The best food of Delhi’s state bhawans

#1 Jun 4th, 2017, 15:12
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Mumbai and Delhi are often pitted against each other when it comes to the title of “food capital of India”. Ardent Mumbaikars vouch for the fresh seafood, while Delhi loyalists gush about the street food. However, the one thing that tips the scale towards the latter is the presence of the state bhawans—or more specifically, their canteens.

Now, if you’re not a local, you may visit the city’s more popular restaurants, perhaps drop by Old Delhi’s famed eateries, and leave without even hearing about these bhawans. This, however, would be a shame. For it is within the walls of these often grungy spaces that you often find exceptional regional food, minus the fuss and with an extra sprinkling of nostalgia.

A state bhawan serves as a guesthouse for state officials, and the office of the residential commissioner of the state, and almost every bhawan's canteen is open to the public. You only need to find out their timings, holidays and the best ones that should be bumped up on your list. I say almost every, as I have been turned back from the gates of the Jammu and Kashmir Bhawan. On another occasion, I found out only upon arriving at Rajasthan Bhawan that their famed lal maas is not served every day and had to settle for an insipid vegetarian thali instead.

Some bhawans have given out their canteens to private restaurants or caterers to run. By doing so, the likes of Assam Bhawan and Bihar Niwas have upped the game, and there is a marked difference in the experience.
The Andhra Bhawan canteen is perhaps the most famous, and for good reason (more on that later). But the one that consistently delivers unbelievably flavorful regional food is the one at Bihar Niwas in Chanakyapuri.


Potbelly.

Run by The Potbelly Café, the food here breaks all myths about Bihari cuisine being limited to litti chokha. Dishes range from mutton litti to palak pooris, from sattu drinks to an exceptional pineapple upside down cake. And the chutneys are great too.


Litti mutton at Potbelly.

Right next door stands the guesthouse of a state from the other side of the country—Goa. The casual ambience of the canteen embodies the easy-going vibe of the state, with a foosball table and putting set available for your use.
The usual suspects are all served here—vindaloo, cafreal and others. But it is the prawn butter garlic and chilli crab (served with pav) that almost have you believing that you can hear the waves outside the window.


Chilli crab and butter garlic prawns.

Livemint
#2 Jun 5th, 2017, 05:52
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Originally Posted by aarosh View Post Livemint
Thanks. It's almost enough to get us to re-up our visas and get our sorry backsides back to India.
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Very well then I contradict myself,
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#3 Jun 5th, 2017, 10:24
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#3
Maharashtra Bhawan food is quite good as is Gujarat Bhawan's.
#4 Jun 5th, 2017, 11:10
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#4
Bombay and Delhi maybe pitted against each other by people from Bombay. Delhiites harbour no such delusions.

Pot Belly (not a Bhawan, in Shahpur Jat) is very good. However Goa Bhavan is overrun by roaches (or was when I last visited 3 years ago). If looking for Goan food in Delhi one should consider ordering from Godinhos's, - a family run delivery joint based in Gurgaon. For Bong food, pass on Bong Bhavan in favour of Oh Calcutta!

For Oriya food, Mandaa in HKV also has great food.

Moving farther east, one gets an excellent choice of assorted north eastern dishes at Yeti in GK2. Naga Bhavan on Aurangzeb Road (now renamed to Dr. Abdul Kalam Road) does a good thaali but Nagaland's kitchen in Green Park is much superior.

https://www.google.co.in/search?q=na...&client=safari

There is also a Sikkimese restaurant now in GK. Nimtho. https://www.google.co.in/search?q=si...12666245831205 Very good.

Great choices for Tibetan dishes in Majnu Ka Tila and Afghan/Persian ones in Lajpat Nagar and Jangpura.

Kerala House near Jantar Mantar Delhi also does a cheap and great thaali. (If looking for something more upscale from Kerala then the options are none too few--Coast Cafe in hkv is one, Sanadige in Chanakyapuri also does great Mangalorean fish and crab and squid for example, in addition to a host of Mallu dishes).

That's all for now.
#5 Jun 5th, 2017, 13:08
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#5

The Lunch thali at Assam Bhawan

Once i tried the duck meat available with Lunch thali at Assam Bhawan, New Delhi...and puffed rice (muri in bengali) with creame and jaggery (liquid "gur") as dessert dish, and the welcome drink was fantastic (the lemon yellow colored drink with a sliced green chili and few coriander leaves floating).
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#6 Jun 5th, 2017, 13:14
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@Bholebaba, once I tried for the pork dish of Nagaland house, called them up in the morning and they confirmed that canteen will be available for general public. But when I arrived for the lunch they told general public will not be allowed for the day since their CM will be visiting.
So I got diverted to green park and Nagaland's kitchen pork dishes were awesome. First I had pork rib fries with beer, and then pork meat cooked with raja mircha. And the fish "chutney" they served were awesome. [ The Nagaland food stall in INA dilli hut also serves similar fish chutney with pork dishes.]
#7 Jun 5th, 2017, 13:21
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#7
Next time I visit CP, will definitely try the Kerala house appam and fish curry dishes.
Usually I visit the Saravana Bhawan in Janpath. It's not part of any state bhawan. And the food is delicious.
Attaching a standard thali photograph.

Also, try the Dahi (Curd)+Mini Idli dish- it's a special dish (may not appear in the standard menu) you can ask them to prepare.
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#8 Jun 5th, 2017, 14:05
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#8
Rajat I will punch you if post anything more. Here I am stuck eating chapati and arbi and you on the other hand are torturing me with these eloquent descriptions of gastronomical delights
#9 Jun 5th, 2017, 20:09
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#9
Okk... I am not able to locate my old photos of lunches in state bhawans!!
Try tamarind pickle with arbi... It's delicious
#10 Jun 6th, 2017, 22:35
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#10
Oh my god this is the most valuable post I've seen in a log time! I think I'll print it out before my next trip to Delhi.

I went to Andhra Bhavan a couple of times, years ago, and it was great. Been to some NE state's bhavan and it was fine, but I forget which it was.
#11 Jun 6th, 2017, 23:25
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#11
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Originally Posted by RahulDeva View Post Rajat I will punch you if post anything more. Here I am stuck eating chapati and arbi and you on the other hand are torturing me with these eloquent descriptions of gastronomical delights
The Saravana Bhawan has an expat branch in Tooting, South London, my mates and I regularly make a pilgrimage there when Janpath is a bit far for lunch.

Oh, and no-one can move for the rest of the day afterwards.

The tiffin thali in janpath branch is the reason the Brits were ousted from India, after indulging in that there was no question of pertinent movement or thought.

Bliss
#12 Jun 7th, 2017, 00:27
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#12
Foodies of indiamike unite and grab your forks and knives. Let's plan a lunch at bihar/goa or andhra bhawan
#13 Jun 7th, 2017, 03:05
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Originally Posted by captain bruce View Post The Saravana Bhawan has an expat branch in Tooting, South London.
They also have a branch in Paramatta, Sydney. It is not very popular due to average quality of food and above average prices.
#14 Jun 7th, 2017, 17:25
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#14
I have always found Andhra bhavan to be overrated, nothing exceptional, and sometimes the poories want to make you cry for wasting lunch experience at the place, oily, flat and hard.
If you find my posts confrontationist, please bear, I am an old frustrated guy who has nothing better to do than sit on rocking chair and curse the world whole day
#15 Jun 7th, 2017, 19:31
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@jitu-ji, you must try gun powder with ghee and rice, and the other curries, chutnies with rice. Poories are never Andhra speciality.
There is one round shaped dry chili variety, used in various rice dishes and in curries, awesome flavour. Muddle it and enjoy the rice and curry. I use it for jeera rice.

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