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Let us chaat about it



When Chef Manish Mehrotra served Old Delhi’s famed Daulat Ki Chaat in his award winning restaurant Indian Accent, it perhaps motivated many people to go and try the original version. And with good reason – for the melt-in-the-mouth dessert made of milk wasn’t just delicious but also an integral part of Delhi’s food legacy.

For, the city’s food history is such that you can’t separate street food from it. While nothing can replicate the experience of standing in the long winding queues and seeing your favourite chaat being fried/assembled, the weather and pollution might be a dampener.

And for days like these, Delhi’s restaurateurs have come up with their own versions, albeit in the comforting ambience of a restaurant.


Dating back to the year 1949, Manohar Dhaba in Chandni Chowk is probably the only one in the city selling this unique dish – Japani Samosa, which is pretty much a puff pastry served with chole. Late last year, Dhansoo Cafe, a new restaurant in RK Puram tried to recreate the same experience for diners with their version. “Millennials have their own distinct dining preferences, as they like fancy presentations and instagrammable content,” says chef Ashish Singh of Dhansoo Cafe.

“However they want the food to be equally good with original flavours as they love street and local delicacies.” Just the mention of street food doesn’t need to make everything basic and rustic.

Restaurants are going out of the way to make presentation stand out. Take for instance the pav bhaji fondue at Molecule Air Bar in Gurugram. The dish is a cheesy Pav Bhaji served in a fondue pot with buttered pav croutons which are crisp on the outside and soft inside. Or the chaat highway – a live preparation of chaat prepared right on the table by a chef – an amalgamation of various chaats from all over the country with a little twist in components and by using modern cooking techniques.

“People are amazed when they see their favourite street snack in a different avatar. Everyone now knows every bit of street food and as it is almost similar everywhere,” added Chef Anas Qureshi of Molecule.

SDA’s Nukkad Cafe and Bar takes the chaat experience to a different level when it serves some of the most loved fare in a cool, rustic ambience. Think instant noodles, momos, cutlets, samosa chaat, bun omelette… Chef Ram Singh says, “Delhi is a foodie’s paradise with its street food being a taste of history and culture. Delhiites are known as much for their insatiable appetites as they are for the unending variety of food found in the city, making street food Delhi’s true love”.


Notwithstanding presentation and props, people surely cannot tolerate any dilution in the taste of their favourite street food. Chef Mahabir, head chef at Made in Punjab, says people love experimenting. “When it comes to street food, there is an endless variety.

We try to maintain the same taste with quirky presentation and people have more confidence eating these items in restaurant setting,” added Mahabir. The restaurant serves its versions of the favourite Palak Patta Chaat and Samosa Golmaal Chaat. Chef Harangad Singh of Pra Pra Prank and Prankster has created the Dahi Bhalla ‘ice cream’, a combination of dahi bhalla and papdi chaat.

“Recreating gourmet and street food ends up serving magical plates for millennials today. We create ideas and flavours from street food and recreate an experience which is very much unexpected, putting eaters in a state of nostalgia,” said Singh.

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