As usual, I’ve been procrastinating! It’s such a terrible habit and I can’t seem to get rid of it.It’s been several months since I last posted anything on this blog and suddenly, today I felt the urge to post something again. I guess it’s just the feeling of being in Delhi? Yes, I’m here again for the summer. I’ve been here for over a month now but I haven’t been doing much outside work and the occasional shopping trips. The infamous scorching heat of Delhi is to be blamed!
However, what I HAVE been doing a lot is eating at the State Bhawans. My workplace is located in Chanakyapuri – an area with swanky embassies, official residences and fancy cars. The eating options are either too expensive for a daily affair or cheap but very unhygienic. So my co-intern and I decided to check out some of the State Bhawan canteens around the area.
Gujarat Bhawan (Kautilya Marg)
Our undoubted favourite is Gujarat Bhawan where you can get a thali for Rs.80 and it includes, the usual rice and roti, three curries out of which one will be a paneer dish, one dry sabzi, one snack item (pakora/dhokla) and salad. The thali is unlimited so you can be sure that you won’t be able to stay awake at work after such a heavy lunch! Jokes aside, the food is really tasty, not too rich or oily and has a sense of familiarity (ghar ka khana). They used to include a dessert along with the thali but now they charge separately (Rs 15). So far, I had the chance to try basundi and aam raas. A little too sweet for my liking but nice to end a meal. The service is really efficient and you don’t need to call them. They will come to you! Sometimes, it can get a little crowded for lunch but it’s definitely worth the wait! Needless to say, they do not serve non-vegetarian food.
Orissa Niwas (4, Bordolai Marg)
Being an Oriya, I love dalma, pakkala, machha bhaja and the list goes on. I haven’t had good Oriya food for nearly six months now which was the last time I went home. So I was delighted to find the Orissa Niwas restaurant quite close to my office. You can a regular thali (Rs 60), a deluxe thali (Rs 80, not sure), non-vegetarian side options and even a pakkala thali! I haven’t tried the pakkala or the deluxe thali. I always just stick to the regular thali. For those who haven’t heard of pakkala, it’s rice which has been fermented in water and you eat both the rice and water along with some garnishes of your choice and an array of side dishes. The regular thali comes with rice/roti, dalma, one sabzi, one vegetable curry, khatta, salad, papad and kheer. The food is authentic and true to the flavour of the Oriya cuisine. I really loved the place and would recommend it to anyone who wants to try Oriya food.
Himachal Sadan (Sardar Patel Marg)
The last bhawan for the day is Himachal Sadan. This building is located on the main road yet a little inside so it might be a little difficult to spot and unlike, the other two canteens, this place was pretty quiet. We ordered thalis (Rs 60) which comprised tandoori style rotis, a black dal, malai kofta, raitha and salad. It was simple and didn’t have as many curried as the Gujarati thali but it was tasty and fresh. This place seemed more like a small kitchen for the guests staying at the bhawan rather than a restaurant. So don’t expect many options here.
That wraps it up for now! Next week we’re planning to hit a few more Bhawans and I’ll keep you updated. I’ll also try to take a few pictures so you can drool looking at the food! Until then, let me know if you have any recommendations or if you’ve eaten at any of these Bhawans.