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  Age on Sunday   30 Apr 2017  Chef’s day out

Chef’s day out

THE ASIAN AGE. | NIVEDITA JAYARAM PAWAR
Published : Apr 30, 2017, 5:33 am IST
Updated : Apr 30, 2017, 5:33 am IST

Here are some restaurants in India that have the experts’ seal of approval.

Gaggan Anand, Owner and executive chef of Gaggan in Bangkok, Thailand
 Gaggan Anand, Owner and executive chef of Gaggan in Bangkok, Thailand

Knowing the latest big-ticket restaurant is no big deal. It’s the hidden gems, the under-the-radar late-night eateries that are the real deal. But how do you snoop out these spots? Nine culinary kings tell us what their favourite places are.

Kunal Kapur, Celebrity Chef

Dimcha, Nehru Place Metro Station,
Nehru Place, New Delhi

Dim sums are one of my favourite meal options and I am forever looking for places that serve the fresh variety. My recent discovery is Dimcha. Chanced on this place just as I was exiting the metro at Nehru Place. The setting is spartan but the dim sum selection, the ingredients and cooking are exceptional. The Burmese khaosuey is another must-try here. I love the way fresh dim sums keep coming to my table. They also innovate with South Asian flavours which make the dim sums quite unique. Don’t miss the hot roasted, sweet spicy peanuts here.”

Kunal Kapur

Kunal Kapur

Chef Vicky Ratnani,
Head Chef, The Korner House by Chef Vicky Ratnani

Gurudas Ram Jalebi Wale, Amritsar

A local friend took me to Gurudas Ram Jalebi Wale and I have been a convert ever since. This is one of the oldest and smallest shops in Amritsar and located in what is aptly called the JalebiWalaChowk. The jalebis here are thicker than what you get elsewhere but also crunchier and have more syrup. The best part is that they are fresh off the kadai. A plate costs Rs 20 and holds three to four pieces. It’s light, tasty and hits the right spots. I keep my jalebi date at least once a year.”

Chef Vicky Ratnani

Chef Vicky Ratnani

Ritu Dalmia, Chef and co-owner of the popular Italian restaurant Diva in Delhi

Potbelly, Bihar Nivas, Chanakyapuri, Delhi

When I eat out it’s either street food or desi khana. I have recently discovered a small place called The Potbelly in Bihar Nivas, Chanakyapuri. It’s a trip down memory for someone like me who has grown up in a Marwari family in Kolkata with Bihari cooks. Apart from the litti I absolutely love the baingan ka chokha served with sattu parathas. It’s simply outstanding. I love chaat and a trip to Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi is a must. I love the dahi-bhalla outside Central Bank and samosas from Tewari Brothers. But no one can beat the street food of Kolkata. The churmur (panipuri chaat) from Russel Street is incomparable to anything in the rest of the country. I also love the puchkas (panipuri) of Kolkata.”

Ritu Dalmia

Ritu Dalmia

Manu Chandra,
Chef, Restaurateur — Monkey Bar, The Fatty Bao and Toast and Tonic

Wild Spice, Carippa Bhavan, Residency Road, Bengaluru  

I  don’t really eat out that often but I do order in. The one place I keep returning to is Wild Spice at Carippa Bhavan. It’s a Coorgi joint and the pandi curry (pork curry) here is wonderful. Mountainous food is not so much about complexities but wholesome, honest flavours. The owners are Coorgis and they do a pretty good job. The food is simple and comforting — just the way I like it. It’s traditionally had with kadambuttu (steamed rice balls) but I like it with rice. It’s my favourite late night snack while catching up on some TV shows.”

Manu Chandra,

Manu Chandra

HariNayak,
Restaurateur, author and culinary consultant in North America

Mitra Samaj, Udupi, Karnataka

Though I live in the USA I visit my hometown twice a year. Udipi is the town where I was born and grew up. I visit India twice a year and make it a point to drop in at Mitra Samaj at least twice during each visit. This is a small family run cafe within the vicinity of the famous Udupi Sri Krishna temple. The ambience is very basic. They serve Udupi cuisine. There are so many comfort, vegetarian dishes there. But they are known for their ‘Goli bhaje’ which is a soft pillowy savory doughnut flavored with ginger, green chillies and served with coconut chutney. I just love it.”

HariNayak

HariNayak

Manish Mehrotra,
Corporate Chef, Indian Accent, New Delhi

Swati Snacks, Tardeo, Mumbai

Whenever I am in Mumbai a visit to Swati Snacks is a must. It is one of the most iconic places in Mumbai. I was surprised to see that simple vegetarian food can be so tasty. My favourites here include Pankhi (savoury rice pancakes steamed in banana leaf), bajra khichdi and sugarcane juice. The kadhi served with khichdi is also very compelling. The setting is down-to-earth and there is always a waiting but the food here is worth the wait.”

Manish Mehrotra

Manish Mehrotra

Ranveer Brar,
Head chef at TAG GourmArt Kitchen

Bade Miyan Kheer Waale, Old Delhi

To reach this 150-year-old kheer shop in old Delhi, you have to dodge rickshaws, carts, people and animals. But the kheer is worth the trouble. Bang opposite Badal Begh Masjid (below the erstwhile residence of the famous Indian actress Meena Kumari) in a small shop sits Jamaluddin, a 60-something gentleman, who has only one thing on his mind — kheer. It’s made from rice, milk and sugar but the beauty is that it’s cooked on wooden flames that imparts a nice and smokey flavour to it. This shop is frequented by commoners and bureaucrats alike after an evening of spicy food in Old Delhi. Jamaluddin is happy selling just kheer at his shop and his next generation has no interest in kheer or the legacy. So better visit Bade Miyan Kheer Waale in the next couple of years before it gets lost in the annals of history.”

Sanjeev Kapoor,
Celebrity chef, entrepreneur writer and television personality

Gajalee seafood restaurant in Mumbai, Fishland in Bengaluru, Nizam’s Club in Hyderabad

Sanjeev Kapoor

Sanjeev Kapoor

Food for me is not only about taste, it’s about memories. I generally prefer to eat at home but when I do eat out I like homestyle food. In a restaurant I like to go for the surprise element. For instance I prefer the tandoori rawas and Hyderabadi fish tikka at the seafood restaurant Gajalee in Mumbai. This place is known for its coastal dishes. The fiery green chilli chicken at Fishland in Bengaluru will make you run for a napkin but it is fantastic and perhaps better than their trademark fish dishes. At Nizam’s Club in Hyderabad, I keep going back for their khatta mutton as opposed to the popular biryani.”

Tags: food, sanjeev kapoor, chef