Purana Villa offers kebabs, curries with a twist (IANS Food Review, With images)March 20th, 2010 - 9:26 am ICT by IANS
By Azera Rahman
If you’re game for some innovative Indian cuisine, try a visit to Purana Villa in South Delhi. It offers a delightful spread of delicate kebabs, currys and kormas - some cooked with a tasty twist.
Located in the Jor Bagh market, its decor is simple. The first thing that will probably catch your eye in the 48-seater eatery is the tilted glassware on the tables.
According to captain Daljeet Chopra, one of the two owners, the cutlery has been specially designed for the restaurant. A ship adorns one of the rough-edged walls, a reminder of Chopra’s merchant navy days, which he left behind to venture into the hospitality sector.
The six-month-old restaurant has a wide range of starters.
The chef recommends the rann-e-gosht - mutton leg, marinated and spiced and cooked over slow heat in the tandoor - or the kandhari paneer tikka - cottage cheese stuffed with pomegranate and beetroot and cooked over slow heat.
The burra boti is another example of innovative cuisine. It is a combo of the traditional burra kebab and the boti kebab. The nalli kebab, which Chopra claims is the best in Delhi, is also great.
The restaurant has a Hyderabadi food festival going on till March 31, during which one could try the chicken lukmi or its vegetarian version. The lukmi is a whole wheat bread, crisp patty stuffed with a chicken or a paneer filling. However, since it’s a dry preparation, not everyone may enjoy it.
The diwan-e-khas is a winner though. An assortment of three kinds of kebabs - patthar ke kebab, seekampuri kebab and fish kebab - these sure titillate the taste buds.
In the main course, the murgh hara masala, a spicy coconut and coriander chicken curry from the festival menu, is a must try with its delicately tangy flavour. So is the Hyderabadi style chicken korma.
In the vegetarian section, the lasooni saag, which is spinach dominantly flavoured with garlic and cumin is a gastronomic delight.
The restaurant also has a section of salads for the “health conscious”. The prawn salad with mustard dressing is a topper in this one, but so is the gosht-ke-sev which is a salad of shredded barbequed mutton tossed with assorted greens and herbs.
An interesting feature in the menu with all its 75 items is that beneath each page is a little note on food history. So underneath the rice section you have the history of rice cultivation, or somewhere else, the kukula pakva defined as bread cooked in an oven pit.
The liquor menu similarly has notes scribbled on each page.
The dessert menu has traditional sweet dishes like the mauj ka meetha made of bananas and the double meetha which is the bread pudding. The gul-e-firdaus, which is made of bottle gourd and tapioca, is however a winner.
A meal for two would cost approximately Rs.1,200.
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Tags: azera, chicken curry, chicken korma, cottage cheese, currys, gosht, hospitality sector, hyderabadi style, indian cuisine, jor bagh, merchant navy, mutton leg, nalli, navy days, slow heat, taste buds, tasty twist, vegetarian section, vegetarian version, whole wheat bread