Ramadan or Ramzan is a holy treasured month. It is a month long austerity of millions of people to abstain from food and drink; which also means the purification of the soul. Fasting during Ramadan, is a time where love to Allah is shown through self control and increased devotion.
Having said all this, Ramadan is also a great month to enjoy all the scrumptious treats prepared to break the fast, with the meal well known as ‘Iftar’. Be it home-cooked or lip smacking treats outside, the list is never ending. If you are in Delhi and if you love to explore the old world culture of “Purani Dilli”, Ramadan is the best time to venture out – few of the dishes being exclusive for the time. To celebrate the spirit of the food and to provide a gastronomic experience for its patrons –The Park, New Delhi – one of the highly rated luxury hotels in Delhi organised a well thought-out evening of culinary trail called as ‘The Park Ramadan Walk’ – simultaneously in Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore & Kolkata.
The tour started from the Hotel lobby, where some 20-22 guests assembled. Mostly everyone was meeting each other for the first time, so time was taken to get people to familiarize with each other. Over a cup of tea, we talked to the vivacious Executive Chef, Mr. Abhishek Basu – who would be leading the walk and be our host & dost for the evening about the idea behind the event. With the foundation of ‘Anything But Ordinary’ – the team wants to give its patrons a never before experience of enjoying the oldest delicacies without the hassles. Everyone departed in hotel cars at the resolute time for the venue. The tour hence started with an introduction to the history of Jama Masjid by Chef Basu.
The tastes of Old Delhi are best enjoyed when you have a little something here, a little there. Taking in the lovely aromas and mesmerized by the huge pots of delicacies being prepared, the sights are to be behold. Already briefed by the Chef, we were to stop at four different eateries and sample different items there.
Anwar Food Corner – Our first stop, the owner himself very enthusiastically described his eateries finest delicacy – some exclusive for Ramadan. The feast started with generous portions of Chicken Haleem, Chicken Malai Tikka and Fried Fish. Haleem is a delicacy – meat, barley, wheat, lentils, spices and dry fruits – cooked together till each one absorbs the flavours of the others! Chicken Malai Tikka is very different from what is available generally and is in real terms a ‘malai tikka’ – smothered with a delicious layer of creamy concoction.
Al – Jawahar – Probably one of the most well known restaurants in the area – gets its name from our late PM – Mr Jawaharlal Nehru, who had back then during Independence dropped by in this place for a meal. The menu here was simple – Shami Kebab with Roomali roti.
Karim’s – This restaurant is synonymous with old Delhi and a set-menu was already decided. Having had a table after a wait – Seekh kebabs, Chicken Burra, Mutton Nahari and Khamiri roti adored our tables within minutes. Karim’s is known for their Mughlai dishes – and it lived up to its name. Seekh kebabs were succulent, Burra was loved by all. I felt that Nahari could have been a little spicier. The gastronomic exploration ended in Karim’s with their mildly sweet ‘Phirni’.
Haji – Ali Tea – To finish the culinary trail with a sweet note, we moved to Haji Ali tea point where multitude of aromatic ‘Sewaiyan’ were in preparation and had a lovely warm tea to digest all that had gone inside.
The evening filled with endless chatter and anecdotes ended on getting back to the hotel and a drop back to our homes. A box of chocolates came as a parting gift – a sweeter note to a sweet experience.
The experience was delightful – we came as strangers but were leaving as friends, had a 2 hour medley of cracking jokes, pulling legs, sharing experiences – ‘The Park’ knows how to satiate its guests with an overdose of specially made planning. To be part of the ‘Anything But Ordinary’ – ‘The Park Food Walk’ – just wait for the next one to be announced and hop on!
Review Credit: Abhik Dasgupta
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