Do you like savouring Street Food? Tell me your views friends, but for me, I love relishing them in their locale surroundings on the streets, standing near a Thela and gulping them with my hands and licking my chutney covered fingers.
India is world famous for its street foods, and every 100 km that one travels; he finds different varieties of delicious food with local twists. While at home in a metro city, at times we find it difficult to get some special food when we want it. We do have a solution for this too. Over the last one year or so, here in Delhi we have seen growth of quite a few chains of upscale restaurants getting into the business of serving street food in lavish settings and decors.
But the irony is that most of them after serving exquisite cuisines have succumbed to the demands of their high society clients and spoiled the street food ethics by doing fusion and mixing with international street food.
There still are a few, I mean very few ones who still haven’t taken this route to profits and stick to what they started with and still serve authentic street food. And luckily I was at one of these very few ones last week. Guys, its appropriately named, The G T Road and located in CP New Delhi.
This place has a hypnotic ambiance and the interiors are simple but elegant. And the most important thing is this that even after almost 6 months of treating their clients with authentic street foods from all over the northern parts of India, they still maintain the finger licking quality with the same kind of hospitality that a street vendor shows to his customers. To add on to the ice, the management understands the importance of variety and choices and that too at rock bottom prices. Today GTR’s prices are capable of making a street side vendor also shy away. The restaurant has brought back grand trunk road to life and serves delicacies from UP, MP, Punjab, Haryana, Pakistan, Afghanistan etc (all of which fall on the grand trunk road).
I was there during the Independence Day week and the restaurant was decorated in our tri-colour and also with kites. Kite flying form an important of Independence celebrations in North India, particularly Delhi.
Well coming back to The G T ROAD, I was amazed to go through their menu full of Indian surprises, including dishes of different places of entire 2600 km stretch of famous G T road. They only have buffet menu for the mains, but you can choose the starters from a wide variety.
As I sat on my table and went through the menu, I slowly moved into a state of food nirvana. I was served the exotic welcome drink as soon as I made myself comfortable, the cool refreshing home style Aam Panna. And soon my table was flooded with almost everything in the starter section of the menu. The Barbeque table was filled up with sticks with the veggie options; Achari Paneer Tikka from Amritsar, Teekha Ananas from Kanpur, UP, Aloo Chop from Dhanbad, Kumbh Sabz bahar from Varansi, Bhutte ke Charkhe from Patiala, and Malai Phool from Kannauj. I was also served Palak Patta Chaat and Raj Kachori from Rajasthan separately from the Chaat Bar.
Of all the above, the most I liked were the Raj Kachori and the Panner Tikka. The cubes of cottage cheese were perfectly marinated with achari flavours and melted as soon as they entered my mouth. And the Raj Kachori made me go back to memory lanes from Kolkata where I think I have had the best Kachoris till date.
Though every starter was unique, but I felt they can cut down on the numbers of the starters they serve. As most of them have the same spices and chaat masalas; after eating 2-3 dishes it becomes difficult to properly judge the dish honestly. I recommended this to the manager on duty and he too agreed with my views.
I was requested to now try on the exhaustive buffet spread. It really was hard for me to find space on my plate as I filled up katori after katori at the counter. The salad bar did invite me to come, but I avoided. You see, there was so much in front of me. I finally settled down for Dal Makhani from Amritsar, Kadahi Paneer from Ludhiana, Bhindi Do Piaza from Varanasi, Khumb Matar Masala from Kanpur, Kadhi Pakora from Jalandhar, Cholar Pula from Sonargaon, Mixed yellow Daal, and Lauki ka Raita. By the time I cam back with my plate and hands full the waiter had already served a hot roti on my table. I also ordered a Mango smoothie to go with my main course.
My plates were full, there was absolutely no place and you can see that in the pic. But my greed was not satisfied. I still wanted to get more from the wide selection of salad, Raita and at least 18 types of veggie dishes. But then I controlled and settled down to savour the Lazeez khana on my table. The dishes worth mentioning here are the Choler Pulao, yellow Daal and Bhindi Do Piaza. I am a big lover of Bhindi if it is cooked right, and the fact that I went for a second helping of these three dishes can tell you how tasty these were.
When I was filling up my plates with mains, I was constantly pulled in by the Desserts counter. It was quite difficult to resist but then I had to leave them with a promise to come back.
So I returned to fulfill my promises just like a genuine lover going back to his beloved. And I stood there mesmerized, like a lover standing awestruck in front of his beloved. There was an impressive display of about 18-20 different Indian sweets waiting me to pick them up. I once again had a hard time choosing and filling up my plates. I decided to take Kulfi Gulkand of Kannauj, Phirni of Lahore, Imarti of Etawah, Rajbhog of Kolkata, Sheer Khurma of Peshawar, Afgani Burfi of Kabul, Mathura’s Peda, Patna’s Balushahi, Etawah’s Lauki ki Burfi, Bardhman’s Rosmolai, and also ordered Jalebies to be served live on my table.
That’s a lot of sweets, right guys…
Well, that’s me – a guy with a big big sweet tooth. My near and dear ones say that its quite easy to feed me, I can just finish up my meals with sweets only. So there I was, savouring those mouth-watering sweets and feeling heavenly.
The desserts worth mentioning are the Afgani Burfi, a vanilla based ice-cream with a freshness twist by adding fresh rose petal and Kewara essence, Kulfi Gulkand which filled my mouth with Gulkand essence and the Lauki ki Burfi which had all the flavours of fresh lauki with a sweet tinge.
Well, guys I savoured all this even when I had to go for another tasting within next 15 minutes at a different location. But you see, I just couldn’t stop myself in overfeeding myself with the flavours of my favourite street food filled up in every corner of the restaurant.
And at the end, as I started walking out, the vintage car parked at right at the entrance reminded me of the great tastes of the stretch of the grant trunk road that passes through most fo the North Indian states. And guess what I was chased by my waiter till the gates, just like a normal local street food vendor will do when I miss out on tasting something from his Thela. This time though it was for Paan and Digestive churans, and there was an impressive collection of these too.
Guys, get up and head straight for the Grand Trunk Road; the real one for some authentic street food, and if you cant then come and try out the authentic collections at this restaurant – The G T Road.
Food: 4.5/5 Drinks: 4/5 Service: 4.5/5 Ambiance 4/5
Address: M Block Connaught place, Delhi.
Cost for two: INR 1500 approx
All pics by Pradeep Chamaria for exatraveller.
Disclaimer: The review is based on our actual tastings. Actual experience may vary when you visit the place.