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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Purani Dilli’s - AL Karam Kebab House - Satya Niketan Mkt......New Delhi..

AL Karam Kebab House, Satya Niketan, Opp.Venky's College, Benito Juarez Marg, New Delhi-110021........



Apart from its awesome monuments, the once-mighty Mughal dynasty also left Delhi with a rich culinary legacy known as Mughlai cuisine. The Muslims from western Asia brought their rich artistic and gastronomic culture to India. This influence lasted for more than 400 years and is now part of the Indian culinary culture.

The great Muslim rulers brought their panache and elegance of living to India's culinary scene.
The two colliding cultures resulted in a magnificent cuisine called Mughlai Cuisine.


And a foodie, especially like me cannot even think or imagine a life without Mughlai Cuisine….. Can have pizzas, burgers, pastas, red curries, noodles and much much more but when it comes to a wholesome , soul satiating meal  I go for mughlai food…… But the best Muslim food in real sense is available at Jama Masjid area in old Delhi…where it's not possible to go every time you have a craving for such food….. Its so crowded and chaotic in that area …that even thinking of going there makes some people drop that idea (i am one amongst them)


But nonetheless, luck has favored us all as one of the best joints of Jama Masjid (other than Karim’s – which is synonymous with Jama Masjid food – just for the name of it, I personally don’t relish Karim’s food anymore)……...Al Karam’s,  opened up its first outlet in Supermart 1, DLF 4, Gurgaon and then at Satya Niketan Mkt…..South Campus, Opp. Venky’s College, Delhi and now planning to open up at Sohna Road , Gurgaon.
 
Front of the Shop


     
Sigri (grill bbq) outside


I was not very sure and confident about their food ( I am being a little rude) initially as I had high expectations… …. But somewhere inside my mind, I wanted to prove myself wrong!!!

I was invited by Mr.Menon , the manager at the newly opened outlet on advise of the owner Mr. Varun Veigas….. I was a little unwell that day, but as per my commitment with them and of course the love of Food, I reached Al Karam’s at 9.pm. I was  greeted well by the owner and his very talented counterpart  Umez Khan ( Ummi Bhai ) who originally owns the Jama Masjid outlet started by his late father around 60 years back…….

The outlet has been done very nicely, white walls with brick design and lovely pics of Jama Masjid area with dark ceiling and hanging lights. The furniture is all wooden in teak finish with wooden benches in place, creating an old world charm and a feel of Jama Masjid food Joints……….

Walls inside

The Sigri or the grill is outside the shop….. With lovely kebabs on it being made fresh.....lovely aroma of coal and meat in the air…….

Mr.Veigas started our food journey with their Mutton Gilafi Kebab (seekh kabab) which was like heaven on earth ….The kebabs were sprinkled with butter which could be seen floating in the plate ( as per me it can be avoided)….. I must admit the best seekh kabab I have had lately…..full flavor of meat and spices and with some body and texture which a seekh kebab should always have……….

Gilafi Kebab

 Was served with something which usually is not part of our culinary fare in Delhi…… Roasted Duck (Batakh) and Roasted Quail ( Bateir ) (24 hours advance notice for preparation)…….. The roast Duck is a bit different than a chicken and a little big and robust ……the flavor is a little strong as compared to chicken and so is the taste ……  I was told by the owner about its marination , with spicy masalas and orange juice ….Yes orange juice which goes very well with duck meat bringing out the lovely flavors…..I loved it ……. The quail however is a small bird…..which has very low skin fat and cholesterol……. Is a healthy option for conscious people (not like us at all)……..taste was good….less meaty due to size…. It’s small and looks like a chick……well made ……

Roast Quail

Roast Duck

Now came the Hakeemi Chicken Tikka, not from a hakeem ( a muslim physician) at all…….. it’s a lovely variant of the Malai Chicken Tikka …… covered with a thick paste of cream, curd , butter and fenugreek leaves or as we know it kasoori methi ………….I loved this dish…..one can have full meal with this dish only….roomali roti  and this dish….will do it all…. The taste and the awesome flavors of the thick gravy like potion on this dish was heavenly………
Hakeemi Tikka

It was announced that now the main course dishes are going to follow…… The feeling of fullness had already started to sink in….. But we, the ardent eaters and that too meat …… bas aane do…aane do…..dekha jayega……..

We were presented with the Haleem, Kaju Keema (Mutton) and the Beef Nahari (specially brought from Jama Masjid Outlet) as they don’t prepare it at any other outlet….You can get Mutton Nahari at all other outlets…. … and see I spelled it as Nahari and not Nihari…….

 Nahari means a dish which is had in morning or Nahar time (after sunrise)….but now as the times passed and lifestyles and socio cultural norms modified this also became an anytime dish of the day ……. Balle Balle  ..….. this nahari dish was so authentic and well made …cannot describe in words at all….. the shorba could be seen somewhere under the layer of rogan floating atop…..which had all the yum yumm flavors of the aromatic spices and  long cooked meat and bone marrow…..with long fibres of meat in it………

The Haleem is usually made of beef or lamb meat with several spices, wheat, daliya and lentils …cooked for long hours resulting in a thick paste like dish…….. But to my dismay I was informed that their Haleem is made of chicken ….. I thought I won’t like this at all…so let’s avoid it….. But I was forced by Umez Bhai to try it once….So I did…and was taken aback by the awesome texture and the taste this dish had presented well with fried onions etc.….. .. Allah ka shukr hai…. I tasted it and did not miss it….. I will definitely have it and get it packed too on my next visit……….. Must Have
Haleem, Nahari and Keema

Keema  was typically made authentic mughal style…… coarsely ground meat with subtle spice flavors , lots of hari mirch (green chilli) spread with lots of Kaju Tukda ( cashew nut pieces)…. Very royal and rich……Tasted awesome….but How much could we eat ? Was the real question….. so had to just taste this and that……. Next time , when I visit this place, will have to dedicate my appetite for these dishes so as to give them full justice and their due……….

The taste and the hospitality were overwhelming ……People on other tables were also talking about the portion sizes and the taste of each dish…… The pricing is also not over the top…. Whereas the kind of food Al Karam’s is offering can be very well priced at a premium if it starts getting served in a fine dine restaurant………

“Arey nahin yaar…. Abhi desserts bhi hain….” Was my question when we were served the shahi tukda and the awesome Karachi Halwa…….The Shahi tukda is served piping hot (u can ask for cold version too) was very sweet and with rabdi , nuts and karaunda murabba in it…. Sweet all the way…..very unique and very good….. The Karachi Halwa, as told by Umez Bhai was from a well know halwai in sitaram bazaar (kishan) which they get fresh from him and serve at their outlets……. They also serve Phirni , Kulfi etc.
Shahi Tukda, Karachi Halwa and Glass Bottle Green (old world charm)


A kind suggestion for the passionate owners… ….It will be much better if you avoid the sprinkling of butter or margarine and cream and curd on each and every tandoori dish…… If it’s only on 1-2 special kebabs it will keep the novelty alive and cravings will remain……….But I still loved each dish and will come for more…….

There is a good variety of vegetarian food as well and I have heard from people that it is really good too…..but sorry I did not have it so cannot comment on it first handedly……

Overall I would say…. A must visit many a times….as so many dishes that too rich ones cannot be savored in 1 or 2 rounds……..

The passion of a young chap , Mr. Varun Veigas and the expertise of Umez Bhai…..has worked very well and got us one of the best Muslim food, outside purani dilli in the comfort of South Delhi and Gurgaon….

I wish them lots of luck and strength to remain as passionate as they are now…….to gain success in this culinary journey………….. Cheers!!!



  Ambience --- 4.0 / 5.0

       Pricing --- 4.5 / 5.0

         Taste --- 4.5 / 5.0

       Service--- 4.0 / 5.0

Overall  V.F.M. --4.5 / 5.0


Meal for Two --- Rs. 700/- to 800/-



AL KARAM KEBAB HOUSE ,
123-124, Satya Niketan , New Delhi -21
Ph. Nos. 98108 91490, 98188 78226
www.alkaramkebabhouse.com