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On a palki to a bygone era


Recreating the old world charm.

ABUTTING THE famed Amravathi Restaurant on Residency Cross Road, Palki is a new little air-conditioned restaurant that can seat 54 in its long narrow hall. The wait-staff in pathan dress of knee length shirt and loose pantaloons a la frontiersmen, and wood-panelled walls with carvings of palki (palanquin) transport you to a bygone era. To enhance the motif of early last century, there are old-fashioned hanging lamps while framed pictures depict people of north India of those days.

Piped music of vocal classical and folk variety is appropriately selected to go with the ambience. The menu here is Indian and tandoori. The selection includes tandoori platter (Rs. 325) - an assortment of non-vegetarian kababs. Portions at Palki are generous. In fact, each main dish, be it saloni fish tikka (zafrani flavoured) or murgh kasuri kabab (boneless chicken in kasoori methi, cooked in tandoor) would be enough for two. This is true of all its main dishes. It offers gulnar kabab (minced lamb done with the chef's spices in a tandoor) and also the hot and fiery Noorjahanai kabab (boneless breast of chicken stuffed with minced ginger, green chillies, coriander, and topped with egg).

For vegetarians, sabzi sheek kabab (Rs. 85) is a popular choice. It is a spiced vegetable and potato mixture rolled on skewers and tandoored. The paneer Sikander shahi is fresh paneer with tomatoes and capsicum marinated in spices. Or one can try the Simla mirchi bajji (spiced and fried in besan flour).

It offers a wide choice of rotis and naans, priced between Rs. 15 and Rs. 24. This section offers misi roti (made from gram flour), aloo pudhina paratha, gosht kheema paratha, lacha paratha, rumali roti, and the intriguing cheese mirchi kulcha. The rice platter includes Banarasi pulao (with fruits/vegetables), gosht or murgh biryani, and sabzi pulao. Basmati rice is used in all the rice items.

Makhani, kurchan (paneer cubes with onion, capsicum green chilies), palak, and the kadai paneer (fiery hot, simmered with vegetables in a kadai gravy) are the kadai items served here.

One can also opt for khoya mutter (green peas and khoya cooked in cashew creamy gravy), masaledar alu gobi, baby dum alu, bhindi masala, or bhuna baingan bharta.

The malai kofta is a speciality here. It is delicately flavoured paneer dumplings simmered in a Mughlai cashew nut gravy.

For chicken lovers, there are boneless varieties such as murgh do piaza and murgh makhni, while the chef takes pride in the tender boneless lamb curry - Kashmiri rogan josh. Machhi raha (tandoori boneless fish), machhi masaledar (Punjabi style), or jhinga masaledar (prawns cooked with Kashmiri mirchi and spices are the other items on offer.)

Despite the generous main dish portions, one should not miss trying out the interesting variety of starters.

There is paneer tiranga and kasuri kabab in the veg section, and juduwa sheek, murgh Akbari in the non-veg section. There are similar starters, which have mutton, fish, or prawns.

Apart from these, there are daals such as methi, tadka, and bukhara daals. Not listed in the menu but supplied on request would be the mildly spicy and scrumptious alu jeera, a main dish with yogurt on the side. The usual mixed raita and green salad and papads are also on offer. In desserts, it offers only one item - gajar halwa. Topped with shredded nuts, it is so exquisite that it melts in the mouth.

Palki can be contacted on 5580440.

ARUN BHATIA

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