The last year has urged us all to don the chef's hat in the kitchen. We cooked dishes we were craving, baked cakes for birthdays on Zoom and tried our best to keep up with TikTok trends. However, the one thing that one can't bring home is Delhi ki chaat—the flavours and textures are nearly impossible to emulate at home.
So, while scrolling through Instagram, we came across Bhawan and their one-of-a-kind menu, that has classics like Banarasi tamatar chaat, Marathi sev puri, bhel puri, dahi batata puri, jalebi, rabri and lots more. They've also crafted new-age versions of chaats, snacks, and mithais we've known and loved for decades. The brainchild of Kainaz Contractor and Rahul Dua—the folks behind the Parsi restaurant Rustom's, who have also consulted for the likes of Café Dori and Café Lota— this unique offering has tons of interesting food. And dare I say, interesting it was.
What we tried:
We kickstarted the meal with gol gappas that included pindi chana and aloo puchka that came along with pomegranate and cumin water. Next, we tried the palak patta chaat and kurkuri bhindi chaat, which came with crispy palak and bhindi doused in a sweet-and-spicy yoghurt dressing, respectively. The baked khichdi, too, was comforting and came topped with hung yoghurt and fried onions.
We also ordered from their latest tandoor menu, where the pumpkin broccoli kebabs make for a perfect alternative to paneer tikka for vegetarians looking to experiment. And the chicken and fish tikka are ideal for a family barbecue. From the mains, we sampled their chicken biryani and pork and potato chorizo kulcha, ending our meal on a sweet note with mango shrikhand and a special box of mithai.
While ordering, the one thing we were worried about was the distance and how the food would travel. However, the team kept every aspect in mind and all the items were tagged and delivered in separate boxes. That too, in eco-friendly packaging, which earns them a massive brownie point.
As for the biryani, it came draped in a medley of masalas, making it one spicy unit, complemented by the meat which was steeped in masalas. All in all, it was rich, tender and robust. The baked khichdi, on the other hand, had the fierceness of fried onions and the familiar comfort of a good bowl of khichdi. The chicken and fish tikka too, were light, crisp and delicately flavoured. We loved the creamy and luscious texture of the mango shrikhand, but if we had to pick a favourite, it would have to be the motichoor ladoo from the mithai box, which literally stole our heart.
What didn't work:
While the whole meal was familiar and unique, in equal measure, our only complaint was that the palak patta chaat had a thicker coating than usual, rendering it lumpy and lacking the crunchiness that's inherent to this treat.
Bhawan is the answer to all your lockdown woes surrounding not being able to step up, or asking the chaat wale bhaiya to make everything extra teekha. Given that, we're highly recommending this place if you're looking to bring the streets home to your dining table.
Devika is not just a food writer, she is a writer with a political science background. She switched her field to pursue her dream of writing. She is up to date with all things travel, food, pop culture, and Instagram. When she is not writing to meet her deadlines, Devika spends most of her time reading, binge-watching Gilmore Girls for the nth time and scrolling through Zara’s newest collection.