Mumbai Food: Eatery in Khar transports you to old Delhi streets

Updated: Feb 18, 2019, 17:50 IST | Suman Mahfuz Quazi | Mumbai

A small and earnest Indian eatery takes us back to the capital's kitchens, reaffirming our first judgment of the place from the last visit

From left) Garlic naan, khamiri roti, and Delhi 6 chicken ishtu. Pics/Ashish Raje
From left) Garlic naan, khamiri roti, and Delhi 6 chicken ishtu. Pics/Ashish Raje

Purani Dilli. The words evoke a vivid imagery of smoke and sabzi, daal and gosht, and a man in a pristine white kurta donning a prayer cap on his head poking into what will become pillow-y khamiri rotis inside a blackened tandoor.

The flavours that you discover inside the capital's winding streets that are turgid with the redolence of khara masala, remain embedded in your memory in the same way that history prevails in every nook and corner of the city. And so, when life presents a chance to revisit Delhi's zaika, we waste no time in setting out to Tamak, an inconspicuous restaurant in Santacruz West that we last visited in August, 2018.

Chicken chur chur kulcha
Chicken chur chur kulcha

Dotted with pastel blue chairs and white tables, a teak-polished floor and a glass frontage with blue and lemon glass panels, the space is adorable and yet, functional. Miniature cauldrons and pressure cookers containing different chutneys adorn the granite tabletops. We while time away taking Boomerangs of those while we wait for our partner to join us. Meanwhile, we call for a chicken chur chur kulcha (Rs 145) and tandoori soya chaap (Rs 275) to start off with.

Our partner arrives about the same time as the food does and we gear up to dig in. The chur chur is an interesting dish, which is in a way, a deconstructed chicken kulcha that has been baked till it's crisp. The soya chaap, too, is surprisingly good even for soya-haters like us. The chatpata dish that comes with a punch of masala coats our tongue in myriad flavours. We relish the appetiser with joy.

Tamak

For the mains, we revisit the Delhi 6 chicken ishtu (Rs 365) — a vestige of the country's culinary history. Food historians guess the name is a desi adaptation of the English stew, but the recipe has its own tale of metamorphosis as well, transforming from a bland and runny offering into a thick an aromatic gravy resplendent with garlic, ginger and whole spices with a nutty aftertaste. The version at this eatery is a heartfelt one and comes with the kind of heightened flavours typical to a home-cooked meal. We mop it up with soft khamiri rotis (Rs 60 each) and buttery garlic naans (Rs 85).

The experience here dwells on us the way happy memories from our time in the city as a student does. We are transported to Delhi's streets, be it in the old part of the town or the bustling alleys in Jamia Nagar that always smelled like Eid. But most of all what remains with us is the earnest grub itself — a little teekha and a little meetha, just like Dilli's flippant dil.

The Guide first reviewed Tamak in August 2018. We conduct select, anonymous follow-ups to assess maintenance of standards
The Guide first reviewed Tamak in August 2018. We conduct select, anonymous follow-ups to assess maintenance of standards

Time 7 pm to 11.30pm
At Tamak, 6 Ahiya Apartments, behind Rajesh Khanna Garden, Santacruz West.
Call 9029995555

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