Wednesday, September 18, 2013

South Indian Snacks Corner, Jantar Mantar

Important - Please note that this place is not open on Sundays.

For my first 2-3 visits to this place, I never asked the name of the place at all. Food is so yummy that you forget everything else. But then, during a visit, when I asked the name of the place from the guy who stands there taking the orders most of the times, he just said 'South Indian Snacks Corner'. The most generic name (and maybe most apt) one can have for such a place.

For once, this could be just another fill-in-my-food kind of place but run out of a small kiosk and its adjoining one for past many years - some say around 20 years, this place dishes out amazing flavors through its hot South Indian snacks on dirt cheap rates. I think the most priced item on the menu would still be of 70-80 rupees only. Even the parking in some of the malls cost more than this in Delhi. Dirt cheap does not mean low on taste. The preparation of food is awesome here - I have never ever eaten any hard Idlis here or over-fried Dosas here. Move over Sagar Ratnas...

The place does not have a sitting area at all and you can see utensils being cleaned in a corner. It is like an half open kitchen with a huge boiling cauldron of Sambhar just outside of the kiosk. If you are too much into ambiance, move on to CP. But if you want to enjoy Delhi food where it is best then this is the place to be. The popularity of the place can be seen anytime you go there with sufficient enough attendance but during lunch hours you can see hordes of loyal office goers from the neighbourhood for their value-for-money meals. The service is amazingly fast and you can enjoy coffee/lassi/shakes from other shops around.

Coming back to food, I do not know where to start from and where to end. You can pick any item from the menu and it would be wonderful in taste. Everything here comes with pure coconut chutney (no dal chana in there), hot Sambhar and the Red chutney. All of them are just rightfully spiced - nothing over the board. On the main dish front, Dosas are just appropriately filled with stuffing and are never over-fried. Idlis are appropriately steamed and soft to enjoy them being dipped in Sambhar. Dal Vadas are not much interesting but till now I have never eaten Dal Vadas which can just blow my mind. Sambhar Vada is one of my favorite here since they are appropriately fried and make wonderful combination with their Sambhar. And this is the only place, where I do eat Upma. Yes, the Upma is just amazing - no fancy ingridents there - just the mix of coconut and dal. They do have other varieties of Dosas and then there is a dish of the day as well. Maybe someday, I will get bored with their regular fare and would move to more dishes but as of now the regular fare is keeping me engaged. Having said that, Rava Kesari is a good way to end the meal here - no fancy stuff but an honest home-food feeling.

And I think "home food feeling" is the best description of this place.

Average cost for two would not be more than 120 rupees

South Indian Snacks Corner
In front of designated protest area, Jantar Mantar
Jantar Mantar Road
New Delhi

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Andhra Bhawan Canteen

Andhra Bhawan Canteen at last - after living for more than 10 years in Delhi.

But as it is said - there is always a right time for everything. So, mine happened on one Saturday in early September when I finally reached for a lunch at Andhra Bhawan Canteen. First thing which I noted is lack of proper parking - one has to park on the road alongside. After driving in circles for two times, I decided to park in the free parking lot of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, just across the road. This looks like a good and more secure way of parking.

On reaching at the canteen,there were people already waiting. For a second, we thought of turning back but then I remembered that their management is efficient and one does not have to wait for too long. Good that we stayed for the experience - we had to wait only for 4 minutes or so.

They serve breakfast from 7:30 to 10, lunch from 12 to 2:45 and dinner from 7:30 to 10. Ordering is simple as there are fixed menu option. Breakfast has idli + dosa + vada along with tea/coffee while Lunch & Dinner has two veg. curries, plain rice, dal pappu, sambhar, rasam, curd, sweet, papad, pickle, and puri (lunch) or phulka (dinner). They serve Hyderabadi Dum Biryani on Sundays only. Plus you have options to take non-veg side dishes like chicken curry, chicken fry, mutton curry, mutton fry, fish curry, fish fry or prawn curry as an add-on.

Pretty simple for someone to make a choice. Prices are just too low to be real. Pay, take a token and then wait for your turn. And while you wait, do make sure to take a note of the efficiency of managing such a place. Place is just a simple-no-frills setup, do not expect fine dinning here. And take a note of the guy managing the show - an amazing guy who calls out the token numbers in such an interesting way, alternating between English, Hindi and Telgu. Just amazing.

Sitting could be shared - although we got lucky with a full table to ourselves. As soon as one we were seated, thali was served, and then there were always servers running around shouting "currrrry", "riiiiice" and so on. Dal Pappu was amazing - I could just have taken the full thali only for that Dal Pappu. Rest of the stuff was also fine - but nothing that amazing. Chicken Fry was typical though and loved it a lot.

Overall, the experience was over in less than 8 minutes. Phew!!! This is not the place if you are looking for any indulgence. This is basic canteen but the food is worth a shot. A must have (at least one)...

Average cost for two would be around Rs.300 - this is the best part.

Andhra Pradesh Bhawan
1, Ashoka Road
New Delhi

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lighthouse 13, MGF Metropolitan Mall, Saket

Went to Lighthouse 13 once last year (2012) while we were roaming around in the Saket malls. Since it was Sunday, opted for the Sunday brunch (or buffet) but it left us a lot disappointed. Seriously, the place is charging too much for literally very average food.

Seating is good, music was good but the main lifeline (food) of restaurant was very weak. The food buffet preparations were ordinary. They had nearly everything covered - Indian, Continental, Europeran etc... but I think that is the trap which they have fallen into. Too much options are actually spoiling the quality of the food there. The hotness quotient of the food was also missing - so the breads were actually coming out not-so-hot from behind the scenes. Overall, a disaster for us to go there, I must say.

Have not gone back to the place since then although Saket features regularly on our shopping or weekends activities. Maybe someday we will try to have courage to go for a-la-carte there and hopefully see much better results than last visit.

Till then, Lighthouse 13 is not where my ship is going to anchor :)

Average cost for two would be around Rs.2000 (without alcohol).

If you still want to go, here are the contact details:-

Lighthouse 13
13, 1st Floor, 
MGF Metropolitan Mall, 
Saket, New Delhi

Phone - 011-49422265