RESTAURANT REVIEW: DHABA BY CLARIDGES, SAKET

 For when you want dhaba food without the ambience

I’m never surprised by North Indians who can’t get by without their daily dose of food from home. North Indian food, including of course the wham-bam culinary style of Mughlai, is the epitome of comfort food. It’s unfortunate this style of cooking isn’t globally applauded like the French and Nordic. The Dhaba by Claridges jumps headlong into this hardcore heartiness and almost every dish on the menu falls square in the middle of the holy trifecta of cream, meat and masala.Looks Like

The Dhaba’s décor is a playful interpretation of the bright, kitschy dhaba/ truck art which frankly has outlived its charm. While the cutesy slogans and pop art motifs are tired and ubiquitous this is the kind of restaurant where they belong and this context makes the space bright. This is the Mamagoto school of design, young, funny and lively. Sit up on the faux truck if you can – it would also make for a great space to host a bollywood theme party.

Tastes Like
For a restaurant in a mall the food here is delightfully authentic. The Vegetarian Galouti Kebab is the culinary equivalent of chancing upon a unicorn. An absolute must try, even if you’re non-vegetarian and want to have the actual Galouti, just to see the depth of flavor and the richness imbued in vegetarian food at the hands of a skilled chef. This display of skill flashes again in the unabashedly flashy Mutton Tawa Masalaand once again in the Mutton Seekh Kebabs, so soft they hold together just long enough for you to get them in your mouth. For the mains, don’t miss the almost too much to handle Baalti Meat, cheekily served in an adorable copper bucket.
It’s very unlikely you’re going to have room left for dessert and if you do I would recommend you go back and hit the list of kebabs again. If you must have something sweet, the Phirni is a cool and restrained way to end this binge of a meal. I really appreciate the Dhaba’s dedication to play to its strengths – the upscale dhaba theme is loyally carried from the décor and across the menu. This food is fireworks and excess and the chef is pulling each punch.
Connoisseurs will object to the shiny, cuteness of the place but the Dhaba is a great dining option for when you want to reward yourself for surviving Saket’s malls and also a perfect way to introduce Dilli ka khaana to tourists fearing Delhi belly.

Feels Like

Places like Mia Bella need to take notes on how the Dhaba is run. A tad twee for my taste but they deserve every compliment for knowing what they’re selling and selling it well. The service is helpful and breaks into choreographed dance periodically which I found adorable when I got over my initial surprise. The price is reasonable for the quantity and quality of food being served. If only they’d open up outside a mall.