was Not made into a paste….

We started with ‘the original chicken pakora’. We usually never order deep fried food (u might hv noticed in my earlier posts). We ordered this dish as an exception, seeing the highlight – ‘secret recipes of 1947’.

Original chicken pakora that I call Kundan fried chicken

This Kundan Fried Chicken (I just named it that) was way superior than its global namesake (I mean acronym-sake). It was Super juicy – most Indian eateries can’t get the chicken as juicy. We cud see & feel (in the mouth) Green chillies that added a bit to the ‘hot’ness of the dish but a lot more to flavor. Just right amount of chillies. Ginger made its presence felt. The Spices were not overpowering. Really loved the Predominant flavor of meat. Salt ratio was perfect.

Original chicken pakora that I call Kundan fried chicken

Rate it 4.75/5

Juicy inside
Juicy inside

Masala thums up – after deliberating on this drink vs shikanji, finally ordered this. The drink was made from spices mixed & roasted Inhouse. We guessed after taking a few sips – cross checked with the guy who was serving. Beauty of the drink was the flavor of spices & the balance of taste – the fact that the taste was not over sweet. Loved it.

Masala thums up

Rate it 4.5/5.

Masala thums up

Laung gavacha was another drink that frankly got our attention initially due to the name. The description then convinced us to order.

Laung gavacha

It was a subtle (both flavor & taste) drink with a citrus base & flavor of laung (clove). It was not too sweet & flavor of cloves was enjoyable. Unusual. Rate it 4/5

Laung gavacha

Daal makhni – this was simply Outstanding. Unlike other places, this had No overflowing white cream. No butter dripping from the top. Grains of the Kali daal & rajma were very distinct & had a very enjoyable bite. Beautifully smooth, yet rustic in a way. Outstanding to taste, perfect in texture. Pure joy.

Daal makhni

Rate it 4.75/5

Daal makhni

Butter chicken – this was the best butter chicken I have had till this date in this life!!!! On eating this, for the first time I realized why there is so much song & dance about this dish. Tried butter chicken in Moti mahal deluxe, Gulati, havmor, baba’s, Mughal mahal & numerous places so far – distinctly remember baba’s for its smoothness.

Butter chicken

But no butter chicken I have ever had was remotely similar to the butter chicken at Daryaganj – except the name ‘butter chicken’. The one at Daryaganj had a coarse & lumpy gravy, had no cream floating on top, had a full blast tomato flavor while not being tomatoeeeeks!!!, it was mild on hotness (chilly) quotient, perfectly tart & perfectly seasoned. Wow. Rate it 4.95/5

Butter chicken
Butter chicken
Butter chicken

For dessert we ordered was kulfi falooda. The kulfi was rich & nice. Falooda was given in abundance. The flavored syrup on top was in right proportion – more of it wud Hv made the dish over-sweet. Excellent. Rate it 4.5/5

Kulfi falooda
Kulfi falooda

We also asked for 1 plate gulab jamun to be packed. The gulab jamuns were simply Outstanding. Perfect density prevented extra ras from entering the gulab jamun & making it over sweet / porous. A tad bit of salt , I guess from reduced milk, balanced the taste well. For a long while I cud not think of a better gulab jamun in town except for stalwarts like chaina ram etc. Rate it 4.5/5

Gulab jamuns
Gulab jamuns

Overall rating of Daryaganj averages out to 4.5/5

Saunf & misri came in this fancy box – saunf on one side & misri on other, so that customer cud mix proportions as per taste

On a previous occasion, we had ordered thru Zomato, tandoori chicken from here. They delivered to gurugram from delhi aerocity, inspite of having an outlet in ambience mall gurugram.

We enjoyed all the food with plain tandoori roti

The tandoori chicken was ok ish when we received it at Home. It was a bit dry. It had become a bit cold after the long journey. The masala sprinkled on top was good. Am sure it will taste better & different if ordered at restaurant. That’s on my list for next time, & also the saag that I have heard very good things about.

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