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Pehli Manzil, top food...


EVER FELT bored after eating the same dishes at New Delhi's restaurants? Now you can eat Awadhi dishes blended with cream. At Pehli Manzil, a restaurant and bar on Sri Aurobindo Marg. They are prepared by chefs whose skills have been honed under the guidance of traditional khansamas. Though the chefs don't want to divulge their ingredients while preparing these dishes one can get the taste of cream while eating some non-vegetarian dishes.

The décor makes one feel as if one has walked right inside a courtyard of the royals. On the wall are hung hand paintings of Bahadur Shah Zafar, Wajid Ali Shah and Raja of Patiala.

Brainchild of Niena Aurora and Akash Sharma, Pehli Manzil started three years ago. Even as many restaurants have cluttered seating arrangement, at Pehli Manzil there is a respectable distance between one seat and another. This helps the customer feel free. Rights of admission are reserved. The clientele predominantly comprises families. While eating the dinner one is regaled by ghazal singer, Ram Bai.

One starts off with Barrah Kababs. They are mouth-watering but slightly heavy. Priced at Rs.163 these big pieces of mutton are eaten as starters. Along with them one slowly sips mock tail, Christabell - a concotion of mango, orange, pineapple juice with fresh cream - which acts as an appetiser for the main course. Seedhi Saadi Seekh, a blend of minced lamb mixed with exotic herbs and spices, is priced at Rs.199. For the vegetarians there is Bewazani Paneer Tikka - pieces of cottage cheese - Gobhi Ke Phool, Bharwan Aloo and Subz Seekh Kababs.

For the main course, one takes Roomali Roti with Rara Murg, chef's finger-licking blend of chicken mince and chicken pieces in onion coriander gravy. Then one gorges on Murg Malai Tikka. The flavour of the melting cheese while eating Murg Malai Tikka only makes this highly specialised dish more enjoyable. Bhuna Gosht, an authentic Punjabi combination of spinach and lamb in a mild onion gravy, is good. But the best dish is certainly Dal Anjeer Makhani, which is simmered overnight on a slow fire. For dessert one tries the ever-old reliable phirni.

MADHUR TANKHA

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