Roshan di Kulfi

Writing about Roshan di Kulfi on a blog which claims to be devoted to offbeat eating places feels a little odd. To the denizens of Karol Bagh, Roshan di Kulfi is probably as offbeat as Baskin Robbins is to a New Yorker. But not all of us have the luck of living in these parts, so I’m hoping this post will be of interest to some.

For me, going to Karol Bagh was a nostalgia trip. The time I used to frequent the area was when smart kids wore Baluja shoes, Janak Stores was the swankiest address in the neighbourhood, and getting parking in the afternoon was a piece of cake. Now.. well, it’s not. The best way to get here is by the Metro, which makes its Karol Bagh stop right at the mouth of Ajmal Khan Road.

Others might think E. Sreedharan took into account complex geological variables in deciding the location of the metro station. I’d like to think he knows where to get his kulfi. Because to get to Roshan di Kulfi, all you have to do is walk down about half a kilometre on Ajmal Khan Road from the metro station, past such favourites as Suruchi restaurant (for excellent Gujarati and Marwari thalis), Roopak Stores (for all sorts of spices, preserves and pickles), and Ghaffar Market (the original cut-price clothes and electronica depot of Delhi).

The shop seems to have expanded a bit from what I remember, and has decided to bow to the increasingly mixed demographics of Karol Bagh, with a smattering of all manner of cuisine on its menu — there’re dosas, chhole bhature, and even a generic “pizza”. I steered clear of all of these, as also the “Water Ball” (golgappe?) which seemed like something Handel should be dishing out, not Roshan. Instead, I ordered myself some paneer tikka, a glass of lassi, and the kulfi. Of course, I would have probably eaten anything from the hands of the gentleman who served me, who has worked in this same shop for the last 45 years, and smiled and spoke exactly like my grandfather. I should have asked him if he too had found his way here from Dera Ismail Khan when the country decided to tear itself asunder. But now I know how I’ll begin the conversation the next time I’m there.

The paneer tikka was served in one of those disposable plates covered with aluminium foil, with little prongs of coloured plastic to grab the tikkas by. The shredded cabbage that accompanies it has a remarkable neon green colour, enough to make you turn a similar shade and go off your grub for months. But if you soldier on gamely, the tikkas themselves are not bad — at least the paneer has been marinaded long enough for the spices to have soaked through and through. The glass of lassi wasn’t as tall as I’d have liked it to be, and no malaai had been added to the top, but it was still as refreshing as only lassi can be in the heat of summer.

But if the rest of the food is only average, it must be because the owners, much like the customers, can’t get their minds off the kulfi. At 26 bucks a plate [Rs. 45 per plate, as of September 2009] it’s not the cheapest kulfi in town. But nor does it stinge on the kesar and the pista that give it its subtle flavour. The texture is perfect — not as soft as ice-cream, but it disintegrates in your mouth at the slightest pressure from the teeth. And for those of you who hate the rose-water drenched falooda (vermicelli) that accompanies north indian kulfi, you should try it here, where it feels as right as butter on toast.

It’ll certainly be far far less than twelve years till the next time I decide to venture into Karol Bagh!

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9 thoughts on “Roshan di Kulfi”

  1. My office’s in Karol Bagh now.So Roshan Di Kulfi’s pretty close by.And,by now.I guess I’ve had almost everything on the menu.Next time you’re there,do try the Chhole Bhatures as well,they’re awesome.

  2. Man! This was a blast from the past. I grew up in the area myself and fondly remember RdK. However after recently moving back to the capital I was heartbroken to see the old shop not there anymore. The one I am refering to used to be at the start of Ajmal Khan Road right outside the Metro stn. exit – where the road turns slightly and main AKRd begins. Pray – tell me – is there another, possibly more original branch?

  3. born and brought up in Karol Bagh, and currently residing not too far away…

    Roshan Di Kulfi, to me is all about nostalgia…just walking down Ajmal Khan Road, from the Metro Stn, can be a heady expreience..everytime.

    I would recommend, apart from the Chhole Bhature, the steaming aloo bhaji and puris served with the mandatory dollop of makkhan, on a sunday morning, with a glass of lassi to wash it all down.

    Rabri Faluda, is of course, a given.

    Nice to see it being called RDK!

  4. Well now only the name is there and not the taste.
    You can get far better kulfi’s thn RdK in delhi itself.
    The name is there but the taste and quality have deteriorated to a great extent.
    Anyways those of you who haven’t had it before then you can still bank on it 😉

  5. The Bank Street area in Karol Bagh is famous for its jewellery shops, and the shops are so busy it is impossible to get parking there during the day. However, if you go to Bank Street at night, the area is pretty much deserted after the shops shut down. Back in the late 90s there used to be a little corner Jhatka shop there called Pindi Jhatka shop. Fresh mutton, but even better, fresh cooked mutton chops, kaleji, brain and kababs. The shopkeeper had a tawa right outside on the sidewalk, where he would take orders and cook hot food in minutes. No counter, no seats except one bench, and you could have any kind of roti as long as it was Kulcha, but the fresh cooked mutton dishes were the best in Delhi, bar none. Not sure if that place is still there, but if it is, I’d highly recommend it.

  6. I lucky enough to live in the area, I have been to the place – kulfis are nothing special and quite pricey >80 rs these days, I liked their cholay but bhatura was as average it can get.

    I liked their falooda though better than Badshah’s in Mumbai in bhendi bazaar.

    My idea of good food is it should be better than what you can do at your home ( provided you are not a michellin khansama ).

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