Melt-in-the-mouth kulchas, dry fruit lassis and other divine recipes from the Pind are now available in the city. Oye Kake's food may be seriously rich, fairly oily and heavy on the stomach, but it's also indisputably delicious
Remember that catchy song from the Sunny Deol flick Gadar (2001), in which he crooned about leaving his heart behind at the corner of a street? Well, in your enthusiasm for Oye Kake's Punjabi food at Fort's traffic-ridden commercial area, you're likely to leave behind your door, bumper or side-view mirror. Pausing in this narrow lane could cost you your hearing, because vehicles lined up behind yours will not stop honking. In alleys like this one, the polite thing to do is to roll your window down and slide out.
The buttery Kadai Paneer with cheese kulchas is sheer bliss (bottom); The interiors give a pop art version of a village with colourful pots
Fortunately, the good old-fashioned Punjabi hospitality at the eatery instantly soothed our strained nerves. As soon as we were seated at a small table at the rear end of the room, a turbaned supervisor offered us a glass of "Amritsari paani". This is used in all their preparations, he tells us, and points out that a slight sweetness (thanks to the water) defines the taste of the dishes.
We skim over the menu and are especially intrigued by the variety of lassis (priced between Rs 35 and Rs 55). Peda Lassi sounds a bit too rich even for us, so we decided to sample a Banana Lassi and a Kesar Lassi (Rs 55 each), the latter because the server insists it's one of their specialties. We were disappointed to hear that the Sarson da Saag and Makki di Roti weren't presently available, but the server assured us that the Kadai Paneer (Rs 89) and a Cheese Kulcha (Rs 79) should lift our spirits. We order a Pindd Samosa (Rs 25), too, just in case.
The Lassis were beautifully thick and just the right blend of sweet and sour. By the time our Cheese Kulcha and Kadai Paneer were placed before us, we were already sated, having gulped our beverage down rather shamelessly. The bread looked soft and buttery and the paneer dish, positively sinful. Both delivered sheer bliss with each bite.
The Pindd Samosa -- a serving of twin Punjabi samosas with jeera-paani and tamarind chutney -- were good but predictable. The desserts were scrumptious. We loved the smooth and creamy Kesar Phirni (Rs 55) and the "Fruit Cream" (Rs 60), a dhaba-style frozen dessert delicately laced with freshly-grated coconut.
To summarise the experience, the food here isn't for the calorie conscious. If you suffer from heart disease, you'd best salivate from a distance. But should you ever crave a slice of heaven, this is where you'll find it, served with a complimentary bowl of lip-smacking Chhole and cost under Rs 130.