New Delhi – sweet shops and a few more restaurants

A catch all post for a few sweet shops and other restaurants dotted around town, but not around Connaught Place or Old Delhi (see previous posts). They’re all on my map.

Bikaner Sweets (Low Intermediate B), Shop 9002, Chowk Multani Dhanda, Paharganj, New Delhi 110055, 28°38’45.1″N 77°12’39.9″E

One of a chain of the famous Bikaner sweet shops my friend Kiran took me to.

They have a huge selection of Mithai (Indian sweets).

My favourites are the Gulab Jamun, deep fried balls of milk solids, served with sugar syrup. They also sell another variety called Kala Jamun which are darker in colour due to the carmelisation of the extra sugar added to the batter.

Barfi (or burfi) is another milk and sugar based confection. The cashew version pictured is covered with a super fine layer of silver foil (called Vark or Varak), to make them look more appetising and, as some think, to aid digestion. I think they’re also a sign of quality as unfortunately fake sweets are a problem, especially around festival periods. I haven’t tried the other sweets but I love all the colours.

You can buy selection boxes to give as gifts as Kiran kindly did for me.

While we were there I also tried a portion of the Jalebis (a pretzel shaped sweet made from wheat flour, doused in sugar syrup) that were being freshly fried outside, served with a portion of Rabri; a condensed-milk-based sweet dish, flavoured with jaggery (palm sugar), spices, and nuts. Great for people with a sweet tooth, like me!

Bhimsains Bengali Sweet House (Elementary B), Bengali Market, 27, 28 & 29, Todermal Road Area, Mandi House,

A Bengali restaurant and sweet shop, located in a quiet, leafy corner of New Delhi, on a small circus not too far from CP. The savoury food was good (B) and I liked the location.

The only sweet I tried was the Rasmalai but was disappointed that they came without the clotted cream (malai). Sugar syrup just isn’t the same (B). They have the normal ones though so I must have misordered somehow.

Ashok & Ashok Meat Dhaba (Elementary B), 5820/42, Subhash Chowk, Sadar Thana, Sadar Bazar, near Agrawal sweets, Munna Lal Marg

A plain, no nonsense place famous for chicken and mutton curry. The dark, murky mutton was one of the most spice heavy curries I’ve ever eaten. Specify you want your food warmed as might arrive cold otherwise. Expect no frills.

Khan Market in Rabindra Nagar was my regular evening hangout when I wanted an alternative to from Connaught Place. By day it’s a posh shopping arcade but the middle lane has several bars and restaurants which are open in the evenings. I often used to eat at the Italian restauran above Good Earth (a great homewares shop) when I really needed some European food (buffalo bolognese, no beef here!) and a glass of decent wine.

Sadly it’s closed now in 2020, as are a few of the restaurants that I used to go to. Of the places still open Mamagoto at 53 Khan Market is a fun, modern pan-Asian chain and SodaBottleOpenerWala at 73B Khan Market would be a good place to try Farsi classics (post here) if their Mumbai branch is anything to go by.

There’s an off licence staffed by disreputable characters over the road at Jaiprakash Lok Nayak Bhavan on Prithviraj Lane where I’d stock up on booze (hard to find sometimes). Don’t trust the Khan Market money changer on the middle lane as he tried to short change me while counting out the bills. I like to record these transactions on my phone so you have evidence and faces on film should anything untoward happen.

Gunpowder (Intermediate B+), 3rd floor, 22 Hauz Khas Village, NOW CLOSED

This was the buzz mid range foodie restaurant when I was in Delhi in 2012/2013. I went a couple of times, the first time by myself, the second with friends. On my first visit I had reserved a table with a view but was shunted inside upon arrival; such is the fate of the lone diner. I had the Time Out recommended Koothu Parotta Mutton, shredded paratha bread and mutton mixed together in a sauce of onions, tomatoes and green chillies and served with a ‘complimentary’ Chicken Korma sauce which seemed rather incongruous but they worked well enough (both B+). The only negative was the tiny splinters of bone in both.

For the main, Toddy Shop Meen Curry, a hot and sour fish curry made with coconut paste, which I felt to be rather bland (B-). I had a bit of language confusion with the waiter who told me that the Appam (B) was a kind of bread but really it’s more like a hopper, a fermented rice flour pancake. It’s better to stick with a lovely flaky Malabar Paratha in my opinion (A).

For dessert, Semiya Payasam, vermicelli cooked in milk and topped with roasted raisins and cashew nuts which just looked like a brown mush but tasted quite nice (B).

On another occasion, I had Mattanga Pradhamam; pumpkin and jaggery, stewed in coconut milk, topped with raisins and nuts (B+).

They have no beer licence so with two mixed lime juices (with sugar and salt) brought the bill to a reasonable 900 Rs. An interesting place but a bit of a trek.

Some sights to see in New Delhi next!

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