Fans were justifiably distraught when the original at The Manor closed – but then came this chic spot at The Lodhi Hotel, and all was forgiven. Ask for a table by the glass walk through for a view of the water body and the brand new chaat menu if you are going for lunch. By now an enduring favourite, chaats held its own during lockdown as a much sought after commodity, and this was the time when talented Chef Manish Mehrotra created a chaat menu for the first time.The genuine understanding of India’s provincial cooking shows at this place, thanks to Mehrotra. The rainbow quinoa bhel lives up to the restaurant’s fame with herbs and spices balanced by a punch of zesty avocado, and the tamtari, a speciality of the Banarasi community, syndicates old-style savours beautifully.The moonglet smoked paneer is outstanding, I loved my soft, almost spongy paneer scramble with pickled ginger topped in a thick wisp of a lentil crust.
The samosa chaat features tiny, crisp triangles, drizzled with a yoghurt sauce, the finishing rainbow flourish of fresh figs lift the savour and give this old-style North Indian snack a sprint of elegance. In fact, pretty much every dish is flawless: the buttery dal Moradabadi, even the deep-fried betel leaf that came with the fluffy aloo chaat was executed with pitch-perfect precision.
To round things off: a tasty, cardamom-scented halwa is served inside a small poori. It might be sculpted on wayside food, but this is one menu that’s completely worth travelling for. And priced at INR 2,200 per person, it's a steal deal considering the quality of ingredients and creativity that has gone into making it.
But don’t stop here, you will hate yourself if you do not try the plum and juicy pork chops, with the mango launji, or the decadent crab. My advice? Come with some friends and order almost everything.
Where? The Lodhi, Lodhi Rd, CGO Complex, Pragati Vihar, New Delhi.
Reservations: 098711 17968