“Nehru Place?!” you ask. I know, i know. Hardly the most obvious place to look for fine dining.
But heck, if all of puraani dilli‘s food has evolved from lashkari khana (food for army encampments), we should probably not ignore the battalions of office-goers whose collective lunch appetites keep a multitude of eateries in Delhi in business.
One place to blow up the money you’ve saved getting cheap deals on fake Windows CDs and assorted electronica is Sona Sweets: Sri Udupi Restaurant on the ground floor of the Saraswati House building in Nehru Place. As the name suggests, the place is a hotch-potch of all sorts of fast food, but with a south Indian touch. You can get everything from rasmalai and kulfi to pav bhaji, thalis, rajma chawal, dosas and whatnot. And in the typical no-nonsense style of an office-goer’s eatery, the place is self-service, and you have to be prepared to share your table with any and every one — that is, if you can muscle your way through the lunch rush into finding one at all.I haven’t tried any of those dishes (except the rasmalai, which turned out to be quite nice, though i prefer my ras less runny), but I have dug into the paranthas on offer at this joint.
Paranthas here come in three varieties — aloo, gobhi and paneer. A plate of any costs Rs. 42. Steep for a parantha, you exclaim? Ah, but you didn’t think you could feed a small country with it, did you?
Yes, the parantha is huge. I had a gobhi parantha today, and they probably used the entire annual cauliflower produce of Kyrgyzstan just for that. Which they top off with a dollop of easily 50g of butter. And if only to restore the mild-mannered south Indian’s sense of bearings in a eatery so clearly replete with bengali sweets and punjabi exaggeration, all of this is served on a banana pattal, to the accompaniment of south Indian mango pickle, south indian sabzi, and dahi. The pickle incidentally, goes brilliantly with the parantha, just as the dahi and veggies nicely do, too.
Delicious. Try it at your own heart’s risk.