Rajdhani Restaurant

One of our favorite family pastimes (actually, this one tops our list of favorite pastimes!) is to dine at different restaurants every Sunday. We mostly go for a North Indian Lunch Buffet, but occasionally we do try other cuisines like Rajasthani or Gujarathi. Nothing beats the taste and variety of Food offered at the Rajdhani Restaurant in Banjara Hills, which serves both Rajasthani and Gujarathi delicacies on a Thali (or a platter).

The friendly staff here makes you feel at home; Until the meal is over and the bill arrives, one almost forgets that he is eating at a restaurant and not at a relative’s home. They abide by their slogan of “Atthithi Devo Bhava” (The guest is equivalent to God) and treat their customers so.

Ambience

A smiling employee applies vermilion to your forehead at the door, another brings a traditional decanter filled with water and a bowl to help you wash hands right at the table, someone else comes to find out whether you wish to eat the Jain or Non-Jain version (The Jain cuisine is completely vegetarian and also excludes onions, potatoes, brinjals and garlic, according to Wikipedia). We picked the Non-Jain variety.

Welcoming guests with a tilak

Rajasthan, the word means “the Land of Kings” and its food with its generous use of Ghee (clarified butter) is fit to be served to the Royalty. Ghee is extensively used in the preparation of even the simplest of Dals, to the making of special desserts (apparently, they aren’t even called desserts in Rajasthan, as unlike the desserts which are served at the end of a meal, Rajasthani sweet dishes are served before, during and after the meal) like Malpua or Gulab Jamun. And that explains the reason why we walk around feeling full the rest of the day after having gorged on traditional Rajasthani food.

Where are my chapathis???

Rajdhani apparently has 72 different rotating menus with 22,464 delicacies from Gujarat and Rajasthan! Phew! But I go for their Dal baati churma, a dish that opened my eyes (and my palate) to the rich cuisine of Rajasthan, thanks to our friends, Vinay and Vandu. I first tasted this dish (or a combination of 3 dishes- Panchmel Dal, Boiled and baked balls of whole wheat flour called the Baati and a sweet powder of broken baati and jaggery called the Churma) at their housewarming ceremony, and I was hooked. Every chance I got, I asked them to prepare this delicacy.

Dal Baati Churma

Now, whenever we eat at a Rajdhani (I’ve tried and loved the one in Dubai too), I joyfully look back on the days spent in the US with our best buddies.

Food Food and more Food!

Coming back to the Rajdhani in Banjara Hills, the folks here take hospitality up a notch (did I mention that already? Well…). Like an aunt or grandma that adores you and can’t stop asking you to eat “just a little more”, here, the waiters smilingly do the same. Or, they ask you whether you want a bit more Ghee on the already rich-looking Khichdi (a preparation of Rice and Lentils) and pour some, if you show signs of yielding. One even suggested I slather a bit of butter and Jaggery on my tiny Bajra (pearl millet) Roti, roll it up and eat. And when I complimented on its taste, he slathered more butter and jaggery on another Roti to enjoy some more. I was too happy (or too dazed?)  to complain!

All of us took a nice long siesta at home afterwards, which did nothing to bring down the sluggish feeling we had. A walk around the neighborhood in the evening helped a bit.

I guess (and hope?!?!) there’s nothing wrong in indulging in some good food sometimes, right? After all how many lifetimes do we get! Yeah yeah… I see ya rolling eyes!

Enough said.

(By the way, the meal costed us about 350 Rupees per head)

Village – The soul of India

Trying new restaurants is one of my family’s favorite pastimes. That’s how we spend most, no, every Sunday. When the festival of Sankranthi presented us with a holiday, that’s what we decided to do.

Our plan was to eat at Jalpaan, a favorite dining place, but on a whim we entered the adjacent restaurant, Village – The soul of India, found the ambiance inviting and the pricing right. There wasn’t another soul inside apart from the staff (even at around 1pm), but our adventurous spirit pulled us to give the restaurant a try.

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From the moment I walked inside, I began snapping pictures. The restaurant looked so festive, like I had come to a village fair, that I couldn’t help myself.

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The dining area was divided into sections, each section representing a business (tailor, parlor) or a store (arrack, sweets) one can find in a village square. There was even a police station with pictures of “fugitives” (probably the staff) pasted on the wall.

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While the others indulged in the starters brought right to the table by the staff dressed in traditional dhothi-kurtha and turban, and the kids munched on fresh fruit as they climbed up and down a deck, I walked around, mesmerized, clicking pictures, a silly smile plastered across my face. I was having a jolly good time just exploring the restaurant that I forgot why I was there in the first place, until one of the employees reminded me that the food would get cold if I didn’t eat right away!

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The food, yes the food, there was such variety, that I felt full even before I finished gorging on the starters. It wasn’t specific to any region and had something to suit every palate, from Dhoklas to Hakka noodles, but only vegetarian, mind you.

I loved the taste of Gobhi Manchurian and Pudina Paratha with Sarson da Saag. The buttery texture of a rice flour concoction (i forgot what it is called), that resembled the ubiquitous Khichdi, sprinkled with a dash of red chilli powder, was so delicious, the thought of it still makes me drool!

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Since we were still the only customers, we worried about what might happen to all that yummy food. But we didn’t have to brood any longer as other people began trickling in.

 

Now, I’m more into starters and desserts, so I skipped most of the main course to try the Gulab Jamun. It was so good, and so were the freshly prepared Jalebis.

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Old, folksy, upbeat Hindi songs playing in the background made me feel like we were in a Bollywood set. We couldn’t resist swaying to some of the dance numbers.

A puppet show kept the kids enthralled.

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And then it was time for a game of “musical chairs” and you know who won? Yup, yours truly….

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There was to be a dance program as well, but we had errands to run, so I had to be dragged out!

We had a nice family outing and not just good food this afternoon for about 350 rupees (incl. Of taxes) per person at the “Village”. I will be going back again, soon. And not just because I won a voucher for free buffet for 2! 🙂