Delhi Lens: Andhra Bhavan, CP – restaurant review

I’ve heard rave reviews about Andhra Bhavan from friends and even from the husband, but never had the opportunity to go there myself until recently. And boy, was I in for a treat!

Located in the quiet, tree-lined Ahsoka Road in the Connaught Place area, inside the Andhra Bhavan, is this small little foodie paradise. It scores high on food and low on ambience – be warned, it is a canteen. It is crowded. And noisy. There are plastic tables and chairs. You have to wait for a table. But it is so worth it!

Andhra Bhavan, New DelhiWe reached there around 3:00 pm on a Saturday. Most of the other patrons looked like local Andhraites, an excellent indicator of the quality of the food. And the food is cheap. I mean, seriously cheap. The thali is pure vegetarian, meats are ordered as a side dish. Since both my friend and I are light eaters, we opted for one side dish each – a mutton fry and a chicken fry – along with our thalis. And that set us back by a grand total of INR 460. Which is what a single dish costs at most establishments. Oh, and did I mention it’s an unlimited thali?

Since we arrived for lunch at 3:00, we were able to get a table immediately and the crowd started thinning soon, so overall, I’d say that’s a good time to visit. Just have a slightly heavy breakfast so you don’t faint on your way there and you’re set!

The thali has 3 vegetables, rasam, sambhar, dal (lentils), 2 poppadams, puris, rice and a sweet dish. On that particular Saturday we had pumpkin, which was nicely mashed up and retained its sweetness; a tomato, onion and courgette vegetable, which almost tasted like a chutney – the tanginess of the tomatoes complemented perfectly with the slight sweetness of the onions; and potatoes, which were quite similar in taste to the potato filling in dosas – not a taste I am particularly fond of. The rasam was piping hot and spicy without burning the tongue. The sambhar was very flavourful, not like the tamarind-heavy concoction that most run-of-the-mill South Indian restaurants serve. You could taste the flavours of the dal with the tamarind and other spices and the individual sweetness of the vegetables. And the mutton fry was simply to die for! Soft, melt in your mouth bite-sized pieces of mutton flavoured to perfection with the spices, coconut and curry leaves that Andhra cuisine is famous for. The chicken fry also had its own distinctive look and taste – a perfect melding of the spices and the meat.

Andhra Bhavan ThaliThere are also a number of pickles on the table, but I didn’t try any. What you must have, though, is gunpowder (also kept on the table). It’s made with a number of dals and spices, including split gram, moong dal, chana dal, red chilli powder, black pepper, asafoetida, cumin seeds and salt dry roasted and ground together into a powder. You take a couple of spoons of gunpowder, put 1–2 teaspoons of ghee over it and make it into a paste. Have it with rice. Yummy!! I had it in copious quantities – and unlike what I feared, it wasn’t unbearably fiery. Or maybe my palette has evolved!

Once we started eating, all conversation stopped, so engrossed were we in the flavours and the food. The staff was courteous, and they came around with re-fills as soon as we could ask for them.

All-in-all, if you can ignore the ambience, this place is a must-visit for the food. I know I will be going back for more soon!

Wandering Wednesday #5: What's cooking?


Image via Wikipedia

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy looking for interesting recipes online (it’s another matter that I don’t cook too often, but hey, I can look!) so, I thought I’d share some of my favorite recipes with you.

My all-time favorite soul food is prawn rice, a recipe I learnt from a Madhur Jaffrey cook book (I forget the name now). The husband, though, loves chinese sytle noodles, and I just came across a really simple recipe from The Local Cook for a chicken stir fry with noodles. Gotta try this out on the weekend!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I need to have exact proportions and measurements to get things right. Which is why I love Mom Food Project’s recipe for three different consistencies of white sauce. No more lumpy white sauce in my baked veggies, yay!

When it comes to all things sweet (and sinful) you can be sure that I’ll be at the head of the line! One of my favorite bread spreads is Nutella — it’s absolutely divine! But if you’re bored of just spreading it out on toast, try out this amazingly simple Nutella bread pudding by ovenhaven and get transported to Nutella heaven!  

Hope these recipes entice you to go into your kitchen and cook!

Got any favorite recipes you’d like to share? You know I’d love to see them, so drop me a line in the comments!

(Click to read older Wandering Wednesday posts)

Going home to mom!

There’s no place like mommy’s home. We’ve got a long weekend coming up this week, so I’m taking a couple of days off and flying home to be with my parents. The husband won’t be coming with me this time, which is good — it will be like old times, except that my lil sis won’t be around to irritate the hell out of me!

Mom’s already decided which movies we’re going to watch together –

We Are Family

and Dabaang

We’ll also go out for some absolutely awesome Italian food to La Pizzeria, and then of course shopping and lots of gossip with mommy! Can’t wait to get home!!

Life, it's beautiful

I feel blessed today. Blessed to have great friends, an awesome husband, an interesting job and an “easy” life. Maybe part of this feeling stems from the lovely week I’ve had.

Met up with out of town friends on Sunday at my favorite Moroccan hangout, Fez Dining. Mojitos, a hot mezze platter, chicken tangine and interesting conversation make for an excellent lunch, don’t you agree?

Lunch over, me and the husband went over to a friend’s house to drop off some things at her place. That supposdly short visit turned into a talkathon and dinner. We alternated between longing around in her living room and running out to the balcony to look at the sky as the sun set over Delhi. Pleasure comes in the small things sometimes. Isn’t that a pretty sky?

A perfect Sunday gave way to a busy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and then we had a holiday on Thursday for Janmashtmi (Lord Krishna’s birthday). I spent the morning lazing around at home, reading, surfing the net; then headed over to the gym for a workout and finally to the parlour for a haircut and pedicure. I’m totally loving my shiny red toes! Don’t they look pretty?

Friday started off slow…no work in at all in the morning, so I was able to book tickets for my visit to the parents. Luckily for me, two projects floated in in the afternoon, so I had something to keep me constructively occupied 🙂

Looking forward to the weekend now — got to finish packing since I leave on Tuesday, have to buy some gifts for mom and dad, and will probably catch up with a few friends too.

Life…it’s beautiful!

So, what’s your week been like?